Award points for good behavior; take them away for misbehavior.
Some families operate like a well-oiled machine, each member taking responsibility for his or her space and working together as a team. Parents are often lucky to have courteous children who clean up after themselves, maintain the household, and follow sanitary bathroom etiquette.
In other families, however, the kids seem to reject the rules. Perhaps they have learned bad habits while staying at the other parent’s household. In such cases, it is important to set the ground rules for household behavior and maintenance. A system of rewards and punishment can be implemented to hand out points to children who meet or exceed or the good behavior and clean living standards. Points can be subtracted from those who break the rules. Points can be redeemed later for extra benefits or opportunities.
While such a system won’t be necessary in every household – and it won’t work in some – it may create a genuine incentive in some children to act appropriately and to follow household maintenance procedures. Where there are several children, it could inspire a healthy do-good rivalry between them.
A system of rewards and punishment, if administered fairly and equally, can help a parent in a child custody or visitation case. Where they are unruly children, it shows that the parent has taken charge and adopted rules and procedures for running the house. Even where the kids are generally well-behaved, a point system can reflect well on a parent by showing that the parent respects tradition, structure and gentle discipline as a way of living.
Of course, not every family can or should apply such a system. And variations may be necessary depending on the age and number of children, religious or cultural restrictions, and the nature of the living and time-sharing arrangement.
Where a system of rewards and punishments is implemented, and where the children are engaged with it, there will be many positive outcomes: Kids will develop a sense of personal responsibility, attentiveness to detail, competitive instinct, and an understanding of maintaining a structure. If you’re lucky, too, you’ll end up with well-behaved children and a clean house.