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<p>Okay, I'm trying to think this one through because I can't decide if it's a symptom that I'm doing something horribly wrong in my parenting and need to change directions.  Be gentle with me, GD mamas.  :)</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>Background</strong>:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We have a 20x10 room in our basement that we remodeled to serve as a playroom for the kids.  We do have toys upstairs and art/music stuff upstairs, but the bulk of the kids' toys are downstairs - Playmobil, dollhouse, Lego table, floor puzzles, etc.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I wanted the playroom because our living room is 8x12 and I didn't want to make the kids completely pick up the games they were in the middle of every single day -- my kids are 5 & 4 and play elaborate, long scenarios with Playmobil figures several times a week with one another - I don't mind letting them leave some of it out from day-to-day, because I know that's important to them, and I have established that we clean the playroom and vacuum it one day each week and start fresh.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I have culled the toys to the point that everything in there, with the exception of the Lego table and a few PM buildings, fits on two, 4-shelf units (plastic utility shelves from Lowes).  The tiny bits from PM I ask them to simply put in shoebox-sized bins.  I should also note that I rotate Playmobil stuff:  we have 9 rubbermaid totes full of stuff and I rotate regularly -- if the kids want the knights, they trade me for the police bin, etc.  I tried keeping it all out together (because it was really, really cool to see the knights and the police work together against the pirates, who were pillaging the family house, etc.) - but it was just too much for me and the kids to keep clean.  We have _so_ much PM.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Anyway....</p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>What Happened</strong>:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I asked the kids to please go downstairs and start picking up toys in the playroom, that I was going to start vacuuming upstairs and would work my way downstairs to finish with the playroom (our house is not that big; it would take me 15-20 minutes to get down there, maybe, if I were slow).  We do this every week and we call it Speed Clean! - the kids are totally capable of it.  Basically, I don't care where on the shelves things go, just that they're off the floor so I can vacuum.  It isn't always neat but I justify that with their ages.  ;)  I really don't care how "tidy" it is, I just want them to get into a habit of picking stuff up and maintaining the space.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I wanted to get this done quickly because my dh was leaving yesterday for a week and we wanted to do something special as a family before he left -- we planned to get the house picked up and go swimming at a local hotel pool -- a HUGE treat for my kids.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I told them our plans, and the kids raced downstairs to start.  Everyone was excited.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Well, they got distracted by playing with the toys.  I could hear them, and I would wander downstairs - ostensibly to check the laundry, etc., but I was sort of checking up on them.  I would peek in, see that they were playing and not picking up, and warn them that I was nearly finished upstairs and would be coming down shortly.  The third time I did this, I told them very clearly that this was a task we needed to do this morning and that after we did this, we would be able to go swimming.  I used a kind, gentle voice.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>When I came downstairs, I found nothing done.  Nothing.  In fact, they had made even more of a mess.</p>
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<p>My voice got considerably stronger and I told them that this was their last chance to clean up the playroom - that all they had to do was pick up the toys - and that I was asking them for the Very Last Time to clean up so that we could go and go swimming with Dad!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They were agreeable:  "Okay, Mom!", all smiles.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>About twenty minutes later they came upstairs.  My son said, in a bright and chipper voice:  "Mom, we decided not to clean up.  We don't have to go anywhere.  We can just stay home and not clean up."</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Dh and I were floored:  it was not that big of a task and there was a big happy day after they completed just that one task.</p>
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<p>All we said was, well, we don't have to go anywhere but you do still have to clean up like I _asked_ you to please do.</p>
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<p>They ignored us and went straight for the lunch I had on the table.  I repeated their names and they still didn't look up.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I made my feelings clear:  that we were NOT going to go anywhere but they STILL had to clean up.  Not negotiable.</p>
<p>They continued eating as if they hadn't heard us.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I was so frustrated and wondered if my children were turning into brats.  I do not like the labeling of children with negative words, but it was all I could wonder that afternoon - what am I doing wrong that I could treat them with respect and spell out my plans pretty exactly and they would ignore me???!?!!?!!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Dh and I had them start their quiet time (daily 30 minutes in their rooms/quiet house/alone by themselves) after I explained that if there were too many toys in the playroom that they couldn't clean them up and felt like it was too large of a task -- that I was going to put some of the toys away.  I did not do this out of anger and retaliation, but I really feel like picking up toys and putting them on a shelf with minimal direction is sort of age appropriate for these kids. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I stored some things into another rubbermaid and we're down to dollhouse, police station with police PM, floor puzzles, and Legos/Lego table in that room.  It all fit on one shelf.  The other shelf is bare now.  Oh, and the dress-up clothes are in another bin on the floor, but that was it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The kids' only response when they walked in was "Okay.  I like to play Police!"  I had no negative feedback from that whatsoever.</p>
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<p><strong>My musings:</strong></p>
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<p>Are my kids turning into kids who think it's okay to ignore me?  This was a clear, routine task that I asked them to do.  I did not give them an option - I assigned them the task and walked away, just like I do every week.  I've just never had this response before. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>This happened after a _terrible_ week.  Failed playdates, lousy weather = couldn't play outside, tired kids .....</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I decided to start anew this week and began today with a bright smile on my face and decided we were just going to start over again.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I can't bounce this off friends IRL very much since most people in my town are very much in favor of spanking and would have simply replied that their kids would have gotten a good spanking and, wait, no ... would never have done that in the first place because their kids would have known that they would get a spanking for outright rebellion/disobedience to their parents.</p>
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<p>Any thoughts?</p>
<p>I'm sorry this is long.</p>
 

