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Doing for your kids - Page 3

post #41 of 76
I think it's important to invite children to help and make helping accessible to them. Often it would be faster for us to do it, but it's important to make kids feel needed and therefore cut off pieces of work for them where they can feel confident doing it and proud for having done it.

Complaining when they don't do stuff and doing it ourselves undermines that. By complaining, we say "you're being lazy"- which may translate in their brains to "I'm lazy." Then they see us do the thing much faster than they would have done it themselves and they think, "and I'm useless at helping as well. Mommy might as well do it because I'm incompetant."

Just a thought.
post #42 of 76
I used to struggle with this. OK, I still do, but I had a breakthrough moment a couple months ago. I thought to myself, why the heck does it matter so much if I'm the one picking up the blocks? Ds can and does wash the breakfast dishes and he's thrilled to do it. He loves to help fold laundry most days, to sweep, to help me dust. He IS contributing. He has a strong, innate drive to contribute. Is it really important that he contribute in the way that I dictate?

I think it would be a sad day for our family if each of us insisted on only being responsible for "messes" that they had made as an individual and tasks that only benefitted themselves. DH washes the dishes that we all eat off of, I wash the laundry we all wear and use and when the living room floor gets picked up we all enjoy the benefits of that too. When I was very depressed recently and couldn't do much beyond get dressed and fix food for the kids, DH picked up the slack on the laundry and other chores I usually do. When DH got the flu, I washed the dishes and cleaned the bathroom. I can't imagine either of us, in those situations, saying "Nope. That's YOUR job."

Is it more important for me to insist Ds pick up the toys because it's "his responsibility" or is it more important to model for him that we are part of an interlinking, fluid circle of help and benefit, that we work together as a family to balance out the workload?
post #43 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by zipperump-a-zoomum
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

LOL - as optional as speeding around here. Yeah, you can do it but you'll get caught and get in big trouble! LOL!!

No, there are things that are not optional around here. Yeah, they can decide not to do it but that's not a choice they want to make and they know it because of past consequences.

Ann
post #44 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by girlndocs
I used to struggle with this. OK, I still do, but I had a breakthrough moment a couple months ago. I thought to myself, why the heck does it matter so much if I'm the one picking up the blocks? Ds can and does wash the breakfast dishes and he's thrilled to do it. He loves to help fold laundry most days, to sweep, to help me dust. He IS contributing. He has a strong, innate drive to contribute. Is it really important that he contribute in the way that I dictate?

I think it would be a sad day for our family if each of us insisted on only being responsible for "messes" that they had made as an individual and tasks that only benefitted themselves. DH washes the dishes that we all eat off of, I wash the laundry we all wear and use and when the living room floor gets picked up we all enjoy the benefits of that too. When I was very depressed recently and couldn't do much beyond get dressed and fix food for the kids, DH picked up the slack on the laundry and other chores I usually do. When DH got the flu, I washed the dishes and cleaned the bathroom. I can't imagine either of us, in those situations, saying "Nope. That's YOUR job."

Is it more important for me to insist Ds pick up the toys because it's "his responsibility" or is it more important to model for him that we are part of an interlinking, fluid circle of help and benefit, that we work together as a family to balance out the workload?
Sounds like my house. I'm not supposed to be lifting heavy things because I had reconstructive surgery on my perineum. Dimitrius does all the heavy stuff like the putting the water jug in the water cooler and emptying the trash. He also does dog poop duty and I change poopy diapers. He doesn't mind dog poop and I don't mind baby poop.
If everyone does the jobs that they don't mind doing, it seems there isn't much left to divide up. He does mopping and vacuuming, the kids wipe surfaces and help sweep up the dirt pile, I do laundry, etc.
post #45 of 76
First and foremost in my parenting style is to avoid power struggles at all costs. I believe they are detrimental for a number of reasons. 1) They are a waste of time and energy. 2) Little issues become huge issues. 3) Kids go on the defensive, so that their natural inclinations to be helpful, to please their parents, get lost in their drive to "win". It is this latter point that is particularly important because I believe when this happens, then you are stuck in a situation where you *have* to make kids "do as they are told" because they are far less likely to do it of their own accord.

