Check out the contract Wong Li-Lin drafted for her 11 year old and the attempt this mum made to do the same!
Have you ever found the negotiations you have with your half baby-half teenage offspring going nowhere? Actress Wong Li-Lin may have the solution for you.
Last week, Wong Li-Lin blew the internet away with her Instagram post. She showed her followers a contract she has with her 11 year old son for him to have a ‘better attitude’, following a discussion with him.
In it, were guidelines on how her son, Jonas, can attempt to keep his end of the agreement:
- Have a growth mindset
- Be coachable
- Be interested in people around me
- Be interested to try new things
- Do extra and be prepared
Breaking this contract would mean having the holy grail for all primary school aged/ pre-teen boys; gadgets; removed.
Yup. That’s right. It’s the ‘threat’ we use on our kids (I know I do) but just nicely printed in black and white. It’s genius.
It gets harder to post about the kids' shenanigans. They protest about violation of their privacy and their friends are following me. Alas. They're not wrong! I might just get away with this one yet 😉 On the eve of his birthday, we had to address some growing pains which after discussion, culminated into his first Contract. Just so we are clear about expectations and outcomes. Sorted on his birthday. No rest for the wicked. M: Read every contract carefully so you know exactly what you are signing away He returns with the Contract M: You can't just doodle on Contracts!!!?? Sigh 😆 #singapore #sons #laughter #sheesh #hilarious #lilinwong #lifeaslilin #lessons #gottalaugh #lovedit #somebirthday #thanksmom #thanksson #instalove
Somehow, it makes the constant warnings, “I swear I will take your Playstation away” or “Do XYZ if you don’t want your iPad to miraculously disappear”, much more legit. Mum giveth, mum taketh back.
Of course, kids are kids, and Li-Lin definitely did not forget that. The contract includes, “Sometimes I might forget and mom can remind me with codeword ‘Yo Bro’ and wagging of her finger.”
Terms and Conditions
Just like Li-Lin, we parents of this enigmatic age group, do our best to discipline them. It usually means us toggling between being as fierce and strong as Samson “the lion tamer” when they get stubborn; and being a complete gummy bear because we can’t help but sayang them when they show their cute manja side.
The latter is what forfeits whatever firm hand we had in the first place.
Behaviour contracts are very popular for this very reason. They usually pop up during their pre-teen years onwards, before they spread their wings.
However, it’s never too early to get in the habit. You never know, they might find this form of discipline fun and motivational instead of a dread.
Here is a list of downloadable contracts including allowance contracts, behavioural contracts for primary - secondary school kids, taking care of pets contracts, gadgets contracts etc.
Tips to make a behavioural contract
1. Keep it simple
It is easier to achieve a goal when there is a focus. Look at the current problem areas and choose to tackle that together.
For eg: if your child is having homework problems, address that situation. You can set up a different contract for another focus area once she has got into the habit of completing her homework regularly.
2. Get all parties involved
If your child is under the care of grandparents/ step-parents etc, it would be great to have everyone on board so that there is a consensus.
This may be easier said than done but at the end of the day, we would want our kids to understand that it is teamwork and everyone should play their part.
3. Determine a reward & consequence system
The aim is to make your child feel accomplished for good behaviour and there are consequences for bad. This is different from ‘bribing’ whereby that’s mostly short term.
With every reward, remind them that you are all in this together and you’ll celebrate your victories as a family.
4. Track their progress
Tracking keeps them on their feet and they will look forward to see themselves improve. As long as we as parents keep it motivational, they will count the ‘change’ they made as an achievement.
(Ahem. The younger ones love stickers. Try that.)
Read this too: 7 worst discipline mistakes smart parents make
I hereby agree…
So, let’s try putting it on paper.
You know what? Let’s include ourselves in the contract.
In my attempt to be fair, I tried to replicate this situation with a few personal touches.
Firstly, my son is only 8, so, it’s gonna take a heck of a lot more explanation on why we’re doing this. But he does reflections and value reports in school, so he’ll catch on.
Secondly, I chose a ‘gadgets contract’ for its relevance (even though the ‘Caring for pets’ contract is tempting too. Hmm.)
I added my end of the bargain, so that he will feel that I am in this together with him.
Check this out: Know the difference between discipline and punishment
What do you guys think?
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