Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Look out because...
I'm indeed on a warpath. Hopefully, after reading this, you will be, too.
So, I am relaxing at Books A Million with my man last night, and I picked up a copy of a popular parenting magazine. I was admiring all the coolest gadgets and recipes, when I came across an article about how to get kids to participate in housework more often. My interest is peaked. I mean, what parent wouldn't be interested in the magic bullet that will stop murmuring and complaining and increase participation in the mundane torture of housework?
Then, I saw it.
The author, (well meaning, I'm sure), said that if you're having a hard time getting your child to make his bed in the morning, tell him, "Let's cover up the bed with your blanket so it won't get lonely while we're away today!" ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?
I, very loudly, said, "Seriously? ARE YOU SERIOUS?"
So, you're telling me that in order to get my child to make her bed, I must lie to her and TRICK her into doing her part in our family? Um, no. Miss Article Writer, you don't know me!
Now, I admit...my personality lends itself to be a bulldozer. (gasp!) I get that. I tend to be a "just do it and don't ask me why" kind of mom. I have learned that barking orders doesn't get results, and it causes questions and frustration on Abi's part. It's not fair to tell her to do something without explaining why. But dadgumit, I will NOT tell my children to make the bed, (or any other chore) for ficticious reasons, just to get more productivity out of them!
In our family, we don't pay for household chores. Rod and I will not give a single penny for housework. At all. Why? Well, the way I see it, Rod and I make the house payment. We do the maintenance. We provide the food, electricity, cable, Internet, and other miscellaneous luxuries. Our kids get to enjoy the fruit of our hard work by literally having a roof over their heads and food on our table. We are a family. A f-a-m-i-l-y. We are a team. We work together. It's just a given that we each do our part. We work hard to instill in Abi that our family unit is something we are proud of. Out of that love and commitment, we are responsible to each other.
Back to the article.
The train of thought that the author of the article was taking is EXACTLY why I started this blog. The way I see it, my generation has fallen prey to a line of thinking that is more concerned about making a child angry and somehow disrupting their psyche than teaching them the merit and honor of doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do. By going around through the back door, we are teaching kids that authority doesn't matter, and that they only need to do tasks that have a reasoning behind it that they deem acceptable.
We do pay Abi. But it's for attitude. We had much rather reward her for choosing a good attitude than for making her flipping bed or cleaning her bathroom. But, that's a whole other blog for another day.
So, when your little darling asks why they have to make the bed or pick up trash that's not theirs, look them straight in the eye, smile, and say, "Because you're a part of this family. Isn't that an awesome reason?"
Sooner or later, they'll understand that THAT is the only reason they need.