Priviledges

We have a lot of privileges in life. Sometimes, privileges get confused with "rights". We don't always have a "right" to certain things; but we may get them as a privilege.

Something that is a privilege is working, and the ability to earn money for your work. Sometimes in order to keep these privileges you have to follow certain rules - for instance being on time to work, being kind to your customers, obeying your boss's orders, etc.

We have a chore system set up for D by which he can earn money. Some chores he has to do without pay but he does get paid for many of his chores.

When he first moved in with us, it was like pulling teeth to get him to do a good job at anything. He didn't want to follow the rules. For example, he did not want to move the kitchen chairs to sweep - he just wanted to sweep around them. And he didn't want to pick things up off the floor to vacuum - he just wanted to vacuum around them. He rushed through everything, leaving the floors looking almost the same as they did before he swept or vacuumed. Sometimes he would have to do chores two times or more to get it right, simply because he did not want to follow directions.

It might seem silly but we hope to instill in him some pride in the things that he does in the hope that it would transfer to other things in his life, such as his school and his personal relationships.

There were a few chores he finally just gave up on - he decided he could not follow our rules and therefore we removed the chores from his chore list. One was vacuuming, because it got to the point where he was NEVER emptying out the canister. Even though I reminded him time and time again to empty it every time he vacuumed he just wouldn't empty it for some reason! So we had him stop vacuuming for fear that we would have to buy a new vacuum if the motor got burned up from the canister never being emptied. The other one was dog walking, because for some reason he felt like he needed to take our dogs over to his friend's house with strange dogs and I didn't want him to be alone with our dogs if there was some kind of a fight (maybe a little overprotective of me, but hey they are my dogs!). Also come to find out that the neighbor's dogs have fleas...and our dogs got fleas last summer for the first time; they have never had fleas before that! Hmmm what a coincidence!

Now he wants privileges. He wanted to help us paint our basement, but we were kind of hesitant to do it because it is something that you actually can mess up, and its hard to fix once it's messed up (dripping paint once it's dry is hard to hide, not to mention the potential mess of spilled paint, etc.)! And he wants to buy a gas lawnmower...which obviously one would have to be sure to fill it with gas, change the oil, use it properly and safely, etc. He wants to cut peoples grass for money but we would feel rather unsafe letting him take a lawnmower and use it without our supervision on someone else's yard...yikes.

I feel rather badly denying him privileges based on the things that happened in the past. It is hard because sometimes he seems so grown up but sometimes he acts about as bad as his three-year-old brother! He has gotten a lot better about doing a decent job on things, and about doing chores without complaining.

He also has lots of stuff he is saving up his money for. I use the term "saving his money" lightly because his money pretty much burns a hole in his pocket anytime he has it. We have him save 10% of his money, and if he wants to use his savings for something he has to write down what he wants on a piece of paper and keep it for one week. In one week, if he still wants it and can afford it, then he can buy it. He pretty rarely gets to use his savings money because he always changes his mind on what he wants. :)

So I thought of this really great idea - how about he wants to show us how he can be responsible, then he can earn back the privilege of vacuuming and walking the dogs? This would mean that he could earn more money every week by doing those things, and possibly earn some of our trust back to get more privileges. That would be great, right? I calculated how much money he would have earned in the last 6 months if he would have kept doing those things - $240. That is a ton of money for a 12-year-old! At least, I think it is. He could buy pretty much anything with that kind of money!

Anyway, once my husband gets home tonight we are going to pitch the idea to D and see what he thinks. I think it sounds like a great idea but somehow I just think that D might not like it that much. :/

As a side note, tonight we had pancakes with strawberry compote (the compote was home made!) and whipped cream for dinner. It was basically like a giant dessert and everybody loved it. I think it will be our new Sunday night dinner tradition! :)

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