Some of you remember the Love & Logic class Roofie and I were court ordered to participate in. He never finished it, but I received a little certificate which my former boss told me to keep in case I ever want to get a job in counseling, education or early childhood fields.
About a week after Love & Logic ended, the La Plata County family center offered a FREE 12-week parenting class called “The Incredible Years”. I certified mailed the flier to Roofie, asking him to come along, but you all know how successful my attempts at THAT are.
I really like the class. Unlike Love & Logic, where the cost was $75 for 6 weeks, this one also includes homemade dinner, childcare, books, stress balls, candy and information for $0, so the class is a lot bigger and much more diverse. I’m not the only single mom, and I’m not the only one who makes less than $30,000 a year. The teachers also work through Head Start, so they know LB too.
Its always fun to have teachers use your kid as a good example in a parenting class, and inflates my ego a little bit more. We also get to watch these really ghetto parenting videos from the early 80s. Its all real footage, depicting “bad” parenting, but most of the time we just end up making fun of the bad perms and bell bottom pantsuits. Its pretty cringe-worthy all around, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
We’re about halfway through the class, and discussing praise, self-esteem and tangible rewards. They gave us all “sticker charts” for our kids, so we can write down good behaviors we want to encourage. Its got a reward system, where you make up a gift when your child gets a certain amount of stickers. We talked about bribing your kids versus rewarding them.
I was a little wary of the stickers, due to the year-long power struggle LB and I had over using the potty. She loved the stickers so much that refusing to give them to her when she didn’t go potty turned me into evil mommy. It did nothing to help her learn. I was afraid putting a sticker chart up would bring back all those memories, but it was homework for the class, so I tried it again.
Right now I’ve got “make your bed” “pick up your toys” and “brush your teeth” on LB’s sticker chart. When she gets 5 stickers, she gets to play hide and seek with me. When she gets 10 stickers, we paint a picture, and 15 stickers earns an ice cream.
I put the sticker chart right next to her bed. She was very excited about it. She picked up her toys and attempted to make her bed without hesitation. Two stickers up. Teeth brushing was a little harder, but she eventually did it. More stickers. I could see the sticker lust starting to glint in her eyes.
She now goes directly to her sticker book every time we go into her room. She asks “More stickers?” and “I went potty! I get a sticker!” Or she will straight up lie and say “I made my bed, I get sticker.”
I’m starting to hate the sticker thing again. I have to keep explaining that she only gets a sticker when she does one of the things on the chart. I think its starting to frustrate her too.
Last night, I asked her to pick up her toys and went into her room about 15 minutes later to check on her. There she stood, plastering an entire page of stickers onto the damn chart. There must have been 30 stickers layered haphazardly across the paper. “I picked up toys!” She said defensively. My face must have accused her of mass sticker thievery.
The sticker chart has taken over my child’s mind. Maybe its a little too much for both a single mom and her obsessive Gemini to deal with.