or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Doing for your kids
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Doing for your kids - Page 2

post #21 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyofshmoo
I also don't really beleive in grumbling or complaining because I have to do stuff. My MIL does that all the time- does stuff and complains about it. It never seems to motivate DH or BIL to help her. IMO complaining is a passive-aggressive punishment, not to mention annoying.
.
I agree. I'd rather model that I am happy to help her! Someone once said....Don't worry so much that your children are not listening to you....worry that they are always watching you! If I grumble about helping her, she will likely be stingy with her help as well.

That is not to say I never grumble or complain....I am certainly human and easily exasperated....but I am personally uncomfortable with this as a parenting strategy.
post #22 of 76
I don't get involved in power struggles with my kids, period. Asking a child to do something, or telling them, and then insisting if they refuse is a power struggle. And they will usually win.

I don't want my kids to do something just because I tell them to. I'm not talking about safety issues here, like running in the street or taking off their seatbelts. My 16mo has no concept of why her toys should be picked up. Is that really something she needs to know at this age? It only takes me a few minutes to clean up her toys. Usually she'll start doing it with me. My 3yo is starting to understand that if he doesn't pick up his toys, he won't know exactly where they are when he wants to play with them if he isn't the one to put them away and if they are all over the place he has a harder time finding what he wants. Eventually he'll understand that it takes me longer to get dessert if I'm responsible for clearing the table alone the way that my 7yo does. It is definitely trickier for me with my 3yo because my 7yo has always done pretty much what I ask of him. My 3yo refuses about half the time, but he does more and more all the time. A year ago he refused almost all the time.

I fail to see what is really gained by expecting kids to do what you ask of them just because you ask. I don't think that really teaches them a sense of responsibility. If a 3yo cannot understand the concept of cleaning up after himself so that I don't have to, to make my life easier, making him do it isn't going to teach him that. It will just teach him that he has to do it or I'll get mad. Really, there isn't anything that I could ask him to do that I couldn't do in much less time, especially if you consider the amount of time and energy it would take for me to force him or manipulate him into doing it. I see this almost every night in my backyard. All of the kids go in at about 7:00. The parents are in the yards putting away toys and usually yelling at their kids to help them clean up. There is foot stomping, yelling, and sometimes tears. I'm usually the first one done because I'm not arguing with my brood about getting it done.

If my 7yo leaves his bike on the basketball court, I do not get it for him. He understands that this is his responsibility. I will remind him if I see it out there, the same way my neighbor might knock on my door to tell me that I left my lights on. If my 3yo leaves his bike out there, I'm not going to expect that he can understand the consequences of leaving it out there all night.

That got long, but I think I got my point across. It just doesn't make sense to me to fight with kids about chores. I see that they have progressed on their own. I don't believe in enforcing lessons on them that they are not capable of understanding.
post #23 of 76
I don't 'fight' with my children, nor do I get into power struggles over cleaning. My 2.5 yo is not expected to clean up. She will sometimes help, but usually doesn't. The 5 and 7 yo understand that cleaning their toys is THEIR job and NOT mine. If I were to pick up their toys, I would literally be doing so all day long. This wouldn't benefit them in the long run and definitely would leave me frustrated and upset. Sometimes my 5 yo will complain that her little sister doesn't help and 'it's not fair' I remind her that she didn't clean at two either. I'll suggest they take her with them and let her help, meaning they hand her something and tell her where to put it. Over time this will teach her how to clean and she will help as she grows and begins to understand the importance of not living in a dump. Allowing them to trash the house will only result in my dh being upset and arguments. Totally not worth it for any of us. I watched my MIL and SIL clean up after my neices and nephew for years, well into the teen years. All they did was complain about it.
post #24 of 76
When I ask her to do something and there would be no natural consequence (like put away your toys), I just give her a "schedule".

Me: Please, put away your toys before we eat dinner. (in an hour)
Dd: Mmmm.

later...

Me: time to eat!
dd arrives, her plate is not on the table...
dd: where's my meal?
Me: where are your toys? Go put them away and I'll reheat your meal.

I don't repeat myself, I don't ask her multiple times. This doesn't always work, but most of the time, a version of that can.

