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Subject: Forum #1
Posted by: DERRICK (NV) SHACK on 08:43:46 4/01/99:


My daughter has a habit of not cleaning her room. She thinks cleaning her room is a form of punishment. Her attitude is resentful towards me when I ask her to straighten up her room. The over all outcome I intend to accomplish is to get my daughter to clean her room and show that it is not a form of punishment, but a reward.


My intent is to find a way to get her to properly clean her room and put things where they belong after she finishes without having any resentful or bad attitude.


The subject is a six-year-old girl, who is in kindergarten. She is a very smart and intelligent little girl. She is very friendly and listens and remembers most things people teach her. Just like most children her age, when it comes to learning the basic chores, such as cleaning her room and making her bed, she tends to lack motivation in that particular area. The procedures that I used are given her an allowance for the week if she keeps her room cleans. Another method that I used as an effective reinforcement is let her choose where she wants to go for family nights, which we do every Friday night.

The materials used in this experiment were a calendar which showed how many times a week she cleaned her room on her own I noted this by marking "M" in green ink on the calendar to show she was motivated and did it herself and marked "U" in purple ink if she was unmotivated and I had to tell her to clean her room. Also I kept record of another trait, which was her attitude. I marked the calendar with an "A" in red ink if she had an attitude or marked "C" in blue ink if she was content when I had to tell her to clean her room.


Three weeks of data were recorded and the outcome is as follows:

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun

1st week M/C M/C M/C M/C M/C M/C U/C

2ND week M/C M/C M/C M/C M/C U/C U/C

3RD week U/A U/A U/C M/C M/C M/C U/C


In this experiment a couple of things were discovered. The idea of rewarding my child with an allowance and giving her the choice of picking where we go on family night was a good idea. The were some flaws throughout my experiment. In the first week my daughter was all for the idea and was ready to go all out to clean her room knowing she was going to get some kind of reward. She kept a steady pace and did well without my help or constant complaints about her room.

In the second week she was still new to the idea and was please with what she was getting for her work. Near the end of the week I noticed she started slacking off of her work and every now and then I had to tell her to clean her room. There was no argument about her cleaning her room or showed no attitude. Near the end of the week, she pushed herself a little harder because there was something extra that she wanted to do.

In the third and final week she was going back to the same old thing and I had to stay on her case. But when it had gotten closer to the time to go out for dinner or to time to get paid she suddenly got motivated. She tends to try to manipulate the system, which I was trying to establish. In conclusion, I realized that when you present a person with a good opportunity, to do work for some kind of reward, they are all for it. They can be one of the hardest working people you know. But I found that eventually, the idea of getting the same old rewards for the jobs you expect them to do wear off and their performance goes down. The key to success is to change the rewards, make it worth a persons while to work harder and produce good quality work in exchange for better incentives.


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