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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading the thread about what you do when your kids don't listen to you, and I noticed that I seem to differ with other parents about what to do. I expect that my kids do what they are told to do. I don't tell them to do much. Basically, they are only told to clean up their toys, clean up after their meals, and get their clothes/shoes when it is time to get dressed or go somewhere.<br><br>
I noticed that other parents have said that if they ask their child to do something and they child doesn't do it, they do it for them while saying something like, "I don't like having to do this for you."<br><br>
I'm wondering what people are hoping their kids learn from this. It seems to me that if you ask a child to do something and the child says no and you do it for him, what the child is learning is that if he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't have to, no big deal.<br><br>
That's not what I want my kids to learn. I want them to learn that, as part of the family, they have responsibilities to the family, regardless of whether they feel like it or not.<br><br>
I'm not trying to debate here, I'm sincerely curious. Do people think that, after watching Mom clean up after him 24 times (and grumble about it), the 25th time he'll spontaneously decide to do it so as to spare his poor Mom her feelings? To me it seems like repeatedly doing for your kids while telling them how unhappy you are to do it is just guilt-inducing and that merely making it plain that you expect them to be of help to the family is a less manipulative/guilt-tripping way to go. I guess I think being direct has its benefits.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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Just curious- what do you do when they do not listen to you? Sorry, I didn't read the other post.<br><br>
We expect our almost 5 year old to do what we ask her. We use consequences(she loses gum or her tv hour for the next day) I don't know what others will think of this, but it seems to work for us. Also, it makes sense to me and dh. After all, as adults if we misbehave, we have to deal with the consequences. IMHO.
 

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My SO did and still does this on occasion too. If his son didn't do what he asked him to, he kinda blew it off and would end up doing it for him. No consequence, nothing.<br><br>
Now, me, I don't do that. If something isn't done, (like shoes put away, meals cleaned up etc), it will sit there until step-son does it, and for each extra time it took him to do something, something is taken away or an extra chore is added. (Mind you, my step-son is 9). We will take away his video game time (ugh, I wish he didn't have any, but remember, I'm the step-mom...lol Wasn't my choice!), or something like that.<br><br>
Now my 4 year old, she listens well, most of the time, so I honestly don't really deal with this with her.... So, I'm no help there.
 

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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".<br><br>
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.<br><br>
Dar
 

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I can't really shed any light on your question, because I'm with you! If I ask DD to do something (put away her toys, or hang up her towel, or whatever), she DOES it. And if she doesn't do it within a reasonable amount of time, I will tell her that I am upset that she didn't do what I asked, or explain the natural consequences ("Wet towels on the bed get the bed wet.") And that's usually all it takes.<br><br>
My kid isn't stupid. If all I did was grumble as I picked up the toys or hung up the towels, she'd think she had a pretty sweet deal.<br><br>
Doing the job for your child after asking her to do it makes it clear to her that you aren't that married to the idea of her doing it herself.
 

