A Slightly Different Reward Tactic

One big issue right now is Preston's uncanny ability to snake candy from his friends. Whether they give it to him willingly or he barters for it I am not sure. Everyday he leaves a trail of candy wrappers around the house and it does indeed affect his behavior. He was off his rocker yesterday afternoon with energy, talking in weird voices and doing anything that might keep the attention fixed on him. I knew he had had candy and sure enough at the end of the day I emptied his pockets and he had enjoyed the fruits (artificially colored, Starburst and Laffy Taffy fruits) of his pilfering labors. I knew that he was being nuts for a reason. I ask and he always lies. That is driving me batty as well.

I had a conversation with a friend and she praised him for his resourcefulness. This is 'Re-Framing' thought number one. The upside to Preston's trading or cojouling his friends for candy is that he creates what he wants. This can be an awesome trait if pointed in the right direction. She suggested that rather than badgering him and scolding him for his naughty behavior, have a chat with him that would look something like, "Wow buddy! When you want something I can see that you find a way to get it. And right now I see that you really want candy. What if you commit to not getting candy from friends at school and you get to pick something from the bunny bowl? I know it is hard for you to pass up on candy. I want to support you and help you make good choices. How does that sound?"

I had this conversation in part the other day and he liked the idea. My friend also suggested that he be able to see it; kids need something tangible to make it real and keep it in his mind. If there is any question or doubt to the reward options, he will choose the moment and the candy. So, I grabbed two boxes of Gummy Bunnies, some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, some snack bag sized oragnic oreo cookies, and made several cards with the following options:

~ You Choose Dinner
~ Trip to Coldstone
~ Gretel Sleeps in Your Room
~ 15 minutes on the Wii
~ One dollar
~ Rent a Redbox
~ One Kneader's Cookie (They do a buy one get one free night every weekend so I grab a few and freeze them for the week).

This method of re-framing fits in line with choosing battles and finding compromises that I mentioned in my last post. The other key point is that my badgering and scolding isn't helping him make better choices so time to try a new tactic. Hopefully, this will help him learn some delayed gratification skills and in the big picture re-train his current habit of begging and snagging the naughty stuff. And if none of the above happen, he isn't feeling beat because I'm always on his case and he is eating 'Mom-Approved' candy that won't make him nuts. The other component is that he skips out on the bunny bowl if he makes a naughty candy choice. I'm trying to think of a small consequence for this course of action as well - thoughts anybody?

I can totally imagine him with a sack tied to a stick on his shoulder outside the school doors with a sign saying, "Starving. Can only eat candy. Mom only serves healthy stuff. Please help."


  1. What a great idea! She's right - he is extremely resourceful, clever and imaginative. all good traits!! He needs positive reinforcement. This picture is hysterical - the sign is perfect. He looks so pathetic!! I love it!


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