Creating a Contingency Contract for Your Child
It's always a good idea for two parties to get an agreement in writing, and that holds true with parents and children too. It is very effective to write down what you expect of your child and what the consequences will be if the child does or does not go with the program. These are called contingency contracts or behavioral contracts, and they provide a good record of what has been agreed to. Once your children have seen it in writing, it's hard for them to deny that they understood it. These contracts provide children with early lessons in contractual agreements and the whole concept of what it means to sign a document and agree to its stipulations.
Creating a contract is also good because it is a positive problem-solving communication. It is an active two-party negotiation in which both sides are interested. This can be used with any child old enough to read and understand what is included in the contract.
Without written agreements, discussions often become forgotten, especially when it is to someone's benefit to do so. Other benefits of such agreements:
Here is an example of a behavioral contract, which you may download by clicking here. (Adobe Acrobat is required).