Boosting Behavior to a Perfect Ten

I’m sure it will come as no surprise when I tell you that a great deal of each day with my four children is spent on instruction and discipline. Trying to train your children for adulthood can be quite a challenge, especially when faced with personality traits that are as stubborn as the day is long!

Take my 6-year-old daughter for example! She would rather be punished time and time again than to simply listen to the voice of reason informing her of how to stay out of trouble. Self-control is not one of her greatest strengths. And, I am convinced that she actually enjoys frustrating others by her pattern of refusal to immediately conform to the requests made of her by those in positions of authority. She is a child who has taught me several lessons of my own on patience, kindness and self-control. I can’t help but think that she was deliberately sent to me in order for us both to have a chance at mastering these fruitful virtues.

In order to deal with the pitfalls of maintaining consistency in discipline, I have come up with more lists, charts, and reward systems than I can count on two hands! However, the main problem has been that, once a seemingly good system has been put into place, it becomes nearly impossible to keep up with it! I can barely fit in the mandatory details of each day like showers and meals; therefore, the chances are pretty much slim to none that I will successfully mark a behavior chart each day unless it was one that took little to no effort at all to administer. And, that’s when I had my Uh Huh Moment!!! The lights finally came on and, for once, someone was home to clearly interpret the meaning of this momentous discovery!

I finally came up with a system with meaning that works for me, but more importantly, it is well received by the kids and gets results!!! I simply started each child out with a perfect 10. Meaning, they are treated to a perfect 10 with each new day. All they have to do is work on keeping that perfect 10 by modeling the right kind of behavior! If, for example, Little 5-year-old Michael is asked not to throw rocks, but continues to do so, he is moved from a 10 position to a 9. However, he is still able to go back to a 10 if he exhibits exceptional behavior by making up for his mistake with an apology and by showing remorse. This step is very important because it gives a child the ability to redeem himself if he messes up. Maybe it was the Olympic Games that inspired this “Starting from 10” idea or was it just my utter desperation? Umm, it’s hard to say really. Now, why didn’t I think of this a few thousand days ago?!! The best part about it is its simplicity. The only record keeping you need to do is remembering the final number each child is at by the end of the day. Then, at the end of the week, you add up scores and discuss performance. It works because what child doesn’t want to stay at 10? They also don’t want to be outdone by their siblings. At the end of the week, we celebrate our accomplishments and improvements. Good news for me because I no longer have to police their behavior. Instead, they’ve learned to monitor themselves! Personally, I’m loving it! I hope it works just as well for you and your crew! It’s worth a try anyway!


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5 thoughts on “Boosting Behavior to a Perfect Ten

    1. I think it’s a great idea to do this with the kids, and show them that we are human too and also make mistakes. Siblings can also make it a team effort and work together towards a set goal. I’d love to hear about your results!

  1. Jake is currently responding well to a very rare timeout and Amy is on trust dollars 🙂 but I will store it at in my mothering brain for a ( most likely ) rainy day 🙂

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