Reward The Positive

Marbles Our summer has been wonderful so far.

Day after day of meeting with friends and just playing.

Because we homeschool I always feel like summer is a huge break for us.

I have to admit I miss the structure of our school days though.

With less structure comes more fighting and whining.

I have just felt like I have been punishing, reprimanding and redirecting WAY too much this summer.

As I was talking to my oldest boy last night ( he was in tears and then I was in tears) he was telling me that he was feeling like he couldn't do anything right.

I was so heartbroken to hear this.

He is such an amazing boy.  To think for a moment that he felt like he wasn't good enough or that he was always making mistakes was so eye opening. 

I am the oldest child in my family.  I know that more is expected of the oldest and it is not always fair.

I wanted to try something new.

I want to reward the positive instead of always pointing out the negative.

We are going to try a marble in a jar for each of the children for every good and helpful act.



Artist Shari Brann

When their jar is full we will do something special… just the two of us (or with daddy).

I will let you guys know how it works. 

I want my children to have discipline and direction. 

 I just don't want to break the spirit in them that makes them unique and special.



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  1. lissa

    I love this! I truly believe that some kids do better with positive reinforcement! But that whining thing… sometimes it makes me want to cut my head off! πŸ™‚

  2. Zita - Mlle Magpie

    Jeanne, I SO hear you. I also feel it’s so difficult to instill discipline and self-direction in children. I often end up losing my patience, especially after my oldest (12) does yet another stupid thing that he was told not to do. I think your marble jar idea is a great idea.

  3. JerriR

    I remember when my son was 13 and then again at 16 and he said those words to us that he no matter what he did it “wasn’t good enough”….I too was heartbroken and it really opened my eyes to the pressure that young kids/teens, especially boys, feel in this world. It’s awesome that you are aware and I love your positive reinforcement idea! ~Emersyn Lane’s momma~

  4. julie

    My daughter wasn’t in tears last night, but I, too, realize that I have pretty high expectations for her…….and I, too, have spent much of my summer reprimanding ad scolding. I’m on the lookout now for a bunch of marbles to copy this idea. Thanks so much!

  5. Tricia Whisler

    What a wonderful idea Jeanne! I can just imagine their excitement as they watch their jar fill up with marbles!

  6. Amy Jo Axe

    I hope that works for you guys! It works when I use it. I am so sorry that Jack was feeling sad. He is an awesome young man!

  7. Rebekah

    Oh this is a really great idea! I might need to try this too. It was heartbreaking when Oliver got sent to bed early on his birthday night because of a MAJOR tantrum. You are am amazing mommy Jeanne πŸ™‚

  8. Hayley

    I can totally relate to this. I’m a teacher and there have been days where I feel like all I do is say “no” or have no one pay any attention to what I’m saying at all throughout the school day, and then I’d come home and have the very same thing. Parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and makes me uncertain all the time. You’re clearly providing a beautiful life for your kids, though, and surely they’ll look back and remember the positives themselves someday.

  9. Tara

    I agree Jeanne, I think about this now with my 2 year old, He is so much fun but always pushes the bundaries and I end up getting upset with him…but at times I know he is just being a kid! Let me know how this goes, I might adopt this when he gets older, I certainly want him to have self confidence and feel like he can conquere the world! enjoy your summer sweetie! Structure will come all too soon!

  10. Rosemary

    Hi there,
    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Love yours, great ideas with the children.
    Have a wonderful day!

  11. Sheila Payne

    I too feel this way with the summer here and way less structure. i do have my girls in VBS right now, so that is helping. I have a treasure chest at my home as a reward sysytem that is usually wonderful. We have not even thought about it since summer statred, I will need to replenish and get back on. I too am tired of the whining & fighting, thanks so much 4 the reminder.

  12. koralee

    Summer will do that..more time together trying to keep busy …sounds like a wonderful idea..mine are older and we still have our days…maybe a marble jar will work for them too….??

  13. kristin

    Well I love the marble jar idea! I hope it does the trick and I pray the rest of your summer is lovely with your children enjoying each day perfectly. Oh, my that would be lovely! Happy Wednesday Summer Day to you.
    Happy day to you.

  14. Tracy

    WOW – I needed this!
    I’m always on the lookout for a fresh parenting tip – and this is awesome.
    My daughter works SO well on positive reinforcement, and there are LOTS of times I don’t notice the positive. (she’s not a pleaser by nature, so the negative stuff is much less effective!)
    I can’t wait to try this out. Now – off to find a cute jar and some marbles!

  15. Marie

    Hello Jeanne – love this marble incentive idea. I have used it with my children and it worked very well! It was fun to watch the marbles grow.

  16. Chasity

    we are working very hard to overcome fighting and ugly attitudes this summer. yesterday i started reading a book called ‘making brothers and sisters best friends’. i hope i can glean some good from it.
    good luck to you….

  17. Lee W.- As I See It

    thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I can totally relate to your dilema, although I don’t home shcool. I constantly feel like I am yelling, reprimanding etc. I’m going to try the positive thing, and go buy some marbles! thanks.

  18. LuLu

    Oh thank you! I feel the same way about not wanting to break their spirit but I too need structure and order. this is so helpful and great idea! some days they all get along amazingly… other days I hear “quit following me!” over and over again… from one of the kids! I always blame it on “something is in the air”! and calling my friends or family with kids asking how their kids are acting! when we say strange of fussy it makes us all feel better and blame it on something in the air! ha!

  19. amy

    look forward to hearing how it goes! what rewards are finally earned! great seeing you all today!

  20. Brandie

    Love, love, love this idea Jeanne! We have been having that problem here too. I even had a similar discussion with my oldest just yesterday. He feels like he tries so hard to be good but it just doesn’t work. It made me sad to think that he is feeling so down about it and that he and his brother really have been in trouble more often than not each day. I am going to get some marbles and jars for the boys this weekend. Fingers crossed!

  21. rue

    Hi Jeanne πŸ™‚
    I think that’s a great idea! It’s so hard to find a balance between discipline and encouragement, but I think you’re on the right track πŸ™‚

  22. paige

    you are such a wonderful mommy
    i was drawn to your sweet spirit towards your children the very first time i found your blog.
    its so hard, trying to make sure we encourage them yet discipline them effectively too. sometimes the line down the middle of the balancing act is fuzzy.

  23. Alyssa

    you are a good mom. don’t have kids yet, but I hope to keep this perspective, too. you rock.

  24. Elaine Power

    Oh Jeanne, I totally agree, it can be so hard sometimes trying to let them know about decipline, with out breaking there spirit, I think the marbel jar will be a great idear, will you let them put the marble in?
    Will be interesting to see which colours they choose, & what paterns they will create with colour choise πŸ™‚

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