Tuesday 29 November 2011

What Brian taught me

Part 1

I have a dog named Brian. He is a cockapoo and his breath is HORRIBLE! He has gingivitis written on his forehead. For many years, our vet recommended us to brush his teeth everyday to avoid a dental cleaning under general anesthesia or, even worst, having to give him wet food for the rest of his life in the eventuality that every single teeth in his mouth had to be removed. Lets just say that we are lame dog parents because we pretty much never brushed Brian's teeth.

Part 2
When you read mom blogs, there are often parental confessions regarding bribery. As a new mother with limited parenting experience, I totally disagree with that strategy. Bribing kids backfire because it fails to teach them respect and responsibility.

Part 3

Dan works for a big company. Each departments have specific goals to achieve and it is very common to offer incentives to employees who perform well (they also give generous bonus at the end of the year). In other words: corporative bribery! I also have mix feeling about that strategy but it helps to pay our mortgage.

Part 4
Last week, Brian's gingivitis got so disgusting that I'm sure his breath could have remove paint from furniture. So, half joking, I asked Dan: "What do I get if I brush the dog's teeth every day for a month?" My corporate minded husband answered: "I will get you a little something at the end of each week successfully completed!"

I'm happy to report that the Bye Bye Gingivitis Project is so far a success! I'm amazed to see improvement after only a few days.

I'm not saying that bribery is the solution to every behavior problem. However, after this experiment, I think that certain forms of reward system can be use with children (and with adults) but in moderation and with specific goals in mind.

For example, I don't see anything wrong with doing a special activity (not money) if a little one got a good grade card. I also think that there is a difference between an appropriate reward system and pure bribery.

I'm aware that the Bye Bye Gingivitis Project is silly but, as an adult, it gave me the kick in the butt that I needed to start this long term commitment...and because it is pretty funny when you think about it! Oh, and Dan rewarded me with a beautiful felt pinecone ornament!

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hoola tallulah: This is super interesting yet a bit strange that catholic schools where you are do not teach religion. If you don't think about the negative aspects of religions, it is true that there are many positive aspects. As you said: be kind, don't steal, don't hurt, share, etc. I'm not even sure if we still have catholic schools in Montreal.

shannah: Um...today I will "investigate" the celebration of changing seasons/nature. This looks like a pretty cool option to me :)

gimbo: I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one in that situation. I do think that some Christian rituals are great. This is why I want to incorporate the nativity set in our traditions. It is just a little something but I think that it is important.

peanut: Yeah, this is the finished one sold on Etsy. I got the DIY kit so I don't know if it will be as good looking! The music can be nice...unless it is by an 85 years old woman who doesn't remember half the words and seems drunk (it happened to us a few years ago)! And sleeping in on Sunday is a wonderful ritual ;)

su: Super! I didn't know if it was a good idea but, after I read your comment, I think that the nativity scene tradition is a good idea. Thank you xox

kine: I'm still debating about going or not to an osteopath with Alice. I had a few good names but I don't know. This is confusing. Have a lovely day!


Rebecca said...

that pine cone is beautiful! as a teacher, i know the power of a positive reward system. i figure everything in life has either positive or negative consequences, and sometimes it doesn't hurt to add some weight to the positive side, especially if the reward itself reinforces a desired trait :o) sometimes it just helps to kick-start a good habit that can continue past the reward. ironically, when children are offered rewards for things they like to do, they are less likely to do them. strange huh? i guess they already feel they got the reward of enjoyment! okay sorry this is long, last thing...when given a choice of reward, my students ALWAYS choose doing a special activity with their parents over toys or money. pretty awesome. good luck on the tooth brushing!

Regina said...

I also don't mind reward-systems (I am self-empolyed, I like getting paid for work that I have done) - but it is difficult to find the right rewards :-)
Some of our rules of thumb:
- Family tasks don't always have to be rewarded and "thanky you" is sometimes a big reward and yes, helping to clean house togehter to have more time for family activity does work for all of us to get tasks done :-) Activities and shared memories is a good family reward.
- we don't reward good grades - but we reward doing homework, learning for tests... so there is an end of school year gift, but it is no reward for good grades and there are little gifts during the year.

ohmmumma said...

I dont like flat out bribery either! Its almost lazy...although if my hubby bribes me I am ok with this!

Your doggy is beautiful, our darling had bad breath until we switched to a "dental" doggy food <3

Anonymous said...

Well, bribery is kind of difficult to avoid at times, although I agree it's undesirable. Wait till you have a three year old - then reassess!! But your poor dog... please clean his teeth, because he needs them cleaned, rather than for any other reason. Please.