We do have certain "rules" in our house, albeit very few. For example, when DD wants to play with something, she has to put the previous toy(s) away. Sometimes we aren't there to remind her, and that's okay. Sometimes she just does it on her own. Usually she asks to play with something, and we say "okay, but we need to clean up the trains first". 9 times out of 10 she just happily does it. I think this is because we have never pushed her. When we started the "rule" we always did it with her, and usually she helped, sometimes she'd just say no. That was okay. But with repitition she got used the idea. I suppose one could say it's a "habit", but I don't know if that's the right description. It's just "the way things are done" and since we've never had a power struggle over it, she complies pretty much all the time. When she doesn't do it, we'll do it and just let her know it would be nice if she could help next time. I don't consider that a guilt trip. And I think that, because she naturally wants to please us (and hasn't been put off that track by a defensive mindset), this is enough for her to know that it's "right" to pick up the toys. And when I say "right" I mean that in an internally "feels good" kind of way, not a "those are my morals" kind of way. A kid in defensive mode can't care about how you feel when they don't help. And they can't find the internal motivation to do it b/c they have this feeling of being on the "other side" from you.

At my DD's age (3) there really isn't anything I expect her to do "on command" all the time. And, like others have said, she really does do things most of the time when asked, so it isn't an issue we feel needs pursuing. In fact, we feel that the very reason DD is so "obedient" most of the time is because we have never made an issue out of things.

When she is older, there will be certain responsibilities, but I will get her input into these things in the context of the tasks themselves. So, I might say that I don't want to have to do all the cleaning myself and I'd like her to pick some tasks she would like to do. Again, this won't be a question of "do as you are told" but rather "this is what you suggested, what we agreed on".
post #46 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piglet68
In fact, we feel that the very reason DD is so "obedient" most of the time is because we have never made an issue out of things.
Interesting. Just speculating here, but I imagine that if you talked about this to someone with a "spirited" or "challenging" child, someone who held the same parenting philosophies that you do, they would tell you that the reason your daughter is so "obedient" is because that's her temperament.

My kids have very different personalities (in some ways, although in other ways they are very similar). My son drops whatever he is doing and runs to help clean up the moment it's suggested. If there is going to be reticence at a certain time, it will be my daughter showing it. Granted, my son only came to us 6 months ago, so I don't know whether it's just his personality or whether he was "trained" in the orphanage to obey, but I do know that it's just my daughter's temperamant (just like her mom!!) to question and argue. I really, wholeheartedly believe that if I didn't "require" my daughter to do certain things to help out, she just wouldn't. Not that she's bad or lazy or anything like that. She's delightful and creative and extremely intelligent. I would not describe her as spirited or challenging. She's just very independent, just like her mom!! She has her own agenda. My mom helped guide my agenda and helped me learn to consider others' needs in very concrete ways. I do the same for my daughter. I believe that's what my daughter needs.

I don't think that one style of parenting works for all kids.

Namaste!
post #47 of 76
I have a 'highly sensitive child' who can't tolerate constant noises or nagging at all. I find said child is very easy going when not pushed. Dc is extremly sweet and helpful, but can meltdown if feels pushed into a corner or engaged in a power struggle. Commands, demands etc make dc feel helpless and anxious. I think this child had the good sense to be born into a family who knew that authoritarian parenting would have made a wreck of such a tender personality. What looks like 'Stubborness' in one family, looks like sensitivity in another.

Temperament does matter, but not always in the way we think.