This is with my 6 1/2 yo btw.

edited to add that I ask a moderate amount of work, things that can be done in a few minutes: put away a few toys, put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket. If there are too many things to clean, I help her, because I would like to be helped if I had a big job to do.
post #25 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra
I fail to see what is really gained by expecting kids to do what you ask of them just because you ask. I don't think that really teaches them a sense of responsibility.
I think it teaches kids that they have a place in the family and a way to contribute. I also think it establishes habits, which make life easier in the long run. I don't think kids have to understand why their work helps. I think just knowing that they have jobs to do is enough at that age.

Namaste!
post #26 of 76
Quote:
I think it teaches kids that they have a place in the family and a way to contribute. I also think it establishes habits, which make life easier in the long run. I don't think kids have to understand why their work helps. I think just knowing that they have jobs to do is enough at that age.

Namaste!
I see your point, but I disagree. I don't think most 2 or 3yo are really capable of understanding that and I don't think that insisting or forcing a child to complete a certain task does anything to reinforce that understanding. You might be telling them that they are doing it for these reasons, but what they hear is that they are doing it because you told them to. If they really had an understanding of the concept of teamwork, you wouldn't have to tell them to clean up their rooms or put their dishes in the sink or even ask.

I also don't believe that habits really help much in the long run. So my son is in the habit of putting his plate in the sink when he has finished eating because I've told him to a hundred times. How does that help him understand that he must also put his clothes in the hamper when they are dirty or that he needs to keep his things tidy when he spends the night with a friend? I don't think that you can teach understanding through habit, but you can teach habit through understanding.
post #27 of 76
Well, I don't see anything wrong about expecting a child to do something because you ask them to. I 'ask' them to do many things throughout the day just as they may ask me to do something or DH might 'ask'. If it's really optional, then I'll really ask them "Would you help me unload the groceries?' but if I expect help, I'll tell them "Come on and help me with the groceries." I also leave lists for my 12 an 15 year olds to do things when I'm going to be out for the evening since they live here for free and I need help!

Ya know, I just went away with 18 junior high teens and I could SO tell the kids who have chores to do at home and those who are not expected to do stuff unless they want. I know these families personally and it really hit home that telling the kids to do things is really OK and TEACHES them to be responsible. The worst offender was one kid who's mom has told me numerous times that she doesn't feel it's right to give the kids chores but that they will learn what needs to be done by watching and when they're ready, they'll do it. This girl is 13 years old and was SO lazy ----- on a work weekend no less! We specifically went to this camp to work at setting things up for the summer - there was no cost to the kids and they even got a free t-shirt - but this girl just complained "It's too heavy." "I can't do that because I had back surgery last year." etc. MAN, did that drive me nuts and I have to say, I DID tell her what to do and made sure she did it. LOL! There was no way she was along for a free ride and I feel the same way with the kids. I don't WANT to do the dishes but I do them because they need to get done and it makes the place look nice but if I didn't do them, I'm sure DH would have something to say about it. On the otherhand, my girls don't always do the dishes on their own so I have no quams telling them to do it if I need to snuggle with a sick child or get to work. They live here too and have to work to stay. :LOL

Ann
post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
I think it's interesting how "asking" and "telling" a child to do something are seen as pretty much interchangeable in the posts above, when speaking to a child... but when speaking to an adult, they're totally different things. It seems that when you say "ask", you mean "tell".

I ask my child to do things, and she has a right to say "no". The thing is, she rarely does. She might ask if it's okay to wait until she finishes watching a show or something, or if she's not feeling well she'll mention that, but her not helping out when asked just isn't a big issue.... and I, of course, think that's because she *can* say no. It's been like this since she was a toddler. There's no power struggle there. I was always willing to do things for her, like carry her or put her shoes on, but at some point she said she wanted to do them herself and did.

Dar


Here's the thing- if there's a mess, we generally clean it up together. If I spill my tea, my son will often grab a dishtowel and help me clean it up. He doesn't say to me, "I didn't make that mess, so I'm not cleaning it." or "You're 30, you should be responsible for cleaning up your own mess." He just helps me.