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If I ask my chidlren to do something then they have a choice as to wether or not to do it. usually however I just tell them to do stuff because they do not indeed have choice. I don't say would, could you or please. i just asy "honey, time to get your shoe on" and if they don't do it then we address right then how they are a part of this fmaily and they are expected to help out. part of helping is doing what you are told when you are told to do. We explain why we have athourity and who has athourity over us and who has athourity over them etc. . .we also explain that they have to trust mom and dad. that we have ben around the block a few times and know what is going on and don't always have time to negotiate or go into details about the whys of our choices etc. . . they get this and they know that mom won't let it drop. that we wil work on it until we are all in agreement that what mom and dad says goes and they have a certain responsibility in this structure to make everything run smooth for everyone. Consitancy has made it such that I rarely have to ask twice and we rarely have power struggles but when we do we just work through it. My oldest one struggles but that is because I was so inconsistant when she was little and never had very low expecttions. So we just sort of sprung it on her all of a sudden.<br><br>
But I have read too the whole asking kids to do somehting and then doing it yourself while letting htem know how unhappy you are to have to clean up thier mess or whatever. I guess if it works for them but my theory is don't ask unless you are willing to cheerfully take no for an answer. Ocaisionally I will ask my children if they want to clean thier room or if they want me too (I haven't been very consistant in expecting this of them or putting in the time teaching them how to do it) and they will usually choose to do it themselves because when I do I throw stuff way, clear clutter, weed out toys, weed out clothes I don't like, find hidden stashes of stuff they wish would have stayed hidden etc . . . So whenI do something for them thre is usually a consequence. not so much punitive but a "if I have to do it I am going to do it in a way that suits me and maybe avois this problem next time" which rarely is what they desire. But then they had the choice to do it thier way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
After I posted my OP I figured that someone would comment on my using ask and tell interchangeably, but I didn't bother to fix it because colloquially ask and tell mean the same thing. I figured everyone would know what I meant. For clarification, if I say to my kids, "Would you please do this for me?" then I am asking a favor and they are free to refuse. But if I say, "Do this," that's a request and they are expected to obey.<br><br>
If my kids don't do what I ask them to do, they don't move on to the next activity. I don't make it a power struggle, though. Occasionally, they say no. I usually don't make a big deal of it when that happens. I leave the task undone or I do it for them. I don't lord over them making sure they obey me at all times, and I don't gripe about how upset it makes me to have to do it for them. I think we have struck a happy medium, and the fact that they generally do as they are asked/told is good enough for me. I am raising people, not robots. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
There is, however, a general expectation that when they are "told" do something, they do it. And generally they do. If they have a reason not to do something, such as "I can't clean up the books now because I'm still playing library," they generally don't have to do it then. If the reason is, "I just don't want to," well, they have to do it. I do lots of things for my family that I don't want to or don't feel like doing at that time. I do them because I am a member of the family and my contributions help keep the family running smoothly. Just because my kids are 2 feet shorter than me (yes, I'm short) does not entitle them to get out of contributing just because they "don't feel like it."<br><br>
I also make a concerted effort not to tell my kids to do something just for a lark. I tell them to clean up their toys before nap and before bed so that the house stays in reasonable working order. I tell them to take their dishes to the kitchen counter after meals so that I can load the dishwasher more easily. I tell them to get their own clothes so that I can get dressed first and then help them or so that I can be packing the diaper bag while they are getting socks/shoes. Their contributions to the family harmony are real and not contrived just so I can make them obey me.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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I also agree there's a big difference between 'ask' and 'tell'... When I 'ask' my children to do something, they can say no, or they can do it. No consequences. I won't 'ask' them to do something I'm expecting to be done right this moment... Does that make sense?<br><br>
If it's something they need to do (get ready to leave, brush their teeth, etc etc), they will be 'told' to do that.<br><br>
If it's a chore, that they know they have to do (we have chores written out on a simplified list, nothing major, age appropriate), then they're expected to do it. Period.
 

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Dar's post explains my position/experience on this as well (and better than I would have likely)<br><br>
I do not mind doing for them, and they do for me sometimes as well. In our house I probably wouldn't say "pick up your toys please." but something like "Do you think your toys are in a good place on the floor there? I'm wondering if someone might step on them or if they might get misplaced." If they left the toys there and it someone got hurt or we needed the space the toys were in/on for some other reason either I would move them out of the way, or I would ask my child to giving the reason why it needed to be done.<br><br>
Dishes, coats, etc same deal.
 

