It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Gain Compliance Through Discards

GAIN COMPLIANCE THROUGH DISCARDS: It’s a well-known fact that some adults have more success with difficult and defiant youngsters than others. One reason for the difference can be a youngster’s perception and belief adults are being reasonable, fair and logical in their expectations. One easy way to accomplish this with tasks is to offer a discard for satisfactory compliance. It worked great in our home with our oldest child, our son.

Here’s how it worked. In that period of time between coming home from school and supper, I would give him five chores to do. Before he had a chance to think much about resisting, I would say, “If you can finish three of these by 5:30pm, you can give two of them back to me.” As I recall, he always went for the deal. He relished giving unfinished chores BACK to me.

The strategy worked well, especially since I never told him I only wanted him to do THREE chores to start with.

This three of five approach works even better with cards showing the chores. For instance, “Take out the trash” might be a digital picture of the trash can; “Feed the dog” might be a picture of the dog’s bowl. The idea is to reduce verbal instruction and thereby reduce issues of equally verbal backlash. Laminate the cards, or cover them with wide tape so they can be used over and over.

In the example given, the youngster passes back two chores undone. What if they were given six, but the requirement was only to do three in the time specified? In this instance, the youngster gives back half of the chores in return for doing the remaining half within the time specified. Can you see how this makes chore time seem more reasonable, logical and fair?

Once this approach gets rolling, you won’t even need to give the chores to the youngster; simply leave them in an envelope with the instructions.

It also helps to mix the chores so they aren’t the same ones every time.

James D. Sutton, EdD, CSP

Consulting Psychologist/Certified Speaking Professional
PO Box 672, Pleasanton, TX 78064
(800) 659-6628 Email:


February 4, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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