Answers – or at least ideas

It seems that every family hits that point where you make changes or just die trying.  We hit that point.  It seems that every time I turn around the kids are squabling and quarraling and Mom turns Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide unleashy her nasty little self.  I ask them to do dishes and there’s a fight, I ask them to pick up and there’s a fight, I say lets go to the park and there’s a fight while trying to find shoes, I say it’s time for bed and there’s world war III,  I half expect to look at them cross-eyed and find another reason to break into a family brawl.  The cleaning and picking up thing seemed to be a main source of contention – and despite the feelings of “fine I’ll just do i t myself” I knew that was unreallistic and wouldn’t help a thing – and definitely wouldn’t teach the children the value of work and responsibility.

This is where big sisters come in handy.  I was talking to her about my woes and my foibles and like big sisters usually do she listened. (yay big sister!) 🙂  Then she reminded me of things that would make my job easier.  The silly thing to me was that these things were things I already knew about and had just failed to implement them.  Things such as chore charts and check lists so the children knew what was expected of the them (duh!) and immediate consequences and rewards.  “Yay you did the job, lets go to the park!” (and have located shoes previously so as not to break into a brawl at that point, heh).  So yesterday I had a little chat with my children, that went something like this:

We are a family and everyone is an important part.  As part of this family each of you is expected to do certain chores and do them happily.  You have to work – you’ll have to work all your life and complaining about it isn’t going to make it go away.  So, this is what we are going to do.  I will make chore charts and they will list what is expected of each of you.  When I ask for help doing dishes or cleaning up you will not argue, but say “yes mom” and do it happily.  Any complaint will bring double the work.  All chores must be completed before play, trips, and other fun stuff.  As far as crafts and projects go – I like to do them, and I want to do them but they make a big mess and then I have complainers about picking up the mess.  If you want to do crafts this summer you need to show me you are willing to pick up happily, and not give me complaints about picking up afterwards.

They all kind of just stood there with semi-blank looks on their faces, until I asked them if they agreed and then they enthusiastically said yes.  So, I get to do some chore chart planning and such today, and hope that while it won’t cure all of our woes, it might at least lessen some of the fighting and stress.  At least I can hope it will keep our home a little cleaner (and thus happier).  So, back to the basics for me (funny how that always seems to solve things) and if I can just remember constantly that a “soft answer turneth away wrath” then I might just make it through the summer with at least a shred of sanity in place.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Answers – or at least ideas

  1. Thank you soooo much for this post. We, too, have been having lots of stressful days with kids fighting and uncooperative around the house. Reading this has inspired me to do something similar (chore charts). Thanks. It’s nice to know other families are going through the same things :).

    I think the craziest thing is that as a piano teacher when students are having a hard time parcticing and parents are sick of reminding them, etc. I tell them to make a chart – then it is the child’s resonsibility to mark and the parent only has to assume it is done and ask, “hey, don’t forget to mark you chart… or …. did you mark your chart?” which then reminds the child to do it if they haven’t and lessens some of the stress – theoretichally anyway. And yet, I have failed to implement charts with my kids. I just shook my head in wonder and am glad my sister brought it up.

    It is definitely nice to know we are not alone in the battle. 🙂

  2. Isn’t it funny how easy it is to forget the most basic things? By the time I’ll need the suggestions, I will have forgotten them again, I’m sure. Please remind me!

    It is funny. 🙂 We will remind you- that’s the nice thing about having lots of friends and family with kids at similar and different ages and stages we can remind and glean information from them. I’m always pestering my sisters, “Help, what do I do now!” 🙂

  3. Let me know if your chart works 🙂 I will be implementing a similar idea soon actually…

    Definitely – nothing will work 100% and I know we will have to change ships eventually- sometime down the road, but hopefully it will at least help for a while. Good luck on implementing your idea. If you don’t mind, let us know what you try and how it works, then we can have some extra idea. 🙂

  4. mcinsane

    Aren’t charts amazing?! Of course, with me, they work for the first little while and then the kids forget about them and the starting begins again! I hope you have better luck than I! 😀
    Here’s to harmony in our homes!

  5. zoo

    i watch the nanny a lot just in case i’m ever surprised with a little hooligan of my own. based on the theory your children are you magnified, i figure i better be ultra prepared. sounds like she won’t have to make a stop at your house any time soon. hehe
    let us know how the chart goes. you oughtta give ’em stickers so they can mark their progress. i was a sucker for stickers when i was a little one.
    (ok, i might still be.)

    I watch the nanny from time to time to – just to confirm to myself that my kids aren’t nearly the little hooligans that other kids are – you know that gratitude thing, be grateful for what you have because it could be a whole lot worse. 🙂 Oh, and they do have some really good ideas on there sometimes too. 🙂

  6. Sometimes it stinks to be the older sister cuz the other siblings call for suggestions all the time and a lot of the time i have no idea!!!
    (I’m actually the 2nd youngest of 6 kids, but my kids are the oldest, and over the years I’ve moved into the place of oldest sister even though I’m not!)

    That would be tough – thankfully I am the youngest and my oldest sister is 7 1/2 years older than me. While a few of our kids are the same age – her youngest ones and my older ones, she has teenagers already, so she has a plethera of ideas of what has worked and what hasn’t. If you ever want to borrow her sage advice let me know. 🙂

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