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Everyone who lives in my house contributes to its care.. well, except the cat. Little hands may spend time in their stripped rooms until they remember they are useful. Even my breadwinning dh may be seen doing dishes or using a broom when things get busy around here. A nice home is nicer to live in.. easier to have friends over and a joy to find your stuff because it has a "home".<br><br>
So, some may disagree but more time outs and more role - modeling are what I'd try with those two.
 

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<p>Well, not that I am excusing it... but, it did sound optional.  As if you said "clean up, and THEN we can go somewhere".  So, they heard, "Or we can stay home, and you can play instead".</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Give it another chance, but next time, say "Go pick up the playroom"... then don't give them the chance to start playing.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>If they still won't clean up, maybe it's time for the playroom to be something else for a while.  </p>
 

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<p> On the plus side it sounds like they had a well reasoned response to your request to clean and understood that the consequence of not cleaning would be no hotel pool. It sounds like you were pretty surprised by their decision--I would have been too--plus it didn't jibe with what you were wanting/expecting to happen!! That would have stumped me too!!!! My DD is so far responsive to the "After you do x chore we can do Y treat-thing." So I guess If that was what I had told her the deal was I would have had to accept it of she decided she would rather stay home and not clean. Then we would start fresh the next day and I might think about discussing a change in the rules with her.</p>
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<p>But you told them they had to clean it regardless and they did not. Correct? I guess in that case I would have either gone into the playroom and closely supervised a "forced" clean up. Or I would have done as you did and remove toys.</p>
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<p>I'd probably let them know that until they showed me that they could be responsible for the toys, by putting them away when I asked them to, I would continue to remove them. So I guess basically the consequence would be a daily removal of toys until they decided to reverse the situation and earn them back by cleaning them up when asked.... hope that makes sense...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>By the way I don't think they were being brats. :)</p>
 

