Reward Systems

I love reward systems.

They encourage good behavior.  Self-motivated good behavior, not just do-it-because-I-told-you-to choices, or laden-with-guilt decisions.

It does get complex at times, and it is not as easy as the knee-jerk frustration vent yelling, but we’ve always felt that the results – a happy, confident child, capable of choosing the right solution – justified our means.

But it can get complex at times.

Right now we’re going through one of those times.  We have several systems in place at the moment.  For example: our eternal 50-point system (make 50 points, and choose a prize), an earned video game time program, and an extra allowance dollar for above and beyond work.

And occasionally a few of them crash together, locking horns like rams.  Full speed ahead… CRASH.

Just now, I got off the phone with our contact at the school, our autism coordinator.  She’s noticed previously that our son has some priority problems – video games!  video games! – which once again have surfaced.

Homework vs. video games.  It’s just not fair.  How are we supposed to win this fight?  And yes, I know parents everywhere face this dilemma.  And yet, somehow, that’s not really a comfort.

Probably it should be, and I should be thankful that everyone automatically recognizes this issue, unlike some of the more esoteric, autism-related challenges.  Anyway…

Our video game time is tied into a different reward system.  FAIL.  We need to rework this.  Obviously.

And yet… for once we’re seeing progress in picking (the phenomenon where someone – usually sensory sensitive – has the compulsion to pick at scabs or skin or whatever), due to that powerful motivator, the video game.  For the first time in about five years he’s overcoming the habit.

Health vs. homework.

And we’re supposed to choose how to aim our death-star weapon the video game, and use its power for the most good. Suddenly I feel sympathy for the Empire.

I’m thinking we need to find another powerful motivator.  I’m thinking that sometimes one can’t win.  I’m thinking…

Health is more important than homework.  Sigh.

Time to rework the system, re-think the motivations, and the rewards.  Time to explain – once again – how the world works, and why homework is important.  You know the drill.

Bright side: our son’s got normal middle school issues.  Suddenly, I feel like we can win, after all.


About aspergerfamily3

Living in an Asperger's World, surrounded by a love of learning, interesting people, and daily challenges.
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