Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Just moved to Framingham, MA
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This thread is freying somewhat, but the ideas and problems are very interesting. Probably worth starting a new thread for some of these.
I suddenly got clarity on this because DD#1 (6) left her sunglasses on the floor right in front of the front door. I could not pick them up (hands full) and she just ignored me when I asked her to move them from this dangerous place. That's another story, however, to the point in hand.....
It boils down to this:
If she does not have the ability to tidy up, then deprive her of the privalage of doing these things
Do it for her.
My gut feeling is to do it for her while you are not able / prepared to do it with her.
The truth is though that as soon as we try to apply "teaching techniques" to bringing up our children, we are doomed to failure. Everything we have learned about the inadequacy of the current education system should be enough to tell us that it is not going to work outside the class room either.
Children learn best when they have a model to copy. This is why they like to do things with their parents or older siblings.
The "If I want to read, I'll read and if I want to eat pizza I'll eat pizza. I don't get this."
This can be applied to the cleaning of mess: "If I want to clean up, I'll clean up and if I want to drink smoothy I'll drink smoothy. I don't get this."
The crux of the problem lies (I think) in an adult misconception of child development. Seeing a child, 6 already, doing (grown-up) things like making milk-shakes, we assume that the social maturity that we associate with this activity now goes with that child.
How wrong we are. In my experience, that kind of social responsibility follows between 3 and 6 years later, and with an inclusive model, little "training" is required, if any at all.
In the case of your daugter, you can make a choice.
1) Restrict her activities as a way to coerse her to bend to your will.
2) Let her be, and do what parents are (I think) supposed to do for their young children, take responsibility for their actions (along with feeding, pooping, bathing, nursing etc)
--- The upside of the first measure is that you may succeed.
--- The down side is that it may take you as long as it takes for children to naturally learn to do this anyway,
+ strain on the relationship,
+ the feeling that you are constantly failing,
+ you are diminshing her opportunities to explore and grow in the world around her,
+ creating a need for her to cheat and lie, feel and carry guilt (a common and unintended result of the current education system),
+ feelings of inadequacy before she even starts a project because of the memory of the constant conflicts at the end.
--- The upside of the second measure is that it gives the children a chance to do more with you, and learn from you,
+ they learn at the natural rate,
+ there is no strain in the relationship
+ each "help me put this in the fridge" is a little success for both of you.
+ she can learn to ask for help at the appropriate moment.
--- The downside is that you will have to accasionally wipe up a banana.
Hope this helps