edited for spelling
post #48 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
I really, wholeheartedly believe that if I didn't "require" my daughter to do certain things to help out, she just wouldn't. Not that she's bad or lazy or anything like that. She's delightful and creative and extremely intelligent. I would not describe her as spirited or challenging. She's just very independent, just like her mom!! She has her own agenda. My mom helped guide my agenda and helped me learn to consider others' needs in very concrete ways. I do the same for my daughter. I believe that's what my daughter needs.
I tend to disagree with your posts in general, as I don't do thinks the same way- but like you said, one style of parenting does not work for all kids.
The thing that stands out to me is your childrens ages- 2, and 3. When I read things like the above I automatically picture a MUCH older child. IMO a three year old SHOULD have her own agenda. You're probably right. If you didn't require her to do stuff, she'd probably choose to hang out and be...3!
I delight in NOT pushing MY agenda on my children, as I WANT them to grow to be thier own person. I respect who they are as people. Both of my daughters (and my son actually) fit the discription above, all 3 of them help out around the house because it's thier house too. They never have looked at me and said "no" to doing thier part around here. It's not cause I started 'em young- I would never have chores of a two year old. Not that I don't think they are capable, I just really want my children to be children- you only get to do that once. So for instance, at 2 I cleaned their room, put the dishes up for them, helped them with picking up toys etc (they often helped cause it's fun to help, but not because I required them to)...at 9 she does most everything herself- not because I forced her to , or shamed her if she didn't, but because as a 9 year old she wants to do for herself and her family, because she is not a baby. My assumption of my children is that they will want to be productive members of our family because we love eachother. So far so good.
post #49 of 76
I agree with CMB's post a lot. I think we expect far too much out of children sometimes... again, as cmb said, it is not that they aren't capable-- it is rather, should we expect them to participate in the family as much as we do as adults? I mean, I can't reiterate enough...and I know I will get the "you don't have kids, you just wait" ... but I honestly never in my whole life, ever... have met so much as ONE child who refused to do ANYTHING... they may not do everything all the time, but I have yet to meet a child who flat our refused to help ever, with anything, at any time....

Children (and people in general) do things at their own pace, and in their own time... you can't expect one 4 year old to help as much as another... you can't expect a 4 year old to consistantly do the same chores at the same pace and rate of success.. you just can't expect the same level of responsibility out of a child as you can an adult, or even teenager...

Again, no one should be a martyr... and yes, there are some *basic* things I would expect from my child.. basically, to help sometimes. That is it from a small child... to help sometimes. I am their parent, it is my JOB to take care of them-- no, not be their *slave* but yeah, to take care of them... and part of taking care of them is to do most of the work as it relates to daily "doing stuff"...

It really irks me some of the posters who are like "I DEMAND my child do this or they lose privledges etc".. and other seemingly NON-gd ways of forcing... yes forcing, them to help and to do things they don't want to do. To me that is completely ineffective.. sure, much like something like spanking, you will have a child who "obeys" (only for so long)... but they will be resenting you, resenting having to do chores, resenting their place and responsibility in the home, waiting for the day they don't have to do sh*t anymore, and feeling like your approval depends on how obediently they put away their stuff (or whatever).. I mean, is that the goal here?

Everyone I think wants their children to learn a sense of pride, or desire to help in the home or be part of the family in that way and that is great... but "demanding" your 4 year old clean their room or else they don't get dessert or whatever is ridiculous in my opinion... my husband is 35 and I am 28 and we still help eachother with our various household *chores* etc and he doesn't "take away my privledges" if I don't feel like doing the dishes one night... *sheesh*
post #50 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
. I really, wholeheartedly believe that if I didn't "require" my daughter to do certain things to help out, she just wouldn't.
Maybe she wouldn't do the things that you think she should be doing, but she might surprise you by doing other super-helpful things! My dd is super strong-willed as well, and that is a big reason I don't want chores to become a power struggle. Children are naturally social and want to be helpful and needed--like the big people. Dd has discovered things that she can do for the family--that she sees clearly need to be done--and does them. And she is super proud of it She enjoys being helpful, and I don't want helping to *become* a chore, kwim? I want her to continue to enjoy it.

That said, I completely agree that different approaches work for different kids/families. This is just what has worked best for our will-of-iron dd.
post #51 of 76
ITa with the Captain....

One other thing. I'm not a fan of the whole idea that kids living with us is some kind of priveledge or something they have to "pay" for.

It's a LAW that you have to take care of your kids till they are 18. You can go through paperwork to give them up- but you're not allowed to turn them out into the street, and I would hope and pray that my kids would never, ever worry that I would do that, or that their living in my home is contingent upon them doing certain things.

