The relationship between my two boys, aged 9 and 6, is truly one of Love and Hate. When they get along, they play incredibly well together and are absolute angels. When they don’t get along, they are terrors with yelling, screaming, fighting and lots of tears. They also have an incredible ability to go from being angels to terrors within a matter of minutes and then back again.

Oftentimes the cause is that one feels disadvantaged by the other or more simply because the other is getting a benefit or favour. While this is difficult and hard to manage at times, it can be used to my advantage at times.

I have tried various different ways to get the boys to do their jobs/chores without bickering of having to nag. Especially in the mornings, while getting ready for school and work, it appears brushing of teeth and making of beds gets constantly overlooked.

I recently initiated a points system whereby the boys got a point for each task that they completed successfully in the morning. And for every job that they missed or neglected, the other child would get a point instead. This served as an incredible incentive as the competitiveness between the two boys came out in full force. The jobs would be done without a hitch to the point where they would look for other jobs to do to help out.

The incentive was that whoever got above a certain threshold of points by the end of the day would get a treat – ranging from a small chocolate, or getting to pick the board game to play or merely staying up an extra 15 minutes after bed time. Having a threshold, rather that a winner, meant that on certain days both boys would get the treat or on some days neither would. The strategy seems to be currently working but as I have found with all incentive programs they only last for so long…..