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<p><br>
I'm going to try to give you a different perspective on your day.</p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>hopefulfaith</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1304264/mom-we-decided-not-to-clean-up-wwyd-long#post_16336575"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><br><p> </p>
<p>I wanted to get this done quickly because my dh was leaving yesterday for a week and we wanted to do something special as a family before he left -- we planned to get the house picked up and go swimming at a local hotel pool -- a HUGE treat for my kids.</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">Yes this would have been a HUGE treat for you kids but, honestly it was also a nice treat for you and your DH. You both were really looking forward to having a special family time before he left.</span></p>
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<p>Well, they got distracted by playing with the toys.  I could hear them, and I would wander downstairs - ostensibly to check the laundry, etc., but I was sort of checking up on them.  I would peek in, see that they were playing and not picking up, and warn them that I was nearly finished upstairs and would be coming down shortly.  The third time I did this, I told them very clearly that this was a task we needed to do this morning and that after we did this, we would be able to go swimming.  I used a kind, gentle voice.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>When I came downstairs, I found nothing done.  Nothing.  In fact, they had made even more of a mess.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>My voice got considerably stronger and I told them that this was their last chance to clean up the playroom - that all they had to do was pick up the toys - and that I was asking them for the Very Last Time to clean up so that we could go and go swimming with Dad!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>They were agreeable:  "Okay, Mom!", all smiles.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>About twenty minutes later they came upstairs.  My son said, in a bright and chipper voice:  "Mom, we decided not to clean up.  We don't have to go anywhere.  We can just stay home and not clean up."</p>
<p> </p>
<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">Your children are very smart. I mean that you should be proud that they can use reason, and weigh their options. They thought about their potential day and decided that even though going to the pool is fun, the play they were experiencing was even more valuable to them.  This is where you have to remember that the special day was just as much, if not more so for you and your DH than the kids at this point. </span></p>
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<p>Dh and I were floored:  it was not that big of a task and there was a big happy day after they completed just that one task.</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">To the kids though they were getting their happy day, it just wasn't the day you planned.  I'm sure you were both shocked and probably a little hurt. You went out of your way to plan something  out of the ordinary for them, a family day, but they preferred the same play they always get over quality time with you and your husband. Of course you would feel slighted.</span></p>
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<p>All we said was, well, we don't have to go anywhere but you do still have to clean up like I _asked_ you to please do.</p>
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<p>They ignored us and went straight for the lunch I had on the table.  I repeated their names and they still didn't look up.</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">Here is where you are running into problems. You probably  were already feeling tender that the kids chose Playmobile over a fun day with Mom and Dad and then you encountered possible disrespect as they ate lunch. I'm not sure why your kids were ignoring you. On the surface it sounds like they were being willfull, but I can't say for sure since my DD and my DH can get zoned out pretty easily. Either way,  this would be the time to  engage them with your thoughts and feeling about the situation.   You guys felt hurt and angry they were ignoring you and felt they were trying to disrespect you.   You were also feeling pressured to get a resolution because DH is leaving. </span></p>
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<p>I made my feelings clear:  that we were NOT going to go anywhere but they STILL had to clean up.  Not negotiable.</p>
<p>They continued eating as if they hadn't heard us.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">I might have broken the line of sight between food and kid for a moment, to try to get the conversation going.</span></p>
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<p>I was so frustrated and wondered if my children were turning into brats.  I do not like the labeling of children with negative words, but it was all I could wonder that afternoon - what am I doing wrong that I could treat them with respect and spell out my plans pretty exactly and they would ignore me???!?!!?!!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Dh and I had them start their quiet time (daily 30 minutes in their rooms/quiet house/alone by themselves) after I explained that if there were too many toys in the playroom that they couldn't clean them up and felt like it was too large of a task -- that I was going to put some of the toys away.  I did not do this out of anger and retaliation, but I really feel like picking up toys and putting them on a shelf with minimal direction is sort of age appropriate for these kids. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I stored some things into another rubbermaid and we're down to dollhouse, police station with police PM, floor puzzles, and Legos/Lego table in that room.  It all fit on one shelf.  The other shelf is bare now.  Oh, and the dress-up clothes are in another bin on the floor, but that was it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>The kids' only response when they walked in was "Okay.  I like to play Police!"  I had no negative feedback from that whatsoever.</p>
<p> </p>
<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">You don't want negative feedback, do you? You wrote that you took the toys away to help keep the area clean, but specifically not out of retaliation. </span> <span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">I think what you are really looking for is an apology for ignoring you and some kind of understanding that you and DH were hurt by their actions.  You'd also  like to have a plan in the future for all of you so that ignoring you is not an acceptable response, even if they don't want to talk they should come up with a time to respond to what you are saying and aknowledge you said anything at all.  Maybe a  some kind of I heard you and I will respond in 5 minutes? If that's an acceptable compromise to everyone?</span> <span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">It would be easier to suggest a plan if  we knew why they felt justified in ignoring you, then you combat the specifics.</span></p>
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<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>My musings:</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Are my kids turning into kids who think it's okay to ignore me?  This was a clear, routine task that I asked them to do.  I did not give them an option - I assigned them the task and walked away, just like I do every week.  I've just never had this response before. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>This happened after a _terrible_ week.  Failed playdates, lousy weather = couldn't play outside, tired kids .....</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">I think this speaks volumes about the whole incident, you guys had a hard week and this just compounded things for you. It also explains why this special day was so important to you. You saw the day not only as special in that it would be a nice family day but it was maybe a way for you to reconnect with your kids after a trying week.</span></p>
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<p>I decided to start anew this week and began today with a bright smile on my face and decided we were just going to start over again.</p>
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<p>I can't bounce this off friends IRL very much since most people in my town are very much in favor of spanking and would have simply replied that their kids would have gotten a good spanking and, wait, no ... would never have done that in the first place because their kids would have known that they would get a spanking for outright rebellion/disobedience to their parents.</p>
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<p> </p>
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<p>Any thoughts?</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">Basically my thoughts on how to precede</span> <span style="color:rgb(0,100,0);">realize how much the day meant to you, tell your kids.  Find out  their reasons, and views on what happened. Listen honestly, trying to see it from their point of view ( even if that point of view is problematic or would get them in trouble in "the real" world".) Tell them your fears, honestly. Tell them you are worried that there is a lack of compassion and respect, try to work together to make plans to avoid these problems in the future. Your kids sound smart and very creative I'm sure they can come up with some interesting ideas.</span></p>
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<p>One thing I would add is that if I tell my dd (4yo) that we are going to do something out of the ordinary (birthday party, swimming, playdate, etc.) it becomes less likely that the time between when I tell her and when we leave the house will go smoothly.  For me, although it is tempting to use such things as bait for helpfulness, that plan almost always backfires...I think because it adds stress to the situation.  I think the best time to tell her about the outing is when it is time to put on her outside things and get in the car.  I am NOT good at waiting to tell her -- I am always excited to let her in on the plan, and I like to let her know what our day looks like in advance.  I at least try really hard not to hang the special thing over her head as incentive or something she has to earn.</p>
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<p>For what it's worth, my 4yo's mantra right now is "I hate cleaning up" every time we ask her to do any cleaning up.  So, it sounds like you have things worked out nicely in your home )</p>
 

