You are probably wondering what “IT” is. “IT” is the iPad, the cell phone, the movie in the car, dessert, the sleepover, etc. “IT” applies to anything that your child would consider a treat and something special.
My latest saying I repeat over and over in my house is, “You need to Learn to Earn ‘IT'”. (Last week’s saying was, “Own it and move on!”.) As parents, we want to see our kids happy and want to give them everything we can just to see the smiles on their faces. This type of parenting has consequences though, as I know all too well.
Kids begin to anticipate certain things and what was once a luxury becomes an expectation. In my house, my kids assume they are getting dessert every night, unless it is taken away for bad behavior, lack of chores, lack of respect, etc. I soon realized I was looking at the situation backwards. Instead of taking it away, I would now only give “IT”, if earned.
If my kids don’t earn dessert, they don’t get it. If they don’t earn time on the iPad, they don’t get it. This method of parenting makes so much more sense to me and I am baffled why it took me so long to figure it out. The way I look at it, my kids are getting rewarded instead of punished. They may not see it that way but in time (when they have kids), they will.
When did my kids get so entitled? Probably because I allowed them to be that way…heck, I encouraged it. I am going to take full responsibility and from now on, if they don’t earn “IT”, they don’t get “IT”.
I remember when I was in my twenties and I asked my boss for a raise since I was given more responsibilities at my job at that time. I felt I deserved more money since I would be working harder, but what I didn’t realize is that I was asking for a reward for something I had not done yet. These new duties given to me were actually the reward for all my previous hard work. As a twenty something, reward equates to $$$ but now, after all these years, I get it.
He told me to spend some time in my new position and when I feel I earned it, to come back and ask for that raise. I would need to be prepared to answer these questions: “Why do I deserve a raise”? “What have I done in my new position that should earn me a monetary reward?” “How has my hard work helped the company and those around me?” These are questions I would not have been able to answer before I began my new position.
Basically, I had not earned a raise for what I was about to take on. Yes, I had worked my butt off but the reward was being trusted to take on more duties. I was trying to count my chickens before they hatched and my boss helped me see that. In fact, his rationale has helped me as a parent. Those questions, all those years ago, still stick in my mind today. I will definitely be asking my kids, “Why do you deserve dessert?” “What have you done today that you feel you deserve a reward?” “How have you helped me around the house today?”
My new system of teaching my kids they need to (say it with me) LEARN TO EARN “IT”, is now live. So far, the feedback from my kids have been pretty good, aside from the, “Do I need to earn going to the bathroom?” and “Do I need to earn my dinner?”. All joking aside, I heard my seven year old say to my four year old, “What did you do today to earn dessert tonight?” Definitely a proud mama moment! They are catching on.
Here are ways my kids can earn “IT” that might be helpful in developing your own “Learn to Earn IT” system:
- Do their chores without me having to ask them
- Take the garbage cans to the curb and vice versa
- Ensure their room is tidy
- Help with putting their laundry in the washer and help with putting their clothes away
- Getting the dog fresh water and food
- Taking the dog out
- Being respectful
- Being a good role model to siblings
- Being helpful
- Focusing on giving instead of taking
- Being truthful
- Completing homework without whining
These are not hard tasks to complete and it is what I expect from my children. If they follow these rules and earn “IT”, I will reward them. Simple as that.
I am done putting cart before the horse.
You got to earn “IT” kiddos! Learn it, live it, love it!