The Wheel of Consequences

Move over Vanna, there’s a new wheel in town.  We’re all familiar with spinners used in board games (and game shows like Wheel of Fortune) but who would have thought they could be useful in parenting as well?  When two of her kids began fighting and arguing excessively, Julie Butler figured out how to put a simple board game spinner to work and, in so doing, put an end to her kids’ battles overnight.  She has since packaged her discovery into a Windows-based software package and is making it available over the internet.

The Better Behavior Wheel is a simple-enough concept:  You have a wheel with various consequences listed and when a child misbehaves, they spin the wheel and must accept whatever punishment the wheel dispenses.  Butler says that involving the kids in selecting the consequences makes them more accepting of the penalty — and less likely to risk incurring it.  Using the wheel as a non-sentient intermediary also removes the parents from the role of the bad guy; it’s the wheel — unemotional and eminently fair — that dispenses justice, not those mean old parents..

If you can get past the late-80s web design, it sounds like an interesting and useful idea.  I’m not convinced it will solve all your parenting problems overnight and, clearly, won’t work on younger kids, but I can see it might work for some children.  I have to wonder, though, if kids — having input about the consequences — wouldn’t figure out that they could suggest ominous-sounding punishments that were actually okay.  I don’t think they could get away with “have to eat a pint of chocolate ice cream every night for a week” but “the most dreaded consequence of all: Hug and make up!” sounds to me like someone rigged the system right from the git-go.

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