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<p>Your kids didn't sound like they were being bratty, crabby or even intentionally defiant.  And I say this as a very strict mom who will not tolerate disrespect, disobedience or defiance.  However, It does sounds like your kids were really into what they were playing and used reason and consequences and CHOSE to play instead.  And were so caught up in what they were doing they seem rather oblivious to your gentle reminders and request.</p>
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<p>What I would have done:</p>
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<p>First i would not have even mentioned something fun.  You were not barganning with your kids. This was not an either or request.  Two facts.  You will clean, then we will go have family fun time.  Neither is optional.  Also as soon as they started playing instead of cleaning I would have upped my supervision.  No gentle reminders.  I would have stopped their play right then and there and stayed there while they cleaned.  Also if I give my kids a chore they do not move on until it is done (well, mine are at an age where their chores could take several hours but since we are talking about something that should not have taken more than 30 minutes tops...).  That includes lunch.  If I told my kids to do something (clean up their toys) I would not have offered lunch until it was done.  We would not have moved on (And at that age I would expect chores to take my 100% supervision)  until the first task was done.  </p>
<p>u</p>
<p>I also physically direct my kids.  I never give instructions to kids that age without touching (a hug, a hand on the shoulder, holding their hand etc) them somehow.  making a physical connection.  It helped my kids tune into me especially when their brains were a million miles away.</p>
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<p>In this situation it does sound like they were really into their game and would rather miss fun than put everything away.  Since it was that important I would have let my children keep their toys out.  But only if they had asked me rather than just  disobeying.</p>
 

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<p><br>
I agree with this. My first response was to laugh, because, well, it was so off the wall it came across as funny, and OH so recognizeable to me. On the one hand it is great that your kids can be that honest with you! To feel that free to state their preference. I think that's great. And yes, it's totally understandable that they inferred that if they didn't really want to go on the special trip, they could just choose not to clean up. It sounded to me like you linked those two things pretty tightly; it's natural they'd get the wrong idea. Next time, if you REALLY want to use the event or trip to be an incentive, it needs to be sort of rock solid.....something they would NEVER want to miss out on. And it's hard to always be sure of that.</p>
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<p>I didn't get the impression that they were being intentionally "bad" at all. And the whole distractability thing while cleaning....that is what we go through too. My son just can't hold it together in a sea of toys; he needs serious help not being overwhelmed by all the temptation and confusion.</p>
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<p>OK, now I'm going to go read the rest of the posts and see what everyone else said.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1304264/mom-we-decided-not-to-clean-up-wwyd-long#post_16336693"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Well, not that I am excusing it... but, it did sound optional.  As if you said "clean up, and THEN we can go somewhere".  So, they heard, "Or we can stay home, and you can play instead".</p>
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<p>Give it another chance, but next time, say "Go pick up the playroom"... then don't give them the chance to start playing.  </p>
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<p>If they still won't clean up, maybe it's time for the playroom to be something else for a while.  </p>
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<p>Yay! HeliMom....you nailed it.<br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>HeliMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1304264/mom-we-decided-not-to-clean-up-wwyd-long#post_16336784"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><br>
I'm going to try to give you a different perspective on your day.</p>
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<p>It sounds like they were having a good time and didn't want to go out of the house.  From the way the kids told you their choice it sounds like even if you didn't mean to give a choice they interpreted it as a choice.  It may be that in the past they have cleaned up quickly because the game of cleaning was more engaging than the game they were playing but this time that wasn't the case.  When my dd is very into a game she sometimes chooses to stay home and play rather than clean up and go out even after being home all week because of illness or the weather.  It is very frustrating for me when we have been cooped up for a long time and she chooses to be cooped up longer because I really need to get out.  I have learned not to make requests when I recognize that I have to get out of the house, though I also try to balance that with dd's needs for days when we just stay home.     </p>
<p><br>
I have found that when my dd is playing a lot when I have told her she needs to clean up she needs to be quickly redirected so she doesn't get wrapped up in a game.  I suggest going down to redirect them to clean up and not play next time you hear them start to play.</p>
 

