I got it all wrong.

When we were growing up, the one thing that would make my mother really mad was when we didn’t put the lunch box to wash in the sink as soon as we got back home from school. Amma was very particular about the lunch box. Mine was a silver colour aluminium rectangle container with clips on either side. Amma used to wrap the container in a tea towel. Apparently, I was supposed to use the towel on my lap in place of a napkin. She never told me what I was to do with the tea towel and I used it as a table mat. ( Like they say, common sense is not very common 🙂 )

Much as I try to be not anything like my mother, I still have these quirks that I have inherited from my mother. I too want my children to put their lunch containers in the sink as soon as they come back from school. Most of the time, I send lunch in Thermos and if I don’t soak it, the dish washer will not clean it well. So as soon as I get home, I fill up the thermos with warm water and let it soak. Both Yaya and baby have no trouble following my orders. My son on the other hand will not do it. As soon as he gets home, he fixes himself a sandwich, drink half a bottle of juice straight from the carton, leave the juice bottle and the sandwich plate where ever he was sitting and then go out and play with his friends.

So I implemented a 50 cents fine. When I get home, If his Thermos isn’t in the sink, I fine him 50 cents. Since he works and earns his own money, he hates to pay the fine and we will end up arguing. He feels I am really unreasonable and I must admit I do agree with him. However, I don’t see why he finds it so difficult to do such a simple chore, so I think he should pay the fine.

My son and I were arguing about the 50 cents he has to pay me and a friend was home and he watched the drama unfolding. Later that day he told me I got it all wrong.

Apparently, I shouldn’t be fining my son, . Instead I must give him 50 cents  every day he keeps his lunch container in the sink. I do give my son 5$ every Friday for him to buy bubble tea. ( he loves Yam flavour bubble tea). So I told him, each day he gets 50 cents if he puts his lunch container for wash before I get home and if he got 2 dollars by Friday, I will top up the rest and make it 5$. If he didn’t put the containers for wash, he doesn’t get any money on Friday.

There have been no arguments and the past one week, the lunch container has been in the sink every single day. If only someone had told me this earlier.

8 thoughts on “I got it all wrong.

  1. When I become a mother, I’m going to go through all your posts again to remind myself on how to raise my kid(s).
    You should write a book Sarah. Or just compile your post and publish.. I’ll queue in line to get it signed. 😀

  2. Therein lies a timeless truth, Sarah. Pity is that it is only in hindsight we think positive reinforcement that obvious. Thanks for the story (and reminder).

    • Shibu: I never even thought about positive reinforcement. We were all raised under crime and punishment ideology..

    • Jina: Yaya and baby know my obsessions, they never forget to put their lunch container in the sink. They too get money every Friday.. ( baby only gets 2 dollars though)

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