Tuesday, April 3, 2007

fines and allowances

Maya got a library card a few months ago, and in that time, I have racked up over $60.00 in fines. Ugh. She has 38 books out currently, and I messed up the due date. We renewed online and that screwed up my mental deadline for when I needed to renew. For some reason, I thought I needed to renew today, but really, I needed to renew two WEEKS ago. Ugh. That is 38 books x $0.10 x 14.

I am such a loser.

At one time, I owed the same library system hundreds of dollars because we moved, the books I had checked out and planned to return were inadvertently packed into an unmarked box. In the chaos of moving, they were forgotten. When I received my written notice (usually receive email notices, but in the move, our email changed), the fine was outrageous. I tore the house and garage apart looking for the books, found them, returned them and paid my several hundreds of dollars fine.

This fine I (well, Maya, really) has is nothing in comparison to that, but it is really insane. Like, why can I not return a freaking book on time or at least renew it on-time. I can even renew online, so it's not like it's totally inconvenient.

We are on spring break, and the weather is lovely. I thought it was supposed to rain all week, but it's been great! Maya and I weeded the front garden yesterday, which is a litter box for the neighborhood cats, apparently. I hate cat shit. I have no cats or dogs because animal shit just grosses me the hell out.

Week four of our parenting class is tomorrow. I am surprisingly pleased at how well it is going. I refer to our mistaken goal chart all the time. that is when a behavior is done with the mistaken goal of achieving a certain reaction from a parent. The great thing about the chart is that it has hints on it.
1. Child is behaving defiantly.
2. Parent feels challenged/defeated/provoked/indignation/angry.
3. Adult's Mistaken Reaction: Fighting, forcing, giving in, thinking "you can't get away with it" or "I'll make you.", wanting to be right, wanting to be in charge/control, punishing.
4. Child's response: Intensifies behavior, defiant- compliance, feels he/she's won when adult is upset, passive power.
5. The Child's Belief: I count or belong only when I am boss, in control, or proving no one can boss me. "You can't make me." "You can't stop me."
6. Effective prevention (encouragement): provide opportunities to contribute in useful ways; set a few reasonable limits (kind and firm); give choices; develop mutual respect; mutual problem solving; practice follow through; family meetings.
7. Effective responses (more encouragement): hear:"Let me help, give me choices." Let routines be the boss; don't fight and don't give in; withdraw from conflict (leave and calm down); redirect to positive power by asking for help; be kind and firm; act, don't talk; decide what you will do vs. what child should do; use positive timeouts.

Wow. That looks like a lot, but it's all written in a chart, so I can easily find the behavior, my feeling and reaction, and how I could better react. Very user-friendly. I love it.

We started family meetings last week, and it went well. I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but I have seen an improvement in how I feel and how the kids behave. Our family meetings are short and during dinner. My goal is to meet for 15 minutes or so. No drawn out experience. And this is only once a week. There is some resistance, but overall, I think the kids are doing well. Maya is doing the same meeting model in her class, so she got it really quickly. the older two are humoring me, but they are doing so in a respectful manner. I really appreciate the effort they are putting forth.

We instituted a weekly allowance that is not tied into chores. They get the allowance regardless of if or how well the chores are done. It goes against how I feel, but it makes sense to me. the chores are done to make them contributing members of our family.

Well, we were just invited to a playdate, which I, I mean, Maya, desperately needs.
Must go enjoy the sunshine!


Rae said...

I love the way the Whidbey library system works. If your book is late, they automatically charge you for the cost of the book on your account. As soon as you return the book, the slate is wiped clean. No late fees. Totally awesome.

P.S. There is a Positive Discipline series in my area and I'm definitely going to check it out!

Shan said...

You've given me something to think about when I hit that allowance stage with Abby. Thanks.