And I help him. I explain why we need to clean something, ask for help, and I get it. Or he tells me he's still playing with something, or wants to do it together later. That's generally ok. If it's not, in the case of food product, I explain why and we clean it up.

No biggie.
Kaly
post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra
I also don't believe that habits really help much in the long run. So my son is in the habit of putting his plate in the sink when he has finished eating because I've told him to a hundred times. How does that help him understand that he must also put his clothes in the hamper when they are dirty or that he needs to keep his things tidy when he spends the night with a friend? I don't think that you can teach understanding through habit, but you can teach habit through understanding.
: I will say, however, that I think that we, as adults, do lots of things out of habit (like why did I just eat those chocolate chip cookes just now when I wasn't really hungry? ), but if the understanding of why we do things isn't there, they are just habits. To this day, my DH just doesn't "see" things that need doing like I do. Well, I take that back -- he has gotten better over the years. But he comes from a home where Mom did just about everything and wouldn't even let her family members help (and I don't hear anyone on this thread suggesting that!). There was never much understanding being taught, other than this is how I do it and if I want it done right, I might as well do it myself.

So I guess what I am saying is that for me, I think there should be a balance between doing the action and understanding a greater context for how we act as a family, what is important to us, etc. I am personally trying to get out of the place that it has to be done my way because I am the adult and be more inclusive about how "we" do things as a family. And hopefully that will help the kids see how we each have a responsibility to the family running smoothly and functioning well, and happy! Course, this requires a lot more talking than I am generally fond of doing while I am trying to get something done, but that is another issue.
post #30 of 76
Quote:
I will say, however, that I think that we, as adults, do lots of things out of habit (like why did I just eat those chocolate chip cookes just now when I wasn't really hungry? ), but if the understanding of why we do things isn't there, they are just habits.
Totally! Which is what I want to avoid with my kids. I want them to think about what they do and why they do it. I don't want them to feel resentful about cleaning their room or doing their homework or anything else that they do. They don't have to like it, I don't like cleaning the kitchen, but I remember brooding while I did those things as a child and that isn't what I want for my kids.
post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mamame
If it's really optional
The thing is, isn't it all really optional? I mean, there might be consequences, but there is still choice, iykwim?

I guess I just feel that the whole, "I told you to do it, and I expect you to do it" attitude leads to a whole lot of power struggle.

Kaly
post #32 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by zipperump-a-zoomum

I guess I just feel that the whole, "I told you to do it, and I expect you to do it" attitude leads to a whole lot of power struggle.

Kaly

Well not for us in the about 8 years I have been doing this with my three.

And I do tell them that "I don't like it" when they don't sdo something I have told them to do. But NO other consequence.

I don't say those words in some overwhelming, mad or sad voice. It's matter a fact. But I have no problem with them feeling guilty for failing to live up to their responsbilities.
That is what I want. I want them to feel badly if they fail to live up to the things that they owe to others. That is what a conscience is all about.

And as time has moved on, I have fairly little need to say this. I dont' put huge responsibilites on my dd's. But they (for the most part) live up to those responsibilites because I have projected a "this is what I expect of you" attitude.
post #33 of 76
I realize that I might have given the impression that I never slip up or get frustrated. Yes, after I trip over my son's shoes lying in the doorway for the fifth time in as many days I might get irritated and insist that he pick up his shoes right now. I falter. I wasn't raised this way, my mom relied heavily on guilt trips and yelling and my dad would get pissed and do everything himself in a huff or clean our rooms and take our toys away, so I do fall back on what I know sometimes. I don't beat myself up over it, though, and I apologize when I step out of line.

I also don't want to give the impression that I just ask my kids to do something once and if they don't do it, I do it for them and walk around waiting on them hand and foot. I have three kids. No one gets waited on much in my house. As my 7yo gets older he seems to understand more and more that the quickest way to get something done is to do it yourself. I don't punish him by making him wait, but the reality is that he has to most of the time.

What I'm talking about in this thread are my ideals. I fully admit that it doesn't always play out the way I would like. I'm much closer now than I was five years ago, though.
post #34 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
I I was always willing to do things for her, like carry her or put her shoes on, but at some point she said she wanted to do them herself and did.

