My 6 yo son who is going through quite a difficult phase right now. You know the feeling. Who are you and what did you do with my sweet boy? Anywho, he is such a helper around the house, loves to clean, likes to have things be neat. But every once in a while he will open up something and huck the wrapper to the side a run off. When you ask him to please take care of his trash he full out refuses. He did this with my husband last night. Opened up mail, let the pieces fall to the floor, hucked the other stuff to the side and ran off. Hubby told him to please come back and take care of the trash. He looked at the trash, looked at my husband and walked into the other room.
Now, tell me, what would have you done at this point?
I would just remind him he is part of your family community.. and he needs to be responsible for his own mess. Unless I was already having a really bad day.. this wouldn't really be an issue for me. It sounds like he is a really good kid.
I have 6 yo and an 8 yo, and if either of them did that to me, First I'd say a loud, "HEY! You really shouldn't leave that there." (not mean, just loud) If that didn't work either I would know something was up so I'd walk over to wherever they were, make sure I got down to their level and say something like, 'Hey there - I need your attention for a minute. You need to go pick up that stuff, you know it's not OK to just drop things on the floor like that. After that, let's talk about what's up."
I don't know - I mean, my kids drop stuff ALL THE TIME. They're lazy like me and want to get away with whatever they can. Usually, I just stand over whatever it is, call their name and look down at the floor, and they say, "Oh uh, oops, let me get that." or something like that. LOL. I've not really had to deal with a lot of walking away/ignoring much like that.
I *might* suggest being more matter of fact and less like you're asking a favor, if you know what I mean. Sometimes, I use bemused disbelief as a kind of humor/reality check for them now that they're older. Like, "REALLY? You're going to drop paper on the floor and walk away from it?" - I don't say that, and I'm not *rude*, but more like a good natured, "Come on, you're old enough to know better than that, and are capable of taking care of your own messes."
All of that goes along with convos about being responsible for your stuff, about teamwork to keep the house safe and comfy, etc. So it's not like it's coming out of nowhere. They've both been doing chores for a couple years now so it's not like it's a new concept to them.
I would pick it up myself, express my genuine displeasure about him ignoring me/refusing to do it, and that next time I expected him to take care of it. And then let it go. Later at bedtime I'd probably probe a little bit to see what was up re: responsibility and power plays; usually when my kids do stuff like this it's because they feel like we're treating them "like babies" and they want a little more control, so we work something out.
Lately, I have often had a hard time keeping myself from escalating these kinds of situations into a big power struggle with my 6 y/o dd (being over-stressed and over-caffinated lately ). I generally try to do the simple statements (hey, there's some paper on the floor, DD, the paper) and then depending on whether I'm doing my own cleaning or not I'll pick it up or say 'hey, I am doing xyz, abc. you need to take care of that paper there right now. If you can't get to it, I'm pretty certain I'll end up being grumpy and angry for having to take care of it in addition to the other things I'm doing. I'm pretty sure it would be easy for you to grab it and put it away'.
And then I have to do it again, over and over.
For us, the most helpful instance that seemed to make a bigger impact on dd (about not dropping things wherever) was having to clean up a whole lot of stuff she'd stashed somewhere else instead (tons of wrappers, chewed gum, etc from behind the sofa, sometimes tiny bits of paper in her room, or dirty clothes hidden somewhere in the house). She was very responsible in taking care of it all without complaining, and was much more proactive about taking care of her own stuff after that when we were asking about the little things she needed to take care of.
Something else that might have worked: "Oh no! Kiddo disappeared! Now who is going to end up picking up this xyz?? We're ruined! What will life be like now! It will probably attract alligators and they'll eat our dog! And the queen is coming to visit next week! Etc, etc." In an overly dramatic and humorous tone. Dd will usually succumb to doing work this way, for us, too. (But if not, yes I point out that I'm doing it because it does *need* to get done and therefore expect me to end up grumpy and cranky.)
My 6 yr old daughter has seen hoarders with me... so I tend to bring up that that's how those houses got that messy... that no one ever cleaned up and they thought it was ok to just leave stuff all over. Usually that's enough to get her thinking about it...
Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise (1/06), Oliver Matthew (7/07) and Avery Michael (3/10)
Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.
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