I know no one has suggested kicking kids out for not helpin, but I do cringe when talk is thrown around suggesting that kids are lucky to live with us. That's like saying my husband is lucky I don't cheat on him.
post #52 of 76
My main man Alfie talks about have age-appropriate expectations, too. I think there's a lot of fear wrapped up in that one sometimes - if I don't insist that my child clean up her stuff now, she'll be one of those 10 or 15 year olds who refuse to help. I think maybe the opposite is true - if you insist now, then when your child is old enough to effectively resist he will.

I had people at LLL meetings telling me that Rain was "spirited" before she was 2 years old, because she did so clearly have her own will and her own agenda. Even deciding to work with that agenda resulted in some pretty rocky years - I can't imagine if I had tried to go against it.

Dar
post #53 of 76
BTW- I'm with UUmom- my kid is the same way.
post #54 of 76
So what is age-appropriate?

I am not sure where I am in all of this, but I want to be like Dar and UnschoolingMama (and I'm just getting into "Punished by Rewards", btw)

In reality, I tend to ask my dd1 and expect her to obey, and I am starting to see power struggles come up. She's just past 2 1/2. I have recently realized it is ok for her to say no to me, and in fact that it is normal, a part of her separating from me. A lot has been expected of her since her sister arrived, and I am trying to let up on this. I recall a day about a month ago when I asked/told her to put away a absket of luandry of hers and she protested by dumping it all over the floor, and I got upset with her for it. Later, I reflected, and realized I was expecting too much of her. She has a beautiful inner desire to be helpful, and will have a tantrum if we don't let her help when she wants to (so we've made sure to include her).
post #55 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
...if you talked about this to someone with a "spirited" or "challenging" child, someone who held the same parenting philosophies that you do, they would tell you that the reason your daughter is so "obedient" is because that's her temperament.
You're absolutely right. I can't know if this is the result of our parenting, or just her innate temperament. And, in fact, none of us can really know.

In light of this, I set boundaries for my parenting and work within them. This gives me guidelines of what I will and won't do, but some flexibility to allow for tempermental differences in my kids. For example, my DD has responded very well to using countdowns for transitions. As in "Five more minutes and then we have to leave the playground". We started this at age 18 months, and up until about six months ago it was pretty much failsafe. Now we're finding it isn't working as often because she is getting past that; she's more mature and wants to have more input into things. I don't consider this a failure of hte method; she's simply outgrowing it. So lately I've been taking to discussing with her things that might help her get ready to do what comes next, or leave the activity, and that seems to be working really well. I don't consider it a failure, just that she is moving into a different stage. But note that I haven't suddenly gotten more punitive or demanding or coercive.

So, if my son doesn't turn out to be as amenable to helping out as my DD is, despite our removing power struggles from the issue, I may have to find a different approach. But it won't be to "make him do as I say". I simply don't feel good about that approach. I will have to find an alternative approach that still fits within my parenting ideals. It's a challenge sometimes, to be sure. Especially when my natural instinct is to "think punitive". But it's also extremely rewarding. And I like a challenge!
post #56 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
if I don't insist that my child clean up her stuff now, she'll be one of those 10 or 15 year olds who refuse to help. I think maybe the opposite is true - if you insist now, then when your child is old enough to effectively resist he will.
Who among us wouldn't? (There are exceptions here, as with anything...) I think most of us, deep down, want to do things our own way, and on our own timetable. Of course living with other people tweaks that a bit, but the desire for that kind of freedom is still there. When someone insists, or orders often the first instinct is to resist strongly... at least for me.

Quote:
I had people at LLL meetings telling me that Rain was "spirited" before she was 2 years old, because she did so clearly have her own will and her own agenda. Even deciding to work with that agenda resulted in some pretty rocky years - I can't imagine if I had tried to go against it.
Same experience with Ds when we was little. "Spirited" was the nicer of the terms I heard . These days the kids sometimes are referred to as rebels or some such thing because they are very strong in what they want to do and why.
post #57 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama
Maybe she wouldn't do the things that you think she should be doing, but she might surprise you by doing other super-helpful things!
There were a whole bunch of people I wanted to quote, but for brevity's sake I just picked this one to say :

It's a difficult, strange, fascinating journey for me to let go of my iron control over HOW Ds helps out.

