Our kids are good kids. They are kind hearted and caring and they do their best to make the world a better place. But they are also kids, so they are sometimes naughty. They are not bad, they are naughty. Henry likes to be the class clown in school, despite the teacher's lessons, and Eva likes to always get the last word (or the last stomp out of the room if words escape her). So we need discipline.
But if there's one thing I have learned about discipline, it's that the same punishment over and over eventually becomes ineffective. Our kids are immune to being punished by taking things away from them. They are not huge toy players, so we never really had anything we could take away. Last Christmas, grandma and grandpa bought them iPads, and for a few months, we could take away increments of time they were allowed on them. That was effective for a while, but eventually they both realized they could still read a book even if they didn't have an iPad. And I'm not about to punish them by taking away books!
So, we came up with the chore, punishment, and good jars. Here's how it works. At the parents' discretion, we can tell them to choose between the chore and punishment jar when they are naughty. They at least have that choice. In each jar is one chore (e.g., wash the kitchen counters or clean the bathroom) and one punishment (e.g., write "I will start behaving and stop being naughty" 20 times, stand in the corner for 10 minutes). There is also one "Mercy" card in each jar....sometimes they get lucky.
The good jar is also used at our discretion. Because when you're going to punish children for being naughty, you also have to reward them for being good. So after a really great school day, they might get to pick one of those for an extra dessert or an extra half hour of staying up at night.
We started it the week of a full moon (yes, I am 100% sure my kids are more naughty during a full moon), and on the first day of the process, I didn't have to clean at all. The kids cleaned the walls, did laundry, cleaned the front hall, and scrubbed the bathroom top to bottom. That was just day 1.
But then it started getting better. They have regular chores, and really didn't like these extra ones to add to the list. So they have started behaving just a little bit better. And if we are to judge how good our kids are based on how clean our house is, I guess I'd have to say they are pretty good these days.
I'd take behaving kids over a clean house any day of the week.