Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Season of Giving

If you read Monday's blog, you know today's behavior blog is all about how I get kids to do things.  Part of this answer is inspired by the blog I wrote October 27th called Motivation.  I go into details about when you motivate a kid, you can get them to do nearly anything.  If you haven't read it, it would be worth your time.  I'm going to go into a bit more detail; then I am going to see if the tactics used with my kids will work on you as well.

My favorite ways to get the behavior I want from children are praise, encouragement, and general affection ((i.e. hugs, pats on the back, and kisses (for my kids)).  I also use rewards and consequences to my advantage.  Rewards don't have to be extravagant.  But they do need to motivate the kid to perform the same behavior I am looking for.  Consequences does not mean I have to give spankings.  Sometimes raising my voice a bit or placing a favorite toy in time out is all that is needed.  (An evil eye tends to work as well).  The point of consequences are to give the message, "I don't want to see that behavior any longer."

When I do these things effectively, I reduce noise, frustration, and time outs.  No one is perfect and I'm not claiming my house always resembles a sense of calmness.  But, people who know my children could tell you that even when they misbehave, it is usually short lived.  These same tactics were used in the classroom and St. Joseph Children's Home.  My departments/classrooms were typically quieter than others but always fun and engaging.  That's the way I'd like your children to view home as well.

Now to try an experiment with you.  Most people who visit this blog regularly know I have three purposes.  One is to promote general ideas of a yet to be published book called Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures.   A second motivation is this blog gives me the opportunity to help others and/or to make a great child/parent even better.  Finally, (this is the least known by people) I do it for my kids.  I want them to view me as a person who tried to make a difference.  When I have to talk about parenting issues three times a week, it makes me be a better parent because I'm forced to remember my roots.  My son, Cameron, is also inspired by this blog just like he was when I wrote the book.  For example, I've shown him a map of all the places in the world this blog has been read and you should see how his jaw drops.  It's priceless!   

Here's my experiment.  I hope you find my blog inspires and gives down to earth opinions.  The behavior I am looking for from you is to be excited/motivated over what I am trying to do with this blog.  Because I love to motivate to garner excitement; here's what's going to happen.

I am going to run a contest.  If you decide to participate and win, you will be able to choose one of two prizes.  The first prize choice is a $25 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse.  It's one of my favorite restaurants so I hope you enjoy. 

Outback Steakhouse logoImage via WikipediaWould doubling the money help?  OK!  The other prize you can choose is a $50 donation to the charity of your choice.  Hopefully, I will learn between now and then how to do it in your name.  Wouldn't it feel good to give your favorite charity some extra cheer before the holidays?  If you are ready to compete, here are the ways of entering the drawing.

WASHINGTON - MARCH 26:  A smiley face was draw...Image by Getty Images via @daylife1.  I would like more friends on Google Connect which is located on the right side of the screen.  If you sign up, you will be entered.  For the 12 people, excluding my wife, who are already there, you will be automatically entered.

2.  The second way is to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.  Now that the box is set for anyone to use, I'd like to know what you think of my motivation ideas.  An alternative would be for you to add your own ideas on how you motivate your kids to behave.  One comment=one entry to the contest.

3.  Finally, I would like to receive even more parenting questions for the Friday free for all blog.  You can email them to  Leaving a question will grant another entry. 

Obviously, one person has a total of three chances to win the contest.  But, if you know me, there's a catch.  I said we were competing, right?  I want to play as well but I'm not going to be in the drawing.  Here's the idea.  The most amount of hits I have received on one blog is 122 achieved this past Monday.  While I appreciate this to no ends, I bet if you tell more of your friends about this contest, I can raise even more awareness.  Everyone likes to eat and many have a favorite charity. 

I win the contest if this blog receives less than 200 hits.  Not to worry though.  If I win, I will be choosing the charity option.  A $50 check will be written to St. Joseph Children's Home.  Without this organization, I wouldn't be the parent I am today and you wouldn't be reading this blog.  Based on this condition, I will feel like a winner no matter what. 

My wife told me when she and her siblings were little, they would wrestle their father. The catch was they could never win until they all worked together.  The 200 hits idea means you have to work with your fellow readers to beat me.  Tell a friend, a family member, or a person you work with.  I'm sure if you work together, someone is going to eat well or give a gift to a worthwhile cause.

Here are some random things I want to clarify before the contest begins.

1.  If you have a common name like Brian or Kim, you had better include the last three letters of your last name to be entered.  If you don't do this, I could have winners with the same name and be forced to draw again.

2.  I am not high tech.  I've said before my parenting skills are much better than my computer skills.  There won't be a live broadcast of the drawing.  You'll have to trust that I am playing this game honestly and fairly. Many of my friends will enter I am sure.  If someone I know wins, that's the way it goes. If you can't trust me to run an honest contest, please do not play.

3.  The contest ends Friday before I post the free for all blog.  Depending on how many entries I have, there is a possibility the winner won't be announced until the published Monday blog.  Ideally, I'd like to get the contest over with as quickly as possible so the recipient can have the prize before Christmas.

4.  If you win and choose the charity option, it must be an obvious charity I can easily verify. For example, I won't have questions if you choose The American Red Cross.  Contrarily, if you choose The Society of Charity Cheats; there may be a problem.  Again, if you do not like these rules, do not enter the contest.  I am not cutting a check unless things are clearly on the up and up.

5.  On the day I announce the winner, you have a week to pick your prize and send me contact information (especially if you want the Outback Steakhouse gift card)  the winner will be able to email me.  If the winner does not respond, another name will be drawn.

6.  Finally, I am sure I haven't thought of everything.  Let's be honest- there are probably certain ways this contest can be manipulated/ruined for all who participate by means I haven't anticipated.  If that's the case, I can't run another contest like this.  Please play fairly and honestly.  I want someone to win the gift certificate, donate to a charity of their choice, or give to St. Joseph Children's Home. 

Check back in Friday so I can update you on the contest and enjoy my free for all topic. 

I wish everyone the best of luck!!!


  1. Hey Clay,

    I'm not necessarily concerned about winning, however, I do want to share the new reward program we've begun with Lily. As I mentioned to you, she had a good girl chart that I made where she was able to place stickers on different things for each day such as no fits, going to bed as expected, brushing teeth, eating well, etc. Well, I have adjusted her good girl chart and now all it has are the different days of the week, kind of set up as a calendar. For each day she goes without more than 4 time outs (she's allowed 1 for each year). At the end of the week, if she has at least 6 stickers on her chart, she gets to go to Monkey Joe's (her favorite place to go!) and she gets to bounce and play on the moon bounces, obstacle courses, and slides. So far it is working just fine.
    I chose this because not only is it her favorite place to go, it is also fun for everyone, and good exercise for her now that it is frigid outside and she stays cooped up inside. Also, it brings back memories of when I was her age (before my twin brothers came and ruined everything! Haha just kidding) my mom would take me to chuck E. Cheese every other Friday if I behaved well. Anyway! I just wanted to share this. The stickers are positive reinforcement for good behavior and going to monkey Joe's is the reward.
    Great blog! I always enjoy reading it!

    Hope you have a great week!

  2. I like the fact that you have thought it all through and have a system of rewards and consequences. Kids like to work within boundaries and routines. As a grandparent, I'm lucky to be able to give lots of extra hugs,kisses and cuddling, or more time to play cards or a board game. Those usually are enough to cheer up a cranky child. (Mimi E)

  3. I already followed you using blogger's service, before I even got to this entry. I love this entry, and how you've done it. Your goals mirror my goals in writing and blogging. Good work, and good luck with our unwritten books, eh?