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#61 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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Alright, I didn't have the time or interest to finish the thread, but several people have attacked my ideas-- not me, I understand, just the ideas-- and these are people I respect so I will try to respond.

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Originally Posted by Thao View Post
I guess I'm going to be somewhat a voice of dissent here.

To me, 7 and 8 is plenty old to start learning consideration for other people.


Not picking up after oneself is inconsiderate to the OP.
Okay, so where does this take you? So you've decided that your children should act a certain way. Great. What if they don't? Now what are you going to do? This places you in the position of trying to control and change your children. I do not accept this as a way to live, in my family. I choose to accept people the way they are and I trust and have faith that when I am loving and centered then they will respond cooperatively and we will all live in harmony. If life is not harmonious, all I have the power to change is myself. Actually, I do have the physical power to make my children change but that's bullying so I don't do that.

Sometimes children are lazy, sloppy, and inconsiderate. This is a sign of them being out of harmony. They are not old enough to know how to get back into harmony, so it's my job to help them. Punishing them, showing anger and disapproval, having "standards" that I "expect" to be met-- it doesn't help. By being loving and helpful and communicating effectively and manipulating their environment to be more harmonious for them, I can help them be more centered and therefore more cooperative, however, even then I have to keep in mind their age and ability level.

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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
But that is our duty as parents through example and training to assist them in figuring out how to care for there things and live in a cooperative home.
Right, I agree.

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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
Stuff is just stuff. But being foolish and wasteful with their use is a sin. It is not a matter of coveting those things, however there is no reason to not care about them at all.
So it's a sin. Being cranky, snapping at, and spanking your kids is also a sin (IMO). Parents are far more likely to sin far more often than their young children do, IME. We know better and so more is expected of us. So the kids are sinners, so what. Is it my job to play God and punish my kids every time they sin? Does God punish me every time I sin? No. He has set up Nature to naturally react to disharmonious living with the consequence of disharmony. That is it's own "punishment" I suppose, but it is no artificially created punishment designed to coerce the subject into compliance.

How did Jesus teach? Gently, kindly, lovingly, compassionately, with lots of smiles and patience. And those were adult disciples! How much more gentle should we be with our little ones.

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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
If one does not care for their things, they should not own them.
Absolutely. So do your children a favor and get rid of the excess stuff that they don't even really want. They may think they want it because of societal pressure to collect and hoard, but you can gently show them that if they really cared about it, they would take care of it. Then help them to pare down their belongings to what they can actually manage.

Disharmonious living (messy house, children uncooperative) is a sign of disharmony (too much stuff, for instance) so the key to change is to solve the problem and create a more harmonious environment to live in, which will promote harmonious living.

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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
THAT to me is actually materialism. Everything is replaceable and disposible......so why bother taking good care of it.
Well, most things ARE disosable and replaceable. Especially children's possessions: toys and clothes and puzzles and etc. And even if it isn't replaceable, it's still just stuff. But of course, we should still be careful with our things. It shows care and gratitude for God's world. But people first, always. People who are careful with things but not careful with other people have their priorities mixed up. Of course, the virtue of care and thoughtfulness in all applications is developed only with time. It is not inborn in most children, perhaps in some in personality but not in general, and especially not when it has not been modeled to them. Now, in our American world these qualities are certainly NOT modeled much to children, so it is a difficult deficit to overcome with just our own example. This means we ought to be be understanding and compassionate as our children try to learn in an unhelpful world.

Children are likely to show the things and people around them the level of respect which they feel for themselves, and they will feel the level of respect which you 1.) show to yourself (model) and 2. show to them.

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Originally Posted by Thao View Post
LTB, I think this is a very American (or wealthy country) attitude. In my experience, in countries where kids don't have a ton of stuff the children do very much take care of their things because it is all they have. I agree with AngelBee that the disregard for things that you see around you is a product of having too much stuff and considering it all replaceable.
I agree. Perhaps you have misunderstood me.

So get rid of the stuff. It doesn't really matter. That doesn't mean it doesn't matter how you treat it. It means it doesn't matter enough to make your life miserable and shame your children in making them "take care of" this rubbish they don't truly care about. Why teach them that this stuff is REALLY IMPORTANT and they have to make their daily life revolve around it. Why not just LET IT GO. Problem solved.

