As a relationship expert, I have the blessing of interviewing parenting experts in my career, perhaps God’s way of helping me out personally!
For everyday acceptable behavior, from chores to kind words, this is ‘Acceptable Behavior’, not rewarded with candy/presents… expected as a member of the family, acknowledged as ‘I noticed you made your bed. Thank you’.
Unacceptable behavior would be talking back, whining, not doing one’s part around the house, which are met with consequences that he’s met in the world- if he had a job and showed up late, he’d be fired, if he talks back to me, he loses his Ipad for the day.
He is most welcome to earn money or presents for extra support around the house. In fact he earned over $300 for his Wii by helping me clean out the garage, go through and give away his old toys to charity.
Yet here is the bottom line, what he says means the most to him is my presence. My interest in what he’s saying. My touch on the leg as I’m listening, my remembering to ask about his Math test. This is priceless, makes him feel seen, heard, valued and matter.
And he has recently told me that although Dad gives presents and Mom gives “experiences”, he knows he can’t manipulate me. I can sense he respects me, and is learning to respect himself. He knows my consistent boundaries and belief in him, even when he pushes me, is unconditional love that every child deserves and requires to thrive.