Would You Like Cream with That?

Photo by Carolyn Coles

Here’s an idea.

I often receive e-mail from readers who are anxious to find a solution to the problem of children leaving items lying around the house. One mother told me that she faithfully collects up multiple offenders (as in items left out repeatedly–not as in her offspring) and sells them in a garage sale. Swift.

Another mother explained that she sets up shop and allows the children to buy the misplaced items after a certain amount of time. Thrifty.

Yet another woman explained in a very elaborate note that she charges the children according to a graduated pay scale (based on the son or daughter’s age and ability) and she uses the money to treat herself to coffee. Industrious.

I look back on my own childhood and I recognize that I would have been one of these offenders who could have sponsored my mother’s weekly Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte, but I don’t recall money being part of the equation. Fear of God and fear for my life were occassionally part of the solution, but not money.

I’m thinking tonight about whether or not monetary punishments are effective.

And I’m suddenly craving coffee.

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