How many times have you threatened your child with taking away a toy or saying that you are going to throw everything away if they didn’t clean it!?
All the time, right?
Sometimes we follow through but most of the time we are just using these threats to get our kiddos to do what we want them to do in that moment and usually we are making the same threats the very next week.
Why? Why can’t they just listen the first time and remember it? Why do I have to repeat myself so many times about the same things?
At the beginning of the summer, I told them that I wanted their rooms cleaned. That way they wouldn’t have to spend all summer cleaning but just maintaining. Told them I would help organize and find homes for everything.
What should have taken no more than 2 days turned into months (and no, I’m not exaggerating either). I kept saying that if it wasn’t picked up within a certain time frame that I was just going to throw away whatever was on their floor. I mean they couldn’t have cared too much about it if it we’re left on the floor to be stepped on & broken. Oh the fits that we’re thrown with every threat I claimed I was going to do. Not only was I getting worn out fighting with them, I started to get upset with myself. I even went as far as asking if any local friends had a snow shovel that I could borrow so that I can could throw their stuff out! Why was I saying things that I probably wasn’t going to do in the first place? Would I really ever follow through with just throwing away whatever was on their floor? Would I have reach that point?
The answer is yes. I did reach that point. I did throw away whatever was on their floor without even looking to see what was there. I did follow through with my threat.
I did feel horrible for throwing their things away. I did feel bad that they lost things. Like I said just a few sentences ago, and something that I said & continue to say my kiddos, if you wanted it so bad in the first place then you would have taken better care of it & not allowed it to end up on the floor.
Every now and then I will go in the boy’s room and see what it looks like. If it’s not in acceptable order to me then I give them a time frame & whatever isn’t picked up gets thrown away. I’ve only had to do it once after the first time. I hope they get the message.
I’m not doing this to be mean. I’m doing this to prove a point to them. I have to stick to my word. I cannot just keep saying I’m going to do something and then never do it. That teaches them that I’m not accountable and that they can keep doing it. It’s making it ok for them to do something that isn’t ok. I hope that I don’t have to do it anymore. I hope that they got the message that I’m serious about their rooms.
I’ve applied this mentality to everything else. If I say something I really try to follow through with it. I need to be careful what my threat is and make sure that I’m honestly willing follow through with that threat and not change my mind. Now I do give 2nd chances/extend grace but it’s pretty much base don’t their attitude towards me. I can tell when they are truly sorry/forgetful/confused/insert anything and they are just saying it to get their way. Sometimes I give them their 2nd chance even when they don’t deserve it or have earned it. (That is a whole other blog post though)
This is what is working in our household right now. It may not work next week. It may not work in your household. That’s ok, I don’t expect it to. I would love to hear what does work for you!