Happy Week after Thanksgiving, friends! I am truly grateful for every one of you, among the multiple blessings in my life. We had a wonderful day (somehow, without turkey to go with the leftover stuffing). And Younger Son turned 15 on Saturday. I had a houseful of loony boys, made five pizzas and a brownie version of a cake. Cleaned on Sunday. I definitely missed out on any ‘relax’ gene that might have been handed out in my family.
Okay, so we took a week off and now we’re back to talking the parenting thing. In case you missed them, here are links to preceding posts one and two. BTW, this series is not meant to be a tutorial on how to get kids to do chores. I wanted to share my own amazement at positive–unsolicited–behaviors from my guys of late, and how blessed I feel because of it. The rest, as the saying goes, seems to have taken on a life of its own.
Here is where we left off: EXPECTING my children to BE responsible is probably the crux of what I hope to have taught them to date.
My end as a parent includes teaching–but more importantly–modeling responsibility. And, if possible, with a minimum of grumping. (An area in which I hope to have improved as they’ve gotten older. Not sure I always modeled graciousness, folks, especially when they were younger.)
Far as I can tell I started when they were very young. (At least I think I did!)
Cant’ say it was all that complicated either. (It shouldn’t be, especially if you want to insure success.)
One of the first things I did was have the kids make their beds daily. (BTW, I do too, or Hubby does.) I always kept the job simple: all they had to do was straighten/fluff their pillows and pull up a comforter. (Note: Their beds only had a fitted sheet. I’ve never used a flat top sheet b/c it’s a bit much for kids to handle getting the bed done the way this mamma likes, so I skip it to this day.)
They also dressed themselves. Can’t remember who picked out their clothes—knowing my controlling self I’m sure I ‘guided’ them to outfits I liked, especially since I most likely picked out most of them at the store. ;).
My other biggie: I handed each kid his backpack to carry from Day One. Every now and again one or both would ask me to hold them while they ran a race with other kids walking home. No problem! I did, but gave them back immediately upon completing the race.
(That’s subtext again. What I didn’t say but showed through my actions. Speaks way louder than words, folks.)
One after-school episode stands clear in my mind pictures: that of a mom—I’m sure a very kind-hearted and compassionate one—leaving the playground after school ended for the day. THREE backpacks hung off her shoulders while she simultaneously balanced a very wide box of cupcakes with both hands. Her daughters walked in front of her twirling umbrellas. ‘Nough said.
And just the other day, my neighbor stopped to chat. She’d just picked up her kindergarten-aged twin boys. She was carrying two backpacks.
I bit my tongue and chatted about how big the boys are getting.
Next time: Not being afraid to do what you have to do.