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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
Also this idea that children are incapable of certain behaviors is very American. In many countries, 7 and 8 year olds are in total charge of the younger children in the family and they are able to handle the responsibility. I do not consider this a good thing, don't get me wrong, but to say that that age isn't developmentally capable of taking care of things is demonstrably untrue.
Completely different cultures. Ever heard of the Continuum Concept? You can't expect modern American children to have the same responsibility and understanding as children who have been raised entirely differently. If the children are not doing something, then in that moment, they are not capable of it. Period. You can try to empower them to be capable of it, but shaming them because they do not meet up with what some other kids somewhere else can do, or what you "expect" them to do, is not helpful or constructive.

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Originally Posted by BubbeSue View Post
Ok, I am new here, so please forgive me if I am overstepping the bounds, but I feel compelled (for DoulaSarah) to say that I whole-heartedly disagree with you. It absolutely is the children's responsibility to keep their toys/ clothes/ rooms/ areas cleaned up to their mother's standards. When they are grown with homes of their own, they can use their own standards.
Look, the bottom line is, you cannot (for the most part, except physically exerting some control over their bodies) control your children. You can only influence them. And there are only two ways to influence children-- by sweetness and gentleness (which can and ought to also be firm and strong) or by fear and intimidation (which comes from a place of insecurity and weakness, which children will pick up on).

Take your pick.

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#62 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 04:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
I guess I'm going to be somewhat a voice of dissent here.

To me, 7 and 8 is plenty old to start learning consideration for other people.


Not picking up after oneself is inconsiderate to the OP.
Okay, so where does this take you? So you've decided that your children should act a certain way. Great. What if they don't? Now what are you going to do? This places you in the position of trying to control and change your children. I do not accept this as a way to live, in my family. I choose to accept people the way they are and I trust and have faith that when I am loving and centered then they will respond cooperatively and we will all live in harmony. If life is not harmonious, all I have the power to change is myself. Actually, I do have the physical power to make my children change but that's bullying so I don't do that.
I disagree with this. I agree with what Thao said, and I think saying that children are (generally) capable of learning to be considerate others and having expectations and values regarding what I want my children to learn does not lead me to a place where I must control my children, or force them to act a certain way, or shame them when they don't meet my expectations.

What it does lead me to is a place where I can and do work with my children, to problem-solve together so that their needs/concerns and the needs/concerns of the family are both met. We can work together to make changes that help us all. And yes, that will take more work on my part than on their part. And yes, I can only control myself but I can also request change from my kids and I can influence my kids, and I can create the circumstances that allow them to change and learn and take on responsibility. IMO, there is nothing inherently disrespectful or non-gentle about having realistic expectations and encouraging children to take on responsibility. It is possible to say to your child "I expect you to help" and not become punitive (or shaming) when they do not help. It's possible to say "I expect you to help" and then work proactively and positively to engage their cooperation.

I have had great success working with my kids in this way, saying more or less "we need something to change. This is what's happening, and this is how I feel about it, and this is how I notice it impacts you. Let's try this (or what do you think we might do?)." I have had great success overcoming major problems with one child, in a supportive, positive and proactive a way, while also saying "this is what I expect. You can do it. I'll help." And when things didn't go well, we said "it happened. it's over. I love you. You'll get it. I believe in you."

Expectations and values and principles and rules don't need to be negative. There's a lot more middle ground than you seem to be suggesting, LTB.
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#63 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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So your expectations are realistic based on the harmonious and helpful envrionment you create for your children.

My response was more to the situation found with the mothers who are not successful in their expectations-- Sarah Doula and AngelBee. They may have (or had) these expectations, but without creating the environment that fulfills these expectations where does that leave them? Just because you think your child ought to be able to do soemthing doesn't mean they can or will. So that advice that they are justified in these expectations is not going to be ultimately helpful to them, IMO.

Better to just focus on manipulating the environment the children live in, and changing yourself as a parent, and changing the way you are communicating with your children. Then the children will adjust accordingly.

Basically, what I am saying is if the children are not meeting your expectations, you do the changing, rather than telling the children to change or complaining that they are not measuring up. Or worse yet, punishing them for not meeting your expectations.

