Rosie and Peter were juggling full-time careers and bringing up three children. They had been increasingly concerned about tempers fraying and short fuses as a major negative effect on their family. They would start every day with a good intention to be loving, but never seemed to have the time to show their loved ones a warm kindness. A week would go past without anyone feeling especially treated or taken notice of.

They asked me what they could do to remember to do something loving on a daily basis. I gave them my hot idea as explained in my book- Fight-free Families (Finch, 2001). It’s a reward strategy to warm the heart of anyone parents, children and also love partners - the Sweet Treats Jar!

Here’s what you need to do:

1 Find a large glass jar.

2 Give everyone large squares of coloured paper a dif¬ferent colour for each participant/family member.

3 Each person makes a list of all the rewarding or positive things they would like to do or have.

4 Each person cuts out small squares of coloured paper and writes one item from their list per square.

5 The paper is then rolled up to look as though it's a col¬oured sweet and put in the jar. Everybody mixes their colours in the jar so it looks enticingly like a jar of sweets.

6 Each day, one person chooses a coloured sweet (any colour except their own), reads the treat and puts it back in the jar. They then do their utmost to make sure that it actually comes true for that person.

7 Participants are not to ask who gave them a Sweet Treat or what it was. The jar works best if the element of mystery is maintained. This way a halo effect spreads over the family because you never know who has given you a special treat, so you might as well be nice to everyone!

After three months, Rosie and Peter came in to report on the family’s progress. They were absolutely delighted. They said that everybody had enjoyed guessing what their Sweet Treat had been at the end of the day. The only challenge was in remembering to line everyone up in the morning to choose a treat from the jar. Some mornings the stress of rushing to get everybody out of the door just got in the way – a reality of life I guess.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Janet Hall is a psychologist, hypnotherapist, sex therapist, author, professional speaker, trainer, and media consultant. Jan consults regularly with print media and is a frequent guest on talk-back radio and current affairs shows.

Jan was a regular for two years on the Sex Life television program in Australia. Her user-friendly strategies offer practical solutions to sexual and relationship issues so that you can have the love and the sensational sex that you deserve. Jan has a unique ability to encourage people to clarify their situation and solve their own problems with both heart (trusting intuition and feelings) and head (with logical analysis and rational prioritization). She believes that people deserve to feel empowered and allow themselves to be the best they can for the good of all. Jan has a happy knack of making psychology user friendly.

Dr Janet Hall