Lots of people ask me why I include Sad Tokens in my reward systems and its a tough question to answer. Its a topic which really needs a two way conversation in order to answer thoroughly and most of my communication is in written form. Sad Tokens throw up more and more questions but Im pretty sure I considered (and researched) most of them before I chose to implement them. The use of Sad Tokens has so very many facets and if used correctly can yield such insight and results. But again be reminded that this system was designed soley with my children in mind so there is no preaching going on here just my honest opinion and thought process.
Everyday has its ups and downs, its bad and good, its happy and sad. Whether your a grown up or a child, to me these are many of the ways we can experience the world. So while I absolutely agree that we should promote the stuffing out of the positives, to ignore the negatives is detrimental perhaps even dangerous. The downs, the bad and the sad simply do exist and while its not where anyone wants to be, these circumstances or situations need to be recognised so that we can form skills to overcome them.
Thinking as an adult, if I am feeling sad or down in the dumps, I can let those around me know I feel like that then we can find out what made me feel that way and how we can take a different approach next time. If I feel something bad has happened I can explore what that was and take steps to change it. Even just recognising these feelings, being able to label them and discuss them is something I very much believe should be encouraged in my children.
Sad Tokens were never about punisment or bad children, they are about realism and balance, about reilience and consequence. I guess the biggest factor the Sad Tokens add is acknowledgement. Its ok to feel bad, sad or any other ‘negative’ way – its how we deal with it that is important. Life is a balance and while shiny sticker stars can help celebrate and display achievements, Sad Tokens can highlight challenges and insight.
As I mentioned above, the ways in which Sad Tokens can be implemented are many and varied, and I do offer caoching and consultations for those who are unsure or feel they need guidance. Some parents simply use them to encourage children to talk about what kind of a day they feel they have had. Or use them to perhaps to find out how a child feels about a certain situation. Other parents use Sad Tokens to monitor moods and patterns of behaviour. Sad Tokens can be used to highlight and prove to a child that they have the ability overcome difficulties and challenges.
Whichever manner the Sad Tokens are used, to me they are just as important as their counterpart and when used in a healthy, loving and considered way they can help your child ultimately feel Happy.