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#64 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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So, your response was in reaction to the idea that children should change without any change on the part of the parent and/or environment/schedule? Is that right? I would agree with that. We can't simply expect kids to change without guidance and effort on the part of the parent. I didn't read anyone as saying that, though (but I could have missed it).

I do think it's important to consider not just the child's behavior, but also how we parents can alter our behavior/style of communication/etc. in order to help our children change their behavior. I see it as a team effort, with more effort required of the parents because parents are more able and experienced. I don't see it as one-sided at all, I don't think either parent or child must be the only one to put in effort and make changes when there is an ongoing problem. But yes, parents do need to put forth greater effort when big changes need to be made--or at least different effort.

What I thought you were saying was that expectations, themselves, are harmful even if a parent is making changes (because again, I did not take from this discussion any recommendation that parents not make changes themselves--in my view, any behavioral change on the part of the child is only going to happen through parental effort). That is what I disagreed with. I actually think clear expectations are healthy, as are clear boundaries and clear values--and there are many ways of communicating, implementing and addressing expectations, boundaries and values (some of which I consider positive and healthy, and some I don't).
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#65 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 05:18 PM
 
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My issue is that focusing on expectations often leads to parental frustration and thus anger or punishment, as opposed to constructive change.

Focusing on expectations is like entering the equation halfway instead of at the beginning.

I don't think that expectations are necessarily a bad thing. They are always there-- everyone has expectations of some kind, for better or worse. But I think when inciting change, we can take the word "expectation" out of the equation completely, and therefore bypass a sense of "parental entitlement", and often get much farther as a result.

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#66 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
But I think when inciting change, we can take the word "expectation" out of the equation completely, and therefore bypass a sense of "parental entitlement", and often get much farther as a result.
Ah. Yes, in our family the key word is "concerns." We all have concerns. Everyone's concerns are legitimate. Sometimes we have problems, and problems are simply, in someone else's words, "two concerns that have yet to be reconciled." So we're more likely to focus on "how can we both get our concerns met?" because that question leads us to better problem-solving and solutions. So, I expect my kids to help--but that is shorthand for two concerns: 1) I value every person contributing to the upkeep of the house and 2) I need help, I cannot do all the work of all the kids all the time plus my own, I do need for them to do what is realistic and healthy (not too much) for them each to do. Their concerns are taken into consideration as well (their concerns might be "that's too hard" or "that's too much" or "I just want to play and don't like chores"), and we can find a way to address both their concerns and mine. That may mean one of us or both of us has to give a little, it may mean we find a completely different way of doing things, it may mean we ask for help. But we can do it.
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#67 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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Ah. Yes, in our family the key word is "concerns." We all have concerns. Everyone's concerns are legitimate. Sometimes we have problems, and problems are simply, in someone else's words, "two concerns that have yet to be reconciled." So we're more likely to focus on "how can we both get our concerns met?" because that question leads us to better problem-solving and solutions. So, I expect my kids to help--but that is shorthand for two concerns: 1) I value every person contributing to the upkeep of the house and 2) I need help, I cannot do all the work of all the kids all the time plus my own, I do need for them to do what is realistic and healthy (not too much) for them each to do. Their concerns are taken into consideration as well (their concerns might be "that's too hard" or "that's too much" or "I just want to play and don't like chores"), and we can find a way to address both their concerns and mine. That may mean one of us or both of us has to give a little, it may mean we find a completely different way of doing things, it may mean we ask for help. But we can do it.
I like the concept of focusing on reconciling concerns.

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#68 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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Sorry. Just feeling TOO snarky today.

My short version:

Remove excess stuff the kids are not ready for the responsibility of keeping neat.

Require them to help with the organization of what is left. Assist them with learning this skill.

IMO it is not harmful to a child to have to follow some reasonable rules set by their parents and face negative consequences when they choose not to cooperate.

Finally, I believe that when a child is on a behavioral course that does not meet the parents' standards, it is appropriate for the parents to assist with changing that. Even if the kid does not always like it.

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#69 of 76 Old 01-02-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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Thanks for responding, LTB! Also for not taking my comments personally, and they certainly weren't meant personally. I have no doubt that the way you parent is working wonderfully for you and your kids are great. I just believe, based on my experience, that it will not work wonderfully for every kid.

