Using Tickets to Eliminate Misbehavior

A mom wonders how to recharge the stalled Ticket system to eliminate her children's misbehaviors.

Dear Susan,

After reading your articles, I've started Tickets in our home.  Things have gotten better but now my children (7 and 4) seem to misbehave until there is just one ticket left.  Then they're little angels.  I feel like we are so close to eleminating the misbehaviors but can't quite cross that last hurdle.  What can I do?

So Close in Sandy Springs

Dear So Close,

Congratulations to you for staying the course long enough for the misbehaviors to be reduced.  You're right, this is not a complete victory as the misbehaviors need to be eliminated*.  

I think I understand the problem.  

For the purposes of my answer, I'm going to assume you started Tickets with 3 tickets per day.  

Now that the children have changed enough to have one ticket by bedtime, it's time to change the program a little. Starting tomorrow, reduce the tickets from 3 per day to 5 per week.  This still allows a margin of error, albeit a smaller one. Once the children successfully have at least one ticket at the end of each week, change the program again to 3 tickets per week.  When the children have one ticket at the end of the week, you can eliminate the program unless there is a new misbehavior that pops up.

For a complete explanation of Tickets, pick up a copy of John Rosemond's The Well Behaved Child or read my earlier post, ."

*elimination does not mean perfection.  It is appropriate to always allow a margin of error.  We all make mistakes and reasonably well-behaved children will make mistakes, too.    

Good luck and let me know how it goes!


Master Leadership Parenting Coach



If you have a question you want answered, e-mail susan@parentcoachatlanta and you may be published!

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Nancy Keenan September 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM
For our 5 and 8 year old kids we give points for good behavior. When they do good things or chores they earn points and the points equate to money. 1pt=1 penny. When they get 500pts they get a 5 dollar bill to spend however they wish. If they have bad behavior they dont get points that day. It has worked for months. Sometimes highlighting good behavior in young kids is much more effective than punishment.
Susan Eppley September 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Nancy, I'm glad that system works for you. I'm not surprised when parents share these kinds of stories with me because some reasonably well-behaved children will respond to getting money for behaving well. Parents typically come to me because their children are NOT well-behaved and, in fact, are behaving quite badly! In these cases, rewards do not work. Well, they do work but only in the short-term. My clients want a system that creates permanent change and tickets work!


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