Two things to think about, one trade and the ONE question that counts most.
How often does this happen to you?
You tell you kids to pick up their room, and then you have to tell them again and again and again, until finally you get fed up and just do it yourself. You justify doing it yourself because deep down you really want it done well, and you know there’s no way your child will do it like you can. Besides, it’s just faster if you do it.
Thing one to think about.
Children are limit pushers. Period. They are constantly pushing your buttons to see how much control they can actually have. You have to draw the very deep, very firm line in the sand. Is it a challenge at first? You bet. Kids are smart and will look for every angle to beat you down.
Short circuit this by giving them a choice. Kids don’t like to be told what to do anymore than you do. But if you give them a choice between two actions, they will feel much more in control and far more likely to comply without giving you grief. Ask them, “Do you want to make your bed first or clean your room first?” If they respond “Neither,” ask them, “Do you want to lose time doing _____ for one day or two?”
You will find with in a very short period of time they will start to comply. More importantly, they will push your buttons less and less the more they know their boundaries and limitations… and the price that comes with not doing what is asked. Just make sure the price is high enough.
Thing two to think about.
There is a quote I love by T. Harv Eker, “Every Master was first a DISASTER.” I know far too many parents who do things for their kids because they know their kids won’t do it good enough. Guess what, neither did you the first time, or the first 20 times for that matter. A child can never learn to perform well if you don’t give them a chance to perform at all.
Every time you do a task for them that they can do at least 80% as good as you within a short period of time, you are taking away their ability to be responsible. Responsibility is developed in little chunks, not in major tasks. In karate, kids learn responsibility by being required to know certain moves and techniques. And they learn this in just a couple moves at a time. In turn, they feel a great sense of accomplishment for the responsibility they have taken.
The number two problem employers have with employees (number one being poor social skills) is shirking their job responsibilities. Responsible kids become responsible adults. Too many adults try to push blame off onto others for why they are not performing.
As Zig Ziglar use to say, “Your either a player or a performer.” Teach your child to be a performer by learning to be 100% responsible.
The one trade.
Here is the trade you are making by “throwing in the towel” when not making your kids follow through. You are trading a little bit of time and effort now for YEARS of extra time, effort and frustration spent down the road. And it can be a very long, twisting road. Take the time now to save the time later.
The one question that counts the most.
Every time you interact with your kids ask yourself this one question, “Is what I am about to say or do setting my child up for success or failure?” If you focus on continually setting them up for success it’s doubtful you’ll ever make a wrong parenting choice.