Dar
I struggle with this now that I have a newborn.
post #35 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mothra
I see your point, but I disagree. I don't think most 2 or 3yo are really capable of understanding that and I don't think that insisting or forcing a child to complete a certain task does anything to reinforce that understanding. You might be telling them that they are doing it for these reasons, but what they hear is that they are doing it because you told them to. If they really had an understanding of the concept of teamwork, you wouldn't have to tell them to clean up their rooms or put their dishes in the sink or even ask.

I also don't believe that habits really help much in the long run. So my son is in the habit of putting his plate in the sink when he has finished eating because I've told him to a hundred times. How does that help him understand that he must also put his clothes in the hamper when they are dirty or that he needs to keep his things tidy when he spends the night with a friend? I don't think that you can teach understanding through habit, but you can teach habit through understanding.
Yes, I guess we really do disagree. Maybe it depends on the child, but my two kids do seem to have an understanding of helping out and that their work is a help to me (and a benefit to them). I draw clear connections for them: "Because you helped me clean up the toys, we have time to read a book before I make lunch!" But like I said before, I don't think the understanding of why their work helps is as important as developing the habit of helping. I didn't mean specific habits, such as putting dishes in the sink. I meant the habit of helping, the expectation that he or she will be called upon to keep the family running smoothly. IMO, not expecting your kids to be of help to the family could set up the road for a very selfish, self-centered kid. Not in every case, of course, but enough cases that I have witnessed that I am not taking the chance with my kids. And like someone else mentioned, I want my kds to be good partners when they grow up and get married/form LTR. I want my kids to carry their weight in the relationship, and I believe that is something that can be taught.

Namaste!

Ps. There has been a lot of talk about "forcing" kids to do stuff. As we all know, it's almost impossible to force a child to do something, and when my kids are resistant (which happens occasionally), I don't make a big deal of it. But the fact that the expectation has been set that they will pitch in to help goes, IMO, a long way toward curbing resistance.
post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44
That is what I want. I want them to feel badly if they fail to live up to the things that they owe to others. That is what a conscience is all about.
Conscience: Noun: an awareness of right and wrong, with a compulsion to do right.

Shame: noun: A painful feeling of guilt for improper behaviour etc.

I'm thinking this falls more into shame than conscience. I want my kids to help around the house because they feel like they are part of our family team- not because the team leader is going to let them know they are disappointments or make them feel like crap if they don't. It feels good to help out around the house. I like that they are self motivated to do so.
post #37 of 76
I think we all want to foster the habit of helping! We just have different approaches about how to reach that goal. But developing a helpful attitude in dd is definitely important to me. And, she is in fact a very helpful child. And, as a bonus, she is *always* helping because she wants to be helpful (self-motivated), rather than because I require it.
post #38 of 76
I just say, "time to pick up the blocks" and start picking up the blocks. My dd usually helps without being asked or told. She occasionally is caught up in something else and doesn't. No big deal - it doesn't take long to put away blocks. If I make a mess, and start cleaning it up, she also helps.

I think kids learn a lot naturally by being part of a family. If dh and I always help each other clean up (we do) and we always help her clean up (we do) she assumes it's the thing to do to help us clean up (and she does). I truly don't think kids have to be given consequences to learn this.
post #39 of 76
When my children were tiny, We always expected they needed help picking up their toys, so we helped. We still help, and we don't get into power struggles about it. Sometimes i walk in the kids rooms and want to cringe. I will sometimes just pick up what is making me cringe without messing with private stuff, papers etc. I might make the beds, too. Unmade beds don't bother them, but it does bother me. Sometimes I will walk by a messy room and just close the door. Sometimes I will simply tell them it's obvious they can't tell dirty clothes from clean clothes and go in there and sort it. If it's really a mess, dh or i will go in and lend a quick hand. Sometimes, too, i walk by and the beds are made and it's not cringe-worthy.

