JUNE, 2013

We love our kids.  Really we do.  There are times we want to wring their necks, but we love them.  There are times we want to throw our hands up because nothing we do seems to be working, but we love them.  There are times our mouth drops open because we can't believe what they just (did) (didn't do) (said) (didn't say), but we love them.  Then there are times when a beam of light shines so brightly down upon them and you are in awe that something you did at some point in time actually sank in, and we love them so much that it hurts.

Nobody said parenting was easy.  It is, in my opinion, one of the most emotionally difficult jobs; and at times, the most physically taxing job as well (cue the scene when our infant firstborn was screaming her head off at two a.m. and Greg and I realized that we wouldn't sleep again for a minimum of 18 more years).  Fast forward thirteen years: Greg and I kiss our kids goodnight each night and realize how quickly they are filling up the bed...time is flying by.  So bittersweet.  All of the emotions involved with parenting make it difficult.  Alas, we are in it to win it, so we want to be the best we can be.  Which means we must teach....

I always laugh when, upon hearing I used to teach, a parent exclaims, "Oh, I could never be a teacher!"  Oh my!  As parents, we are the ULTIMATE teacher!  Our children watch us and often mimic us; we teach them what TO do and what NOT to do.  Whether negative or positive, we are role models by default, whether we want to be or not (even when our kids roll their eyes in disgust that we just said/did what we said/did).  Since we are their teacher, we must remember that the mistakes our kids make are lessons.  We are their teacher while they are young so that we can pick them up, dust them off, kiss their sweet faces and let them know what not to do (or to do) next time.  We teach our children to one day become responsible adults.  It is certainly not easy.  It is certainly not glamorous.  It is, though, most certainly rewarding, fulfilling, and a true gift.

The Beck Family


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We have taken the username/password restriction off our website in order to download the Parent's Guide.  You can simply go to our website,  www.fisher-kids.com, click on Resources for Families, then click on Parent's Guide.  You can download it directly! 

But to save you further hassle, here it is!

show your children how much you love them!  
It's very important to let our kids know that they are safe, loved, and important to the family.  Our days are controlled by the clock; with school, homework, practices, rehearsals, and then the daily deeds around the house, we can lose sight of how fleeting our time with our children truly is.  We have to be sure that our children know we love them and appreciate them as part of our family team.  Love notes to your kids is a great way to remind them (especially for teens who would probably prefer the note versus the outward show of affection).  We put mailboxes outside our kids rooms and often leave them little notes.  We actually just added this to the chore bucket: write a mailbox note to your siblings.  It will be quite entertaining to see what they appreciate about each other! 


"What if my child completes all the paid-for responsibilities, but not the daily deeds to help out the family?"

This is a great question and one that often baffles parents, including us.  Let's start by taking a look at the evolution of personal work ethic.  When we are born, we are totally dependent on others for EVERYTHING except the involuntary breaths we take.  Sometime between birth and 18 our work ethic develops.  Generalizing this timeframe is important: think about people you know who have a strong work ethic and those you know who have a virtually nonexistent one.  People advance and learn at different rates.  They might have different backgrounds, different lifestyles, different incomes, parents who parented very differently, different IQs, etc.  Whether it is nature or nurture or a combination of both that makes one person a diligent worker and another a total slacker, with friends in between, is totally up for debate, and I am certainly not the expert.  But since we don't have the definitive answer, let's err on the side of nurture.

The other thing we need to remove from the discussion is your family's economic status.  Whether your discretionary budget is limited or extravagant is irrelevant.  Maybe think of it this way: it's your money not your kids' money!  So in order to create a desire to work (or at least a respect for the importance of work), we need to remove family economics from the discussion.  Our kids will start from a balance of $0.00.