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<p>I'm sorry, but I laughed too when I read your OP. Your kids sound cute, and not bratty at all!!!</p>
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<p>But...maybe they dn't take you seriously enough. I would have been surprised too (not mad but definitely shocked) but at the point where they ignored you and continued to eat, I would have slid their plates across the table and repeated myself when I had their full attention.</p>
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<p>And then, after lunch, they would have cleaned up while I supervised.</p>
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<p>And next time, make sure you point out to them , "we are doing x y and z today and this needs to be done whether we go or not." I didn't think yu were unclear, but you know how kids are....selective hearing. So just to make sure you've got your bases covered.</p>
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<p>sometimes, with my ds I will ask him "d you understand?" and wait for a verbal reply, or ask him to repeat back to me exactly how things are going to go. That way, I know there is no confusion.</p>
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<p>If it makes you feel any better, ds and I had a lengthy discussion tonight about why, since he had to go to bed because it was dark outside, why he couldn't simply take his blocks downstairs and outside and continue to play under the streetlight, because it wasn't dark there, so clearly that area was a bedtime free zone. The way kids' minds work......</p>
 

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<p>I have a 7 and 3 year old. They would totally have done the same thing! However, when something has to get clean, I wouldn't have phrased it as what we could do if they followed my plan. It would have been "Today's plan is clean, have lunch, go to the pool." Not cleaned? It had to start right then before it became a power struggle. "Finish before I get down there or I will put all the toys in a bag." And I'd have put everything on the floor and anything else out in any way into a trash bag and put it in my closet. In 24 hours, they would get the bag back, with the same directions. If I walk by again and they're not cleaning, all the toys get bagged and put away. </p>
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<p>Or if they got to running to the lunch table and ignoring me speaking to them (that is my very biggest annoyance), I would have picked up their lunch plates and directed them back downstairs with a timer to finish the cleanup.</p>
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<p>I would have bagged enough toys that it would be a definite annoyance for them, and I would ignore them saying that they "don't care." That's testing to see if your behavior will change if they are non-chalant about the missing toys.  </p>
 

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Discussion Starter #13
<p>Wow, I am overwhelmed by your kind responses, mamas.  Thank you so much, from my heart.</p>
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<p>I was really sad and scared when I was thinking that I was failing as a parent, when I posted, and I really, truly didn't see the other sides you pointed out:  that my kids paired the cleaning/fun thing together and viewed it me offering an option.  Also, the role of my own feelings in this scenario never even crossed my mind.  I think I was viewing the swimming as a sort of redemptive activity from the awful, terrible week the kids and I had had together -- and when it was turned down, how my feelings got in the way of seeing what was going on.</p>
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<p>I think that I am going to have to work more on communicating clearly in situations like these.  Also, I think that compassion and respect need more focus from me in re: the ignoring when I spoke.  That does still bother me, but I think I can work on that.</p>
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<p>We are having a much, much better week this week, btw, and the kids have been really responsive and loving.  My dh is gone for the week on business and the kids and I have been just hanging out a lot, eating scrambled eggs for dinner and reading aloud for an hour afterward, all snuggly - I am waking up to find a kid on either side of me in the middle of the night, and we're really reconnecting this week.  It's a good place to start from when I am trying to model love and respect and compassion to them.</p>
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<p>Thank you all, so much.</p>
 

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<p>I just wanted to say that I think your kids sound delightful. Definitely not bratty! The way you wrote it in your OP I read it as a polite explanation of their decision. Bratty for me would be rudely telling you that they weren't going to clean up and then having a tantrum when you explained that the pool trip was off because they hadn't cleaned up.</p>
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