I never argued with kids overs getting dressed , and I probably dressed my kids far past the age they could easily dress themselves---which they often did. Of course, I did have one who was kinda cranky in the morning and liked me to put on his shirt when i woke him. I'd then put his boxers, socks and pants on his bed and he'd finish. I'm sure some might cringe at a mother putting on the t- shirt of an 8 yr old, but it made him happy and it got our day off to a non-cranky start. Now he's older and hasn't asked me to help him get dressed in years. :LOL In fact, i can't remember the last time I helped anyone put anything on.

But I don't have any problem saying 'Come get these coats, shoes, backpacks, toys etc out of the kitchen right now. Every one of you has something in the kitchen that belongs in the cubbies" . That just doesn't upset me to say that, and none of the kids seem perturbed by it, either. Maybe they all don't come running breathlessly to clear it out, but they do come. If a child or two has a lot to carry, I will help him/her. Or I will ask a sib to lend a hand depending on what I am doing. I am not doing guilt or shame, I'm simply saying that there is a pile of stuff in the kitchen that does not belong there and I suppose my tone does indicate annoyance, which maybe makes them come quicker. : But I am not going to hide the factthat it's frustrating to walk into a kitchen to cook and not be able to see the cutting board for the stuff. I might say to the younger ones "If you leave this here, it could get something spilled on it and be runied". Or "If your shoes are in your cubby, you won't have to look for them later". No humilation, just facts.

Sometimes, too, I will tell my oldest that I'll pay him $10 to mow the lawn. He's never once said no, because he wants the $10. If he did say no, i'd do it, or my dh would. I will let you know if he ever turns down the money. lol Of course, he helped me dig out my garden beds, which took a couple of hours and he did that just beause I asked if he would help. No money involved, just a request.

Maybe all those years of being nice to them and helping them has helped that. But no way would I feel bad about telling a kid to please go pick up all artwork that is strewn all over the living room floor. Not "Come here, you little brat- this place is a mess . I can't trust you to take care of anything, can I? " More like "Girl, these papers are everywhere and the dogs are going to tear them to pieces. Here, you get those and I'll get these". I also don't have a problem saying "I am vaccuuuuummmmming tommorow, please pick all the game pieces up off the floor so they don't get sucked up into the vaaacccuuumm".

My kids are too old and too smart for me to have to dance around whether the stuff of 6 people strewn all over the house is a problem at times. I mean sometimes it's just "Let's pick all this crap up- the place is a mess. Pretty soon none of us will be able to find squat".
post #40 of 76
My son doesn't pick up his toys. If I ask him, he says "You do it." If I leave them out and let him see how difficult it is to navigate around them because people trip on them or get hurt stepping on them, he just goes outside to play. I've struggled with this. I'll periodically talk about the toy situation with him when it comes up, but it doesn't make much of a difference. I'm forever confiscating his Legos. He'll go for a week without playing with them even though they are his favorite toys. Next time I bring them out, he won't dump them for up to two weeks and then one day he'll be feeling grumpy or mad at me and dump them all over the floor and spread them around. I can't just leave them there. I try to enlist his help in picking them up but his response is always "You do it." I really don't like this situation and I'm sure he knows it. I'm working on it though. *sigh*

One thing I've figured out is that we all tend to have certain types of chores that we don't mind doing and certain ones we hate or love. I've discovered that Skanda really likes wiping down surfaces like the bathroom sink/counter, dining room and living room tables and putting dishes away. He also likes to help cook and sort and put away laundry. He's good at putting dishes away and putting his movies back in the movie case. He's also a good baby entertainer when I'm busy. He's very proud of his big brother role. I've sort of given up on my expectation that if he played with toys, he needs to put HIS toys away. I can quickly pick up toys in the evening when I tidy up. He helps all throughout the day in many other ways. He just hates picking up his toys. And when I get irritated with him for not picking them up, it turns into a power struggle and then he makes sure he doesn't do it.

Also, I don't really command my kids and expect obedience. Or at least I don't think I do. If it's time to go, I don't tell them to put their shoes on, I announce what we are doing and remind them that we put shoes on before we go. Nadia gets herself ready way before everyone and sort of goes around reminding us that it's time to go. Skanda puts it off until he hears us loading up in the car and then suddenly he wants help tying his shoes, etc. It just works out.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Gentle Discipline
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › Doing for your kids