He had bad grades, I ate his candy bar

Report card time, again. I married a man with a son in second grade so I have had 22 years of children in school. I’ve parented conscientious students, average students and ‘needs help’ students.
I’ve seen excellent, average and could be better report cards. I’ve tried spanking, lecturing and bribing.
Spankings. I tried it – once. Hated the noise and saw little change.
Lectures on “You need to do better next time” yielded promises that were forgotten.
I decided encouragement and recognition of any small effort to improve was necessary.
It took commitment, but I preferred a system with a ‘daily review of work assignments at home to earn points for a reward. The bribes – I mean rewards – were chosen by the child. I still remember our most impressive prize request and earned: a tablesize castle with miniature knights in armor, horses and weapons.
Other children chose rewards that took less time to earn” a trip to the ice cream parlor, extra family fun times and ‘earn a reward or lose a privilege.” Only had to do that with one child. The rest did not need the threat of a loss of privileges to be motivated to earn the ‘bribe.’
When they became men the childish ways were put away. Upon entering junior high, they were expected to have good study habits and to do their best. Most of them did.
However, there was one –
He decided to not do the homework in seventh-grade spelling. His grade was almost an ‘F.’ The teacher informed me the grade reflected the lack of daily homework.
I was enraged and disgusted with the child.
I had no intention of returning to checking his homework every day – that was his job. I don’t demand A’s, just a reasonable effort to do the homework and study for tests.
He had not even made a reasonable effort.
I did not want to move back to the close supervision level, but I wanted to make my point.
As a family, we save candy and snack foods as special treats.
I decided to use that to make my point. I went to the store and purchased a candy bar for each child and took it home.
“These are for your report cards. Good work,” I started handing out candy bars.
“Except – you with the low grade in spelling,” I looked at the guilty one and opened the candy bar enough to shake it out a bit.
“You did not do your homework in spelling. You do not deserve candy for THAT grade.” I grabbed a long knife, laid the candy bar on the chopping block and chopped of an eighth of the end of the candy bar.
He screamed. (The student, not the candy bar.), “That’s my candy bar.”
“Uh-uh,” I said a I popped the piece into my mouth and began chewing.
He was so angry, his hand started for my mouth.
I shook my head and chewed as I looked him in the eye then said, “Next time, do all your homework and you’ll get the whole thing.”
The next time the spelling grade went up three letter grades.
Since then, I’ve eaten the ends of two other candy bars.
I wish everything in parenting were that easy.

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