Have you tried a parent and child contract in the past only to have it fail? Are you worried about how to get started with a parent and kids contracts?
Sometimes finding something that works for your family can be a bit of a struggle, but once you get it sorted it can be one of the best methods for transforming your child’s behavior. One secret that most parents often overlook is how their child would see a parent and child contract. It’s really important to take your child’s perspective into consideration when creating and enforcing a contract, as it should be designed with their best interests in mind.
Will Your Child Feel Overwhelmed?
When we get to the stage that we decide a parent contract is the best option, we are often exhausted and frustrated by our child’s actions or behavior, and as such decide to implement a kid contract. Unfortunately this is not really the best frame of mind to get started with a child contract, because we’ve got a lot of emotions racing around in our heads.
It’s very tempting to write a long list of all of the things our child does to bother us, to write them into a contract and present it to our child – but pause for a second, imagine this happened to you at work. If your boss wrote a comprehensive list of everything you had ever done to bother them and gave it to you, how would you feel? You would probably feel really awful or at least overwhelmed. It would be fair to assume that your child would feel a similar way if this happened to them.
With this in mind, it’s important that you introduce the idea of a contract early, allowing your child to know that it’s coming so it’s not just sprung on them. This gives them an opportunity to get used to the idea and emotionally ready before you even start discussing the finer details of your kids contracts.
Be Fair and Reasonable
While there are things that you don’t like about your child, and maybe many things, there will also be things your child doesn’t like about the way you act. If you’re going to lay everything on the table and tell them how you feel, it’s important that you’re open and invite your child to do the same. Ask them if there is anything they don’t like that they think you could change in order to make the home a better place for everyone.
Your child might say that they think that you are too strict, that you nag too much or that you send them to bed too early – remember that everyone is going to have different perspectives of things and try to take theirs on board. It’s a great idea if you listen to their suggestions and create some extra leeway for your child, by writing some things into the parent-child contract, such as if your child’s behavior improves their bedtime can be extended or that you wont nag so often. This makes the contract fairer and then your child will feel as if this is really a family contract, designed to improve the family, rather than just an attack on them.
Make the Contract a Positive Contract
Introducing a kids contract doesn’t have to be a negative thing, if you explain to your child that you are creating one because you want everything in the home to be more consistent and fair – then your child will see that it’s something that will benefit them too. Instead of thinking of it as a tool to correct your child’s behavior, although it is very likely to achieve that, think of it as something to totally reshape your home – to make it better for everyone. This takes a lot of the pressure off the contract and will help prevent your child from feeling so alienated.
It’s really important to consider how your child would view your home contract; will they see that it benefits them, or will they just feel hurt and attacked. You want to make this kid contract as positive as possible, in a bid to make it really effective.
Have you tried a child contract in your home? Was it successful or did you child respond badly? We’d love to hear how kids contracts are working for you! Let us know. Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org