It took a few days for the little kids to figure out exactly how the token economy we set up last week works. After a few days, they started to get the hang of it. My 12 year old immediately loved the idea and understood it with no problems. She has been helpful and in good spirits about the whole thing. While this venture is certainly positive for the little ones, so far it is a smash hit of a success with her.
Alot of the research I saw on systems like this said that it is highly successful for children with all sorts of mental and behavioral health issues. My daughter's off the charts anxiety disorder certainly qualifies. There is something about the concreteness of this that prevents her from going into a full blown anxiety attack when she is disciplined or the little kids are rewarded. They all see the system as being "fair," even though we are adjusting it for each child according to their age.
My 3 year old is taking out the recycling and keeping his room clean. My 6 year old is scrubbing toilets. My 12 year old helping keep track of her siblings while I shower without complaint. They are all doing all their daily chores with nary a whine in sight. I take that back. The 6 year old still whines a bit, but she's 6. That's just par for the course. And the 12 year old is still rolling her eyes alot. There's not much that can be done for that.
The response from everyone around us has been positive and encouraging as well. A few people have said they'd like to try it too with their strong willed/intelligent children. I got one (not in so many words, but this was the tone) "It's about time you started worrying about discipline in your house," but you can't please them all and I've stopped trying. Overall, we hang with a crowd that understands the struggles of raising strong-willed, highly intelligent children while trying to maintain Biblical standards, boundaries and structure. We want our children to understand freedom and consequences in a way that still offers safety and protection.
I'll keep posting periodic updates on this venture, especially after the school year starts. This is a good time of year for us to start something like this because our whole pace of life is much slower. There is alot of time to really reinforce the way this works before we hit crazy mode. We can get into the habits now so they flow more naturally to our busy time of year.
If you'd like a little more reading on the topic, beyond the links I posted last week, here are some more resources: