Saturday, May 9, 2009


No, this is not a blog post about my garden. This is definitely a parenting post.

Before I had kids, I had no idea how much negotiation went on.

"If you eat a good dinner, you can have ice cream."

"If you hit your sister one more time, you will get a time out."

Cause and effect. You know the drill.

Parenting seems to be deal with carrots and sticks all the time. Or bribes and punishments?

As the kids get older, the carrots and the sticks change. It keeps a parent on their toes to be a step or two in front so that the negotiation gets the desired effect.

When Molly first started violin she was 5 and stickers were her carrot. They lost their luster after awhile and nothing would do but sweets.

I remember sitting with her as she practiced her tunes adding chocolate chips one by one to a bowl for each song she played. That worked for a bit.

About a year ago, we shamelessly went to money. If she practices, she gets a buck. It has to be a good practice, her best effort. I consider it money well spent and better for her than candy.

Recently, we stumbled upon a new sparkly, dazzling, lusted after carrot. She wants an I-pod upgrade. Let me explain, she got a Shuffle a year or two back but is only really getting into listening to music lately. The Shuffle does not have a video screen. Gasp! So she wants a Nano which will hold 2,000 songs and 8 hours of video. My mind still reals; what the heck?

Anyway, she wants it, hence it is a new powerful carrot. No, you do not just provide the carrot, you make them work for the carrot, of course. That is the point.

I told her that I would buy her Shuffle from her for $75 but she would need to come up with the rest. Ah ha! With that statement she has swung into money making mode.

We made some plans and mapped out a strategy. She counted up all the money she has now and how much more she will need to make. We looked at the calendar and picked out some days for her to do her money making.

How does she make money? She busks. She sets up at the Saturday Farmers Market and plays solo violin with her case open. I "seed" with a starter buck and the rest is up to her.

Today was the first busk of the season and I have finally wised up and brought a lawn chair. I just sit somewhat nearby and stay out of her way.

Within an hour or so, she made $26.

Someone today started rattling off to me all the good life lessons she was getting; people skills, practical math, project planning and goal definition. He went on and on.

People are always incredibly kind and encouraging. They are dazzled at her bravery to stand there alone and play. So am I.


Anonymous said...

I love the shamelessly going to money. I know a doctor with 6 children, in the beginning he did everything very New Age & evolved, then by the 3 or 4th he was offering the kids cash to use the potty :-0. ~Mary

I was just hop scotching around & found your blog.

Holly Nappi Collins said...

OMG, you are a such a good mom!!

I feel guilty saying that I just bought my kids a Nano and a new Shuffle.. however, they don't know how to play the violin!;)

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