Thursday, December 16, 2004

Parents on Strike?

This Florida mom and dad have gone on strike ... no cooking, cleaning, driving, etc, and have driven the point home by sleeping outside in a tent in the driveway.
AOL News - Two Florida Parents Go on Strike
The kids are 17 and 12, and as insensitive as it may sound, why didn't they do this sooner?!?! I know it says they sought other ways to manage it - charts with smileys and stickers and even a psychologist. I wonder though, what was the psychologists specialty?
I don't know. It is always easier to judge when you are on the outside looking in. And I feel like my oldest is someone who thrives on structure, activity, firm and clear guidelines and swift and predictable discipline. So it's not like I am raising 2 lumps over here and I've never heard complaining over chores or never had a child cross her arms, stomp off, all the while mumbling under her breath before ... believe me I have!
I guess for us, we started early. My youngest, 27 months is required to pick things up, she has to help us clean up, she sees clear and very predictable consequences for her actions. She says please, thank you, and even asks to be excused from the table! She still cries, she sometimes doesn't want to go to bed, she sometimes steals toys from her sister - she is 2 afterall and certainly not perfect! But at the same time, I don't say she's only 2 so I can't tell her/show her that her actions are not appropriate either!
My oldest, 5 years 2 months, also has to clean up - sometimes she has to clean up after other people, but she knows not to say "but I didn't make that mess becuase as a family we all have to help each other out. Somedays she makes my bed for me as a surprise (which I love) and sometimes I do one of her chores for her! Becuase that is how we operate. She knows that she has to share and if she doesn't want to share then she needs to put the toy away so as to not "tease." (Although we are still working on grabbing things out of her sister's hands if she gets them), but she has manners, and most importantly she has compassion so deeply sometimes I wish I could be more like her! And I think that is the key right there. She has a sense of empathy and sympathy and compassion. So even though things in her world aren't always right, most of the time (notice not all of the time) she deals with it becuase she can figure out how other people are feeling! I hope that she can remember all of this when she is in her teen years, and in her 20's and 30's and even her 80's, 90's, etc! I hope that her younger sister will follow in her footsteps. She is already showing us that she is. I have 2 pretty sweet girls, but I still expect them to behave!
And I can honestly say I doubt that in 10 years I will have to live in a tent in my driveway to control them!

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