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Friday, June 19, 2009

Go Ahead - Give Your Kids What They Want!

In the spirit of this article from At the well and this one from We are THAT family, I now give you the below article from the talented (love how she writes) Dana from Composing Hallelujahs! (the new host of Motivate Me Monday). Dana is a Texas wife and blog-at-home mom of four. When she's not blogging, you'll find her homeschooling her cowboy-to-be son and three dancing-princess daughters. She also enjoys decorating cakes, blasting the house with heart pounding worship music and learning to ballroom dance with her silly romantic husband.

Go Ahead. Give Your Kids What They Want!

so maybe you're thinking, "Oh great, she's one of those mothers!" You know, the kind that lets her kids run wild, eat sugary snacks all day long and let's them do, go, and have anything and everything and then claim they're just "expressing themselves".

but notice i didn't suggest you give your kids EVERYTHING they want. {mm-hmm. still wondering? read on}

i'm actually a rather strict mom, compared to the "average jo" kind of mom at least. We have rules {probably too many in some people's eyes} and we do our best to be consistent and require obedience and respect and all that good stuff. {but please don't think they are all perfect little angels. cute? definitely. funny? for sure. perfect? yeah right!} I'm no Capt. VonTrap with a whistle, but the shoes stay off the furniture, no jumping on the beds and so on and so forth...

I'm also a teeny tiny itty bitty bit of a control freak/perfectionist {insert embarrased chuckle here}. That does NOT mean my house is in perfect order, but it means that I like to do certain things a certain way! So, I end up saying no to the kids quite a bit when they want to do something... like {gasp} help me with something! {which is probably WHY my house isn't in perfect order cause i'm trying to do it all myself}

now, i'm not talking about giving them the toy they whined for in the store {goodness gracious, no, never do that!}, i'm talking about giving them the feeling of value and belonging they desire, but don't know to put into those words.

some statements i usually say "no" to {normally without thinking, the "no" just comes out automatically} are things like...

"Can I help?" "No" {because it will go faster if i just do it}

or "Can I do the dishes?" "No" {cause i don't want to clean up a watery mess}

or "Can I vacuum?" "No" {it's too heavy for you and i don't want you to break something or scratch the baseboards}

or "Can I go with you?" "No" {because mommy needs some quiet time even if it is at the super crowded and noisy grocery store}

isnt' that silly of me?!?! and then... and then we wonder why it's a struggle to get the kids to help with the chores when they are older. sooo, i'm working on throwing caution to the wind {uh, not really throwing, more like underhand tossing} when it comes to giving my kids what they want. {but really it's what they need}.

When it comes to contributing to the family unit, our children need to feel that they are important and valuable to the survival of the family {this is also why we have chosen NOT to give an money/allowance for everyday chores, but only for above and beyond things and projects, like preparing a garden bed, helping dad build something, etc...}. Being a part of something bigger than themselves gives them a reason to work hard and remain committed and "loyal" {that's one reason why gangs are so appealing to many youth}

so next time your little one is wanting to water and weed the garden {even though they might pull up an actual plant or drown another}, or get the clothes out of the dryer {even thought half of them get dropped on the dusty laundry room floor}, or tag along on a trip to lowes {even though you were hoping for a moment of quiet}... show them how much you love them and just give'em what they want! ;)


The Topiary Lady said...

Having 4 boys that "don't" ask "Can I do .....?" because they would rather be playing....

I devised a system to help me keep the house neat. They are homeschooled, ages 6,7,9 and 11 and are totally into computer games, of course. However, I limit their playing time and used to give them a fee 30 minutes to play. Anything extra they had to work for. Then I decided one day to make them work for all of their minutes. I printed out some fake money in 5, 10 and 15 increments. They each have a mug and everytime they do a specific chore, they can look on the chart and see how many minutes it's worth and put it in their mug. This worked brilliantly during the winter. My house was clean!! They were fighting over cleaning the toilet (the most minutes).

The bottom line is they are learning to clean the house, they know how now and get a reward for helping!! And, when you teach them how to do it right, it really works!!

Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

I really enjoyed this article and I also say no rather too much. I have started encouraging my 2 kids to make their beds in the morning with help from me at the moment. They set the dinner table too. It is hard allowing them to do these things and always takes twice as long as if I done it, but we are training them!

Love Collette x

Anonymous said...

This is great. It reminds of how small children (and big ones, too, I suppose) will whine for attention...or our time. Often, children "act out" to get our attention.

I read "How to Really Love your Child" and boy did it open my eyes. The author talks about spending time with our children to show them we love them. This post is a great example of that. Great job! :)

TamraGirl said...

I love the part, "..being something bigger than themselves.." You hit the nail on the head!
Enjoyed this post, as always.

Kristen, The Pajama Mama said...

a few months ago, I started letting my daughter help with vacuuming and other automatic "no" things...and it has been such a blessing! i realized not to long ago that i've actually stopped re-vacuuming and checking her work...ahhh! she is actually being HELPFUL! it is hard to give control over, but it is worth it!

Wisdom for Today said...

Great post. We all need to feel wanted and needed. Chores provide a purpose and make kids feel needed. I truly believe if you don't show kids they are needed they will seek to feel needed prematurely elsewhere ---such as in the arms of a girl/boy friend. Your post was spot on....thanks for sharing your wisdom:)
From one control freak to another---Blessings, Beth

MamaHen Em said...

So, so true! I actually said yes and let O. vaccum the other day and he did a rather good job! Even if the lines in the carpet weren't exactly perfect... They want to help and I've been trying to let go of MY perfectionism and let them!

Amy Matthews said...

great post and oh so true.

tpillstrom said...

I love this post! I have been readin "The Five Love Languages of Children" and realized that one of my children's language is quality time. As much as I would rather do laundry myself, I'm "telling/showing" him I love him by letting him help me! It's amazing how different he is since I've started this book.

Sarah said...

So you mean even though my 3 year old sweeping means that more dirt from other rooms ends up on my kitchen floor I should let him anyway? :) Sigh.

TeriLynneU said...

Oh, Dana, how you spoke to me! I am guilty of the "no" for my convenience ~ often. I'm going to be a "yes" mom (could someone please remind me of that when I'm about to pull my hair out due to my helper?).

HeathahLee said...

So many times I think "It will get done so much faster if I just do it!" but my precious Kiddo is not going to learn life skills if I don't let him do "what he wants"! Great post...great reminder!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

I can relate.


Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

This is good to remember! My son likes to help out with housework and I've finally started really letting him - and he's doing a great job!

My Stepmom told me that she always regretted not letting her daughters help in the kitchen - they ended up not knowing how to cook! Even as grown women, only 1 of the 3 is a great cook - the other two relied on husbands to do the main cooking.

Sometimes we forget that our children won't learn unless we let them help AND let them make mistakes along the way!