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I guess my only issue with some of the posts here is that many times someone will begin their posts with...<br><br>
"my child is usually great about doing chores/picking things up/helping with dishes...etc... but lately he will NOT put his coat away.. what should I do????????"<br><br>
(or something similar)<br><br>
In which case, I am usually thinking, what is the big deal? Put the coat away for the kid and be done with it... it is not worth it to me to get into huge power struggles over one or 2 little things...<br><br>
No, I don't plan on being a martyr and if my child flat out refused to do ANYTHING all the time...that it would be an issue to be addressed---- which I don't really foresee--as it has been my experience with EVERY child I have EVER known that basically, they all like to help out at least *some* of the time...<br><br>
So my theory on it is, in our home we all work as a family... for instance, the trash and dishes and lawn are *mostly* dh's thing and he does them 95% of the time... but occasionally I see the trash flowing over the can and ya know what? I freaking change it. I don't bitch, I don't coerce, I don't make a thing of it.. I just do it... as he does for me with the things that are usually my *jobs* (or whatever you want to call it)...<br><br>
Again, it would probably be an issue if someone in the family never did anything or helped at all ... but I don't see that as being a problem in many posts so I dunno what exactly the issue is sometimes...<br><br>
just my take...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dharmamama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If the reason is, "I just don't want to," well, they have to do it. I do lots of things for my family that I don't want to or don't feel like doing at that time. I do them because I am a member of the family and my contributions help keep the family running smoothly. Just because my kids are 2 feet shorter than me (yes, I'm short) does not entitle them to get out of contributing just because they "don't feel like it."</div>
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See mine don't have to do anything, at least under my authority.(For the purposes of this discussion I am excluding the extreme things and referring to normal, everday things)<br><br>
Of course we have guided them in thinking about their actions, and making responsible decisions and they know we value kindness and helpfulness but putting those things into action is their deal. We model the behaviors we like to see, but we can't force them to have them or act on them. Then it would be a power issue, and then they are helping because they have to...not because they feel it's right and good and kind. My goal isn't to have a child that helps because they must or because they are forced/required to because I said so, but because they want to & they feel good about doing so.<br><br>
I do lots of things for my family too, but sometimes I don't. Somedays I decide that I am not making dinner because I would rather be on the computer, or that the bathtub can be scrubbed later because I am more into something else. I can't imagine my kids telling me that I can't knit until I get the bathtub cleaned <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> and likewise they don't have to do one thing before they can do another.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>captain crunchy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Again, it would probably be an issue if someone in the family never did anything or helped at all ...</div>
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Right. I mean if suddenly no one else in my home was doing anything but me, I would probably start to feel frustrated (and tired!) and I would address it with them. It has yet to happen <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
My son's "job" somehow came to be taking the garbage out. He mostly gets to it before it's overflowing or icky, and sometimes he doesn't. So someone else will.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I do lots of things for my family too, but sometimes I don't. Somedays I decide that I am not making dinner because I would rather be on the computer, or that the bathtub can be scrubbed later because I am more into something else. I can't imagine my kids telling me that I can't knit until I get the bathtub cleaned and likewise they don't have to do one thing before they can do another.</td>
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My sentiments exactly...<br><br>
...it all depends on where the parent is coming from too. Me, I come from the perspective that my children are equal to me...of course being younger and in my care, they may not have *all* the same privledges all the time... but they have the same basic rights and choices with respect to things that don't endanger their safety etc...<br><br>
Things like picking up toys and the like are issues that aren't worth it to me to fight about or have power struggles over... again, if it got to the point where they NEVER EVER once, EVER picked up ANY toys.. I may say something honest like-- look, mama is willing to pick up 10 toys every day but not 25..so if you don't feel like helping, mama is only getting out as many toys as she feels like picking up, deal? (or something similar) To me that is something along the lines of not being punitive, or coercive... it is somewhat restrictive in that they won't get to take out 25 toys, but again, they do have the choice and it puts boundries on what I am willing to do...<br><br>
but again, I don't anticipate those kinds of problems.. I have yet to see a child who NEVER helped with ANYTHING ever...
 

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The only job my kids are 'required' to do is to clean up their toys. They are asked to do this once a day. With three kids, my house would be completely trashed if I didn't and if I waited for them to decide to do it, well it just wouldn't happen. I'll usually give them a reason to do it like, I need to run the vacuum, or let's clean up and make the house look nice when Daddy gets home from work, etc. This usually helps. The toys belong to them, not me. I'm not a maid for my kids, but I will help them sometimes. I have separate bins for dress up clothes, barbies, baby dolls, etc., so cleaning isn't hard. They have a habit of just dumping things into any container when the mess is big. Every now and then, I'll go in the playroom and help sort the toys back into the containers. Other than that, it's their responsibility. We have talked about the fact that as a family, we each have the responsibility to help out around the house.
 

