It is September 25, 2018, day five. I am writing a bit each day about my thoughts, motivations, ideas and dreams. One of the things we want to do as a family is reward more, and punish less. Yes we believe in punishing our kids for disobedience and attitude, but we believe that positive reinforcement and reward for good is more effective than punishment for doing bad.

We never say our kids are bad, we let them know that what they did was bad. There is a huge difference in the language there. One puts them down, the other puts their actions down. We were taught that a long time ago, when Emma was just a baby by an experienced grandma. We never want our kids to be shamed by us, or anyone. God never shames his kids, who why should we.

Last year we started a reward experiment called “the Cunningham of the month club.” Each month our kids get tickets for doing things that are kind, loving, and selfless. These are not normal things like making the bed or doing dishes, these things are expected, but they are over the top things, like serving their sisters, volunteering to clean up, asking what they can do next, etc.

When they do these things they get a ticket, and the duplicate ticket goes into a jar. At the end of the month we do a raffle, and the winning ticket gets a date with mom or dad. The more selfless and loving things they do, the more tickets they get. The more tickets they get, the better chance they have at winning that date. We do dates at other times too, but this is just a special, contest one. We have seen that the more good our kids do, the less bad they do.

This has come at a cost. We have to look for the good and not focus on the bad, the dates cost money and our kids are getting pretty sneaky at how they get tickets, but it is working. I love parenting, but I see that it is so much easier to see the bad than the good. I don’t want to parent this way, I want to see the good, reward the good, and have my children aiming at doing good. Life is way more fun this way.


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