Combatting Selfishness... with a Free Printable to Help :)

 Maybe a month or two ago, I became very frustrated with the way my girls were behaving on a daily basis at home.  It felt like as a family we had unknowingly slipped into a rut of apathy, problem avoidance, and prevailing SELFISHNESS.  yuck.  My girls were always fighting... complaining that someone else wasn't doing what they wanted.... complaining that they didn't get to do something they wanted.... complaining that they had to do something they didn't want to do... on and on and on it went.   It was time to address these heart issues that some how I had allowed to take over our home!

Selfishness along with a very bad attitude was the main  problem... I determined that loving each other and obeying me without complaining were the prevailing issues.

I discipline for defiant disobedience or sinful behavior... (for more about disciplining, the way the Bible intended it to be used,  I would recommend reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart", by Tedd Tripp and "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger  Plowman )... but I felt like I needed a dual approach on this ugly matter.  So I decided to try a reward system.

I made two kinds of tickets, one for each of the issues at hand: loving each other and obeying mom and dad...  The ticket would allow them to earn points that they could redeem for sweet treats every Friday.  (They don't get a lot of sugary treats, so this was very special for them.... I also didn't want the reward to be a material item/ toy because they struggle enough with materialism as it is!!)

So I sat down with the girls and we had a talk... about the troubles we'd been having... about what the Bible says about loving each other and about obeying our parents.... and about what we were going to try to do to correct the problem and start behaving in a way that pleases God!

Basically, I explained that I would be watching for times when I saw one of them do something loving (instead of selfish) for a sibling.  I would also watch for an especially obedient and respectful attitude towards their father and me.   I was careful to explain also, that this wasn't about performing or doing contrived acts in order to earn something... rather the reward would be for a genuine display of love or obedience that flowed from the heart.


Fast forward a month or so...  and it's going pretty well.  It hasn't been magical by any means, but we are going in the right direction!  They tend to receive more obedience tickets than love tickets :(  Which to me reveals so much about their little hearts.  I know selfishness is a central aspect of immature little hearts, but I just hate it!  I want them to have genuine compassion for one another...

But we will keep working, and keep memorizing our little verses that serve as excellent reminders of how Christ wants us to act... and this does help.  

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."  Ephesians 4:32

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—  “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:1-3

What do you do to encourage heart change in your children?  ..... to combat selfishness?
I'd love to hear :)

Meanwhile, if you think it might be useful in your home, please download our tickets and give it a try!  Blessings to you as you strive to raise your little ones up in God's truth :)


****As always...File and finished product for personal use only... not for resale or profit of any kind.



  1. super cute! we are starting this too... i felt the same way with my girls. i also started having them try to work out their problems before tattle telling! so when they tattle, i say, did you ask them to stop nicely? usually the answer is no... then i have them go back and try again! i can't stand all these little cat fights!

  2. super cute! we are starting this too... i felt the same way with my girls. i also started having them try to work out their problems before tattle telling! so when they tattle, i say, did you ask them to stop nicely? usually the answer is no... then i have them go back and try again! i can't stand all these little cat fights!

  3. Yes! I do the same thing! I always encourage them to talk and work it out first... and I explain that tattling makes everyone lose... the person they're tattling on gets in trouble, it makes their relationship with their sibling strained and it doesn't please God, and mom gets frustrated and has to use discipline :( It has been fairly effective!

  4. Great post Amy! I so miss hearing your parenting wisdom on a bi-weekly basis :) I'm glad your system is working. We may have to start implementing something similar for Miss G...Miss J might not get much out of it yet :)

  5. amen girl!! This is so encouraging to a mom with 2 girls, or any 2 kids for that matter! To hear we're all going through similar struggles with our children...I finally read Ted Tripp's book last year, the one that comes after it is also very helpful "Instructing a child's Heart" :)

    much loves Amy...

  6. This is such a timely post! I think it must be the moon. We have been going through similar struggles - especially on the obedience and complaining end. I always love your printables; thanks! And I much appreciate the book recommendations; I've been scouring Amazon/the library for just the right reads. Now if I could just find an extra dose of patience on my end! (Perhaps I need my own "reward jar"! ;D)

  7. Oh I love this so much! Thank you for sharing this with all of us:)

  8. This is so sweet. We are expecting our first and I forget to train my heart for these things down the road. I picture myself forever holding a sweet newborn who just wants to be held, and a Momma (myself) having all the time in the world to hold and love that baby... but that is such a little part of parenting. I love that you discipline and love your children, hand in hand. May God bless you for what your doing for these children (all all of us, your blog followers as well)

  9. AH! I need these! I've been working on something similar, but this is so much better! Thank you!

  10. Great post. I have 3 kids. 2 boys (3 y & 19 months) and 9 yr girl. My 9 yo and 3 yo are consistently fighting and it is driving me crazy! I so have decided to a chore and behavior chart to keep them accountable. These tickets with be a great addition to the system!


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