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As for chores, we just sorta choose the chores we most enjoy (or least dislike). Everyone helps out. I like to do dishes and tidy the house (the whole house, including dd's things), dh likes to do the laundry--sorting thru folding and putting away, dd likes to care for the dogs and scrub things and help prepare the table for dinner. So no one is generally told what to do--we just see the need to be done (the dog is barking to go out, dd lets him out) and do it. I never tell dd to clean her toys, but she will often help me clean up her toys. As long as she is a willing, helpful member of the household, I don't care if she specifically cleans up her own toys.<br><br>
As for getting dressed, I consider that a developmental milestone. If dd wants to be "babied", I will dress her as long as she likes. If she is not wanting to get dressed even with my help, then there is probably a need to be addressed. I would work to sort that out, and then we would get her dressed. I simply can not believe that she will want me to dress her at 13, so I don't sweat that one <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>UnschoolnMa</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">. My goal isn't to have a child that helps because they must or because they are forced/required to because I said so, but because they want to & they feel good about doing so. .</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod">:
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dharmamama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I noticed that other parents have said that if they ask their child to do something and they child doesn't do it, they do it for them while saying something like, "I don't like having to do this for you."<br><br>
I'm wondering what people are hoping their kids learn from this. It seems to me that if you ask a child to do something and the child says no and you do it for him, what the child is learning is that if he doesn't want to do something, he doesn't have to, no big deal.<br><br>
That's not what I want my kids to learn. I want them to learn that, as part of the family, they have responsibilities to the family, regardless of whether they feel like it or not.</div>
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What I want my kid to learn is that we all work together, and if one of us is not feeling up to doing their part, then another is going to pitch in, even if it causes inconvenience, and even if we don't particularly like the task at hand;that I have expectations, but I understand that no one can meet expectations all the time; that he has choices that can give him a sense of self-worth -- hey, when I do this, Mom really appreciates it and it adds something of value to the family, but when I don't, it really throws a wrench in the smooth functioning of our lives. I want him to learn that things really do work better when everyone does their part, and that some things just have to get done, no matter how that happens.<br><br>
I think this works to teach him those things because I think that kids inherently want to do the right thing, and I think with strong enough modeling, clear enough expectations, clear enough family values, he will learn to do things in the spirit of cooperation and responsibility -- and not learn to do them because I tell him to and I have all the power.<br><br>
I hope that's clear. I'm typing one-handed. I <i>do</i> want to make clear that I don't think my way of doing things is the only way to accomplish these goals; it's simply the way I have chosen.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lilyka</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So whenI do something for them thre is usually a consequence. not so much punitive but a "if I have to do it I am going to do it in a way that suits me and maybe avois this problem next time" which rarely is what they desire. But then they had the choice to do it thier way.</div>
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Hahaha YUP! Like the if I have to pick up the Legos, they will get put up on top of the kitchen cabinets and not back in his room where he can play with them whenever he feels like it.
 

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I'm not very comfortable with the idea of punishing my kid for not doing what I say. Granted dd is still so little that I can't expect all that much from her in terms of doing stuff for herself. But I don't like strong-arm, I-will-make-you-obey-me tactics.<br><br>
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.<br><br>
There's a difference between expecting kids to be helpful vs. expecting them to be obedient. I am always amazed how happy dd is to "help" with stuff. She gets a huge sense of pride when she can assist me. However, she is not a fan of doing what people tell her. Specifically she seems to resist a certain kind of tone or expectation or pressure when it comes to cleaning up. I suppose it's partially because she's not capable of cleaning hardly anything on her own yet, so it's kind've expecting too much to ask her to. (She is uncomfortable doing stuff she's not competant at.)<br><br>
I agree with pp that it's important to teach kids that everyone must help out in a family, but I'm not sure what kind of role obedience plays in that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks, PaganScribe, that's a great answer.<br><br>
Btw, I DO help my kids get dressed. What I don't help them do (generally) is pick out their clothes. They are perfectly capable of picking a shirt from the shirt drawer, pants from the pants drawer, and socks/underwear from the socks/underwear drawer. In the past, when they have asked me to help them pick out their clothes, they generally don't like whatever I pick. So I've pretty much washed my hands of that one.<br><br>
Namaste!
 
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