How do you reward your teen for good behaviour?
I think by the time our kids are in primary school, we’ve all come to realise that dog training and raising kids is basically the same thing.
It’s all about consistency, tone of voice, and rewarding the actions that you’d like to see more of. And plenty of exercise, mixed with regular naps.
Treating a five-year-old when they tidy their room is easy. “Here’s a cupcake, or a new LEGO mini-figure,” darling. Or even, “Here’s a special hug and because you’ve done so well, let’s go to the park.”
With Flea things are a bit more complicated. I have things I want her to do. Chores, homework, walking the dog. And if she does those things promptly, and well, I feel she deserves some credit.
I can’t buy her clothes because I am old and tragic and I have no way of telling the difference between ten virtually identical pairs of skinny black jeans.
I don’t even understand half the make-up teens wear today. I mean, come on. EYELASH PRIMER? Pfft.
Besides, Flea does 90% of her shopping online using her debit card, and my involvement in any new purchase is actively discouraged.
I could punish Flea for NOT doing stuff.
But research suggests that teens are way more motivated by reward than punishment. Certainly, Flea couldn’t care less if I nag her, or confiscate her phone. True Story: her phone has been in my handbag for two weeks after she got busted using it at school, and she hasn’t even asked for it back yet.
However, through trial and error, I have worked out three sure fire ways to reward your teen for good behaviour. You can call it bribery if you like. But if it gets the laundry done, or means I don’t have to walk the dog on a rainy evening, I’m good with that.
Teen Reward Idea 1: Topping Up Their Phone Credit
If your teen is anything like mine, they’re permanently attached to their phone. In Flea’s case, the thought of being without immediate, on-tap access to Buzzfeed, Instagram and Snapchat is horrifying.
So topping up her phone is always, always a great reward for good behaviour.
Related bribe: I find that offering to temporarily loosen the restrictions on Flea’s iPhone quite a useful tool, sometimes. “Well, darling, I might let you download that album, IF YOU GO AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK.”
Teen Reward Idea 2: A Night Out with Friends
Something happens around the age of 13 and you may find that your teen no longer considers spending quality time with you to be a treat. I know!
In this case, you have a whole new way of bribing your teen to co-operate with your wishes. This is – offering them the chance to spend time with friends. At the moment, Flea is working on our moving house project, and if she does well, I’ve said I’ll spring for a night out at the cinema and dinner with two of her best friends.
Luckily, your average teen is easily pleased when eating out, so the price of three kids’ tickets to the cinema and three plates of Nando’s won’t break the bank. And even better, you can win a £40 gift card by entering my competition this month – see below for details!
Teen Reward Idea 3: Music Rights
Not all rewards have to involve spending money. Sometimes it’s just about letting teens set the tone, and have a bit of control.
One of the most common rewards I give Flea if she completes a chore or goes above and beyond is LORD OF THE REMOTE. For one week, Flea can be in charge of what music gets played in the car. Or what show we watch on TV.
Yes, this means I get to see an awful lot of episodes of something called “Shipwrecked” but it’s worth hours of TV drama if my daughter actually gets up in time to catch the bus each morning.
Win a £40 Nando’s Gift Card
This month, I’m giving you the chance to win a treat for your teen. Or just treat yourself. You deserve it!
To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is follow @swhittle on Twitter and RT the competition Tweet below (it’s also pinned to the top of my Twitter account).
The winner will be chosen at random after 5pm on 28 February 2019 and notified via Twitter DM. The prize will be dispatched via email within 48 hours, and the winners’ details shared on this post (see below for full-terms).
— Sally Whittle (@swhittle) February 7, 2019
How to Enter
Terms: UK entrants aged 18 and over only. One entry per person. One winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries using random.org and will receive one Starbucks gift card with a £50 value, as described above. You must follow @swhittle on Twitter and RT the giveaway Tweet to enter. Giveaway not associated with Twitter. No cash alternative. Promoter: Flea Enterprises Ltd, 18 St George’s Road, St Annes Lytham. The promoter’s decision is final. Giveaway closes 5pm GMT on 28/2/2019. Winner will be contacted by Twitter DM, detailed will be added to this page within 7 days of the closing date.