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You can't expect modern American children to have the same responsibility and understanding as children who have been raised entirely differently.
I think we agree? Originally I thought you were saying that 7-8 year olds are not capable of the responsibility of picking up their things, in the same way one might say a 2 year old is not capable of algebra (i.e. its just not developmentally appropriate). But now I understand you are saying it has more to do with the upbringing, in which case I agree. We CAN expect our American kids to be just as responsible and understanding as kids in other circumstances, but we have to change the way we raise them if we want that. Right?

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If the children are not doing something, then in that moment, they are not capable of it. Period.
Here, I'm afraid I don't agree, and probably it is the crux of where our philosophies differ. This viewpoint leaves no room for the possibility that the 7-8 year old is *capable* of doing it but simply doesn't want to, because it isn't fun, or because they've never had to do it in the past. That is a part of human nature, IMO. Even people who have had wonderful upbringings (I would count myself one of those) are aware of having a selfish side and struggle to do the right thing at times. I don't think it is reasonable to assume that this selfish side is completely absent in children until, say, they turn 18. It's just there, along with all the abundant good in human nature. Obviously a very small child cannot be expected to understand and struggle with it. But I believe a 7-8 year old can begin to understand if they have been taught that sometimes you put aside what you want in order to do the right thing.

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I think when inciting change, we can take the word "expectation" out of the equation completely, and therefore bypass a sense of "parental entitlement", and often get much farther as a result.
I also disagree about "parental entitlement" . My kid and I do not have an equal relationship. We are equal in value, but not in our roles. We're not roommates who share bills and responsibilities and make decisions independently of each other. I take care of her and, given my age and years of experience, and also given the fact that I can't just move out (like I could with a roommate) if she is behaving badly, I feel I am entitled to guide her and teach her and, yes, set certain expectations.

Maybe I am misunderstanding your viewpoint, but it seems very one-sided to me. My daughter most certainly has expectations of me. She expects me to feed her, clothe her, spend time with her, etc etc. I accept those expectations gladly. What is wrong with having expectations of her? (Naturally, assuming they are appropriate to that child's age and mental abilities and are communicated in a loving but firm way.)
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#70 of 76 Old 01-04-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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I felt this way about my place until I instituted a nightly routine of pick-up.

Now, I'm not saying everything on my routine gets done EVERY SINGLE NIGHT...but it is happening often enough that I'm happier with it.

The routine--7 PM, kids pick up their room (enough so we can walk in there, the toys are not real organized ) and they need to get their toys out of the common living areas--except their stuff that goes with the kitchen set that lives in the kitchen.

What works for us is the next part of the bedtime routine is DS gets to choose watching a favorite show or reading a book with me, if he refuses to participate in cleanup, he goes straight to bed. (Which one, I consider a natural consequence--if I have to do it myself, it takes longer and then it is time to go to sleep. Two, I have the kind of kid that learns well from these type of consequences--I've only sent him straight to bed twice in four or five weeks.)

While I'm directing them through pick-up (they need me interacting to stay on task), I *try* to get the kitchen swept. Some nights this goes well, other nights I have to be right with them in the bedroom, wherever they are to keep them going. I also pick up stray junk from the living room that belongs in places other than their bedroom while they are picking up their stuff.

Another thing I read in a gd book (adventures in GD) that I think I am going to try if needed is a box where things they refuse to pick up go. They can have it back probably after a day. What this mom did though was often there would be several items in her box and she would give back one thing the next day *IF* they could name what it was they wanted.

she found her kids had so much stuff they did not care and would actually think about whether or not it was worth picking up

for me I think if it became a really big problem I'd do that and if something stayed in the box for a long time--weeks, a month. I'd donate it to goodwill or somewhere.

back to the routine on a really good night the coffee and end tables might actually get washed off too. (that's pretty rare )

I'd say probably 3 to 4 nights out of the week the only thing we get done is picking up stray junk. But at least we are getting that much done. Before it was nothing at all

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#71 of 76 Old 01-14-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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Checking in to see how you are doing

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#72 of 76 Old 01-14-2009, 04:07 PM
 
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We put a bunch of our Christmas toys in the attic. They can swap out for a toy that is up there when they get bored. That way I don't have to look at it, but I don't have to get rid of it either. I encourage them to clean up their toys in the living room before we transition to the next activity. Sometimes I have to help or make it a game.
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#73 of 76 Old 01-14-2009, 07:44 PM
 
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I haven't read all the posts in this thread, but wanted to chime in and say I really appreciated LionTigerBear's original post. It really resonated w/me and is similar to other material I have read and tried to internalize. I whole heartedly agree w/it.