Starting with a budget of $0.00 does not include the basics that we as parents provide for our children.  I teach a Sunday School class to 4-6 graders and we recently asked them to list their true needs (not their wants).  The list was short: food, water, clothing and shelter.  Then we asked them if, even with this short list, do we have above and beyond each of those needs as well?  They all agreed we do.  I think this is a great discussion to have as a family (great dinner topic as we sit down to a plate full of healthy food at night).  It even warrants going room to room to see all that we have above and beyond food, water, shelter and clothing.  Since dialogue is key to any family change, then this is a great place to start as you either begin using our responsibility station, make a change to your routine with the responsibility station, or as you just get back to the routine after falling off for a bit.  It's important for our children to realize that the basics are provided for them and the above and beyond are to be set as a goal.  For families who tend to buy whatever their children's hearts desire, this will ease the transition to buying them the basics plus gifts for special occasions.

Now, this certainly doesn't mean we don't give our children treats, birthday or holiday gifts, etc.  What it does mean is that we have to have a way for them to correlate work with gain, whether it be intrinsic or extrinsic gain.  Not giving the children everything they want is often very difficult for many parents (or grandparents).  But if there is no dangling fruit they can reach for, why would they complete their responsibilities?  Of course there are children who simply want to please.  Their brains are wired to literally feel better when they have pleased.  But what about the child who doesn't react the same way to those cues?  We have to teach them to strive for something.  Again, this can be intrinsic (good grades, helping out the family, helping a friend, etc) or extrinsic (saving for a toy, a car, college, etc), but the means is the same to each end.  So the children start with a budget of $0.00 and begin to save for a goal.  Use their "spend it" bag as a short-term savings as they work towards their goal.

How do you teach the consequences of behavior, particularly the one we mentioned at the beginning of this diatribe?  For younger children, we developed the consequence spinner.  This spinner is perfect for modifying a younger child's behavior.  This can be used for positive consequences, not just negative.  For older kids, it might be something as easy as you showing them what it's like if YOU didn't follow through with your family deeds.  Not too long ago we had an issue with one of our children not following through with the family deeds, so I asked her if she would be okay with me "just not making dinner for the family." (In hindsight, probably not my best argument since her three favorite meals are pizza, cheeseburgers, and any monosaccharide).  Or what if Greg or I "just didn't do the laundry for the family."  Or what if we "just didn't go grocery shopping for the family."  Before they have full frontal lobe capacity, our children tend to think egotistically.  Not narcissistically, but just thinking of themselves.  Once we widen their scope of influence, they will at least begin to understand the importance of helping out the family.  Keep in mind this is a marathon not a sprint.  This could take a while, but once they realize that in order to achieve, they help out the team, it will eventually sink in.

covering topics relevant to raising kids these days! 

chore charts for kids, fisherkids  
So far, we have covered several topics relevant to using our products.  Hopefully, these will give you yet one more way to stay motivated, get tips and advice, and answer any questions you might have.  If there is anything you would like us to cover, please email us! You can check out our past couple of video blogs on our YouTube channel. 
Topics coming up: personalized weekly calendar, dinner spinner, teaching your child to give, save, and spend. 

here are a few products to help out! 

We love Table Topics!  We keep the Kids To Go in our car for carpool (opens up conversation; sound familiar: "How was your day?" "Good.").  Road trip edition is great for the Spring Break trip to Anytown, USA, and for your Staycation, try our Boredom Spinner!   

chore stick picture tags
If your children either have difficulty reading or are still learning to read, the chore stick picture tags are perfect for giving your child more autonomy and ownership for their responsibility station.  Instead of bringing the chore stick to you and asking you to read it, they can look at the picture (the word is also printed for word/picture association) and complete the chore all by herself/himself.

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First of all, thank you for creating such a wonderful product!  We have done the Four Can system in our house, but is has been difficult when we are in the store and our money is at home because the cans are not portable.  We have also struggled with how to pay our kids without them thinking they are simply entitled to it, while at the same time establishing tasks they must do simply because they are part of our family.  Your system solves both of these problems!"