No strike in this house, but lessons abound

Sharon went on strike.

She wrote a post about how she went on strike at her house, and in turn this caused me great reflection on my own sometimes over-controlling ways of trying to parent my two imps.

What exactly is my aversion to their being more independent? Will a strike, MY strike, help them see how much is done for them, regularly?

The kids participate in the family life mostly in a more or less acceptable fashion. Sometimes they slack off, sometimes I don’t care and let them, sometimes it’s just easier and quicker if I do it myself.

Sometimes incentives have to be invented…and just today, at the start of a week-long sports camp, I came across a little tidbit that will help my case with Ben’s money jar. He has a chance to earn 50 cents per day by doing his chores without reminder, or complaining (but so far only managed to earn a total of 50 cents for the past three days). But today at 4 pm, when I go to pick him up at camp, there will apparently be freezies for sale for 50 cents right at the community centre

I will not be bringing along 50 cents to pay for a freezie for him. Instead, I may alert him to his money jar content. See if this will entice him to pay a little closer attention to his four little daily chores.

Besides, everyone knows that 50 cents is a HUGE mark-up for coloured, frozen sugar water.

Anyway, back to the strike thing. Last night after the kids were more than usually wound up way past their bedtime (summer vacation = non-existent bedtimes) Ben wanted to eat cereal. I was too tired to care and too tired to speak about how I didn’t care.

When I walked past the kitchen a few minutes later there was a pile of Cheerios on the floor.

“They slipped! I didn’t do it on purpose!”

He never does it on purpose. He may be clumsy, or tired, or is not paying attention, but it’s never his fault. Normally, I would get mad help him out while yelling lecturing him about paying attention and why does he have to eat cereal now?…but not this time. I literally took a step back, remembering the strike story. And said:

“Clean it up.”

Then I walked away. AND, I didn’t even return to check if he cleaned it up properly.

I also like Sharon’s remark about earning back things with chores…I’m gonna remember that.

As far as a mommy-strike in our house is concerned, I’m not sure if I can actually let go that much. Maybe when Sonja’s older…but I will take away a lesson from Sharon’s experience. I will step back more, and let them deal with their consequences more.

May as well start now.

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