But it is difficult to get to that mindset on a daily basis and not get upset w/my oldest (the only one of the three that I would dare blame as the other two are really little yet).

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#74 of 76 Old 01-14-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DoulaSarah View Post
My standards are set. I am not just going to close the door and walk away. That does nothing but teach them that disrespecting their things is not only okay, but acceptable. It is not. It is rude and horrible. They really honestly don't care about anything. I throw things away...they don't care. Timeouts...they don't care. Name it, I have done it.
I only read the first page and the last page, so I hope I'm neither redundant nor missing vital data but here goes:

1. I hope you're feeling well now!

2. I know you say your standards are set, but I can't resist pointing out that children who are not allowed to treat their possessions however they like are not in a position to feel like respecting your wishes for your possessions! I strongly believe that if you give something to a child then they can destroy it if they like. Mine's four, so she does. But they will certainly get to the point where they value having something and know that you won't replace it for them, and they'll have respect for that thing.

In the meantime, since you are letting them control their own possessions, you can expect and enforce their respecting your possessions. ie. your room is your business (short of a safety hazard, which is always a parent's business) but the hallway, living room, etc belong to all of us and it's not okay with me to have it messy!

My MIL wrote and illustrated a long book for dd for Christmas and because we knew that dd has taken to drawing fairy wings and other accessories in the pages of her books, we were worried about giving this beautiful thing to her. So MIL gifted it to the three of us (dd, dh, and I) and dd knows it's not up for drawing in. Maybe you could warn relations not gift delicate or valuables until you see that they will appreciate it?

At first her drawing in books was really disturbing to me, as I really value books and she has some really nice ones. But, feeling as I do about a person's possessions, I knew it wasn't for me to stop her anymore than a friend has the right to tell me what to do or not to do with gifts she gives me. If I hate the porcelain chicken, I'll probably donate it to charity! Which, by the way, doesn't lessen my appreciation or expressions of gratitude to said friend.

Anyway, I know where I stand, but I wanted to share my viewpoint in case it helps. FWIW, I do think that children who have the right to their own possessions, and who are allowed to contribute to the family (in the ways that they originate, not in obedience), will tend to make for more peaceful parenting/childrearing. Whatever you do, I hope peace hits soon!

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#75 of 76 Old 01-14-2009, 10:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
Perhaps if they don't care, you can take away those toys they don't care for. .
OP - I understand where you are coming from - I have 3, and my older 2 are that way (5 and 3) and I have no clue what to do either.

I have done what the pp is quoted before however what happens in my situation is that then my kids are bored from having nothing to play with and beat eachother up more.



I am lurking here cause I have NO idea how to do this.
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#76 of 76 Old 01-14-2009, 11:49 PM
 
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I agree, adn then when quoting laughed, b/c I just moved from the same far NWS location.

My kids are 3 and 5, so very young, but I also get upset in the same situation sometimes. YES it can be a call to reevaluate your expectations, the "stuff" you have and how it is cluttering up your lives in more ways than one. But I don't think it's all entirely about deeper issues of harmony here. I still think they can learn to respect your home, the work you put into it, and help pick up their own toys (we declutter regularly and my kids still have more than 2-3 toys. the best stuff imo, blocks, books, can get quite messy). The key is (obviously) not expecting them to do it without your guidance and help. It's easier for me to pick up my kids rooms without their help in short run. in the long run, I think it is a mistake to do so.

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Originally Posted by llp34 View Post
Sorry. Just feeling TOO snarky today.

My short version:

Remove excess stuff the kids are not ready for the responsibility of keeping neat.

Require them to help with the organization of what is left. Assist them with learning this skill.

IMO it is not harmful to a child to have to follow some reasonable rules set by their parents and face negative consequences when they choose not to cooperate.

Finally, I believe that when a child is on a behavioral course that does not meet the parents' standards, it is appropriate for the parents to assist with changing that. Even if the kid does not always like it.
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