FTR, he is very spirited.
post #58 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by girlndocs
Is it more important for me to insist Ds pick up the toys because it's "his responsibility" or is it more important to model for him that we are part of an interlinking, fluid circle of help and benefit, that we work together as a family to balance out the workload?
ITA that the focus should be on the latter; balance and being able to fluidly give and take.
post #59 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmb123
IMO a three year old SHOULD have her own agenda.
I guess that's where we have a fundamental difference of opinion. I think that families should have a family agenda, not each member having their own agenda.

Quote:
I delight in NOT pushing MY agenda on my children, as I WANT them to grow to be thier own person. I respect who they are as people.
I hope you are not implying that I delight in pushing my agenda on my children, or that I don't want them to grow to be their own people, or that I don't respect them. All of those ideas are false. As I have stated before on this thread and on several others, on the occasions that my kids don't do what's expected of them, I do not make a big deal about it. I am not authoritarian with my kids. Because my kids have been raised with the expectation that they help out, they do. It's not a weird idea to them.

Quote:
but they will be resenting you, resenting having to do chores, resenting their place and responsibility in the home, waiting for the day they don't have to do sh*t anymore, and feeling like your approval depends on how obediently they put away their stuff (or whatever)
OUCH! I was raised in a home where I was required to do things around the house. I NEVER felt that. I did not always like having to do what I had to do, but I don't always like to do what I have to do now. That doesn't mean that I did or do resent my parents or think that they only liked me when I did what they asked. I grew up to be very responsible, not rebelliously irresponsible. Really, now, can we go easy on the HUGE, HUGE assumptions and speaking for other people?

Quote:
For example, my DD has responded very well to using countdowns for transitions. As in "Five more minutes and then we have to leave the playground".
See, now this did not work AT ALL for my daughter. I tried this (because it's supposed to make transitions easier for children) and what happened was my daughter started throwing huge tantrums when I started the countdown. I think she felt like I was giving her a deadline. What DID work for my daughter would be going to her right when it was time to leave, taking her hand, saying, "It's time to go now, let's say thank you and goodbye," and telling our hosts and friends goodbye. We had mostly cheerful departures with that approach.

Quote:
Is it more important for me to insist Ds pick up the toys because it's "his responsibility" or is it more important to model for him that we are part of an interlinking, fluid circle of help and benefit, that we work together as a family to balance out the workload?
Why can't a family have certain jobs that are usually (but not always, without exception, because, after all, we are a family of people, not robots, and we can be flexible when necessary) one person's responsibility and ALSO work together as a family to balance out the workload? Why must everything be either/or? Why must it be that I demand nothing of my kids and respect them or have certain chores for them and not respect them? Why must it be that the kids help out only when and how they like and we are a family that works together or I tell my kids to do certain things and suddenly we are no longer modeling cooperation?

Why are GD adherents so rigid in the perceptions of what "right" parenting is? Really, throughout this thread I have been accused (either directly or by implication) of some pretty awful things in regard with my relationship to my kids!

I'm still uncertain why so many people here think that there is only one right way to parent all children and that if you don't parent your children that way, in light of each child's individual personalities, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses, you somehow don't respect your child or are some sort of authoritarian drill seargent.

I actually started this thread asking what people were hoping their kids would learn via their approach to children's work/chores in the family. Only PaganScribe really responded to that. A lot of people responded by telling me why what I do is wrong and how it will negatively impact my kids. I know what I do works for my kids. I'm sure that what most of you do works for your kids. I know mine, you know yours. I believe that many different styles of parenting can be right.

Namaste!
post #60 of 76
Absolutely, families can work a lot of different ways.

I can only speak for myself, but if I seem "stuck" on explaining a certain philosophy, it is because I so very often read things--even here on the GD board--that suggest this style will never work....that the kids will never learn to be helpful, that they will be lazy, etc. Our experience has been the opposite, but I guess I'm defensive anyway, lol.

Ya know, this is timely for me, because at dd's recent 4 yo exam, one of the developmental questions the ped asked was "does she clean up her toys?". Well...no! But we do things a different way, kwim? And she helps in so many other ways....and I found myself having to explain this to the ped, and I was annoyed .
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