Rewards versus Punishments

A punishment is if your child comes home and they’re not doing their chores, they’re not doing their homework, and you’re taking the iPad away from them, or you’re taking something away from them. That is a punishment. If we were going to flip that around and make it a reward, it’s because they don’t have it yet. In order to be rewarded, you’ll need to do your homework, or you’ll need to do your chores, or whatever it is, and then they get the reward. Even though it’s a small distinction, it’s a big distinction when we’re talking about raising children. One of my mentors, Tony Robbins, has said, “We will do more to stay away from pain than we will to go towards pleasure.” I really pondered over that for many years, and I’m like, “Is that true?” I mean, we do it in our adult lives all the time.

Why did we listen to our parents? Was it because it was great and you’re going to get rewarded? Was it because you felt you’d get spanked, grounded, or punished? What was specifically the reason you listened to your parents? I know for me, like I said, getting spanked and yelled at; that’s why I listened. We got a lot of people punished; “I was scared to get punished.” “Feared punishment.” Because it was the punishment, grounded or spanked.” A lot of us can definitely resonate with what I’m saying. So when we become parents, even though we fantasize about how we’re going to be parents to our kids, we’re not going to spank, we’re not going to punish, and we’re going to have this amazing life with our family. Then your kids grades start to drop; maybe you get the call that your kid is being a bully; maybe your kid’s talking back to you; maybe you don’t feel respected; maybe your child has actually hit you; maybe their children don’t listen to you; they ignore you; you’re at the dinner table and all they’re on is their device and not paying attention to you. You don’t feel there’s any respect; the boundaries are not followed.

I don’t know about you, but for me, there were a lot of times I felt like just giving up. It’s like, “Whatever.” “Do what you have to do” because I am exhausted from working all day, coming home to this fight for you guys, to do what you need to do it and you want to give up. What if there was a way that you didn’t have to give up? What if you realized today that you cannot take things away? You could actually give your kids things so they feel that they are worth it and that they have to earn it. When we yell at our kids, it becomes their internal language. It becomes something that they hear all the time: “I’m not good enough. I’m not good enough.” We need to start with number one, taking the blame and shame away. If we could take that blame and shame away from them, how much more would they feel connected to you and want to tell you more?

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