As a parent I feel I have many things I struggle with and honestly don’t know what the heck I am doing. My latest struggle is centered around having my children be more responsible and more helpful around the house. I think many parents struggle with it. I feel so many factors affect the success of making it stick. For me the main factors are rewarding them for things that I expect from them and being consistent when life just gets in the way.
When I was a teacher, I always struggled with rewarding children for expected behavior. Was it because in my generation you just did it. You didn’t question authority. You did what you were told and that was it. So the idea of rewarding my children for doing things that are expected is truly a struggle. Yes I did have a chore chart and I did have them earn an allowance. Did it work? Maybe for 3 weeks and then it was back to me yelling for them to do what was expected of them. I decided they needed to understand the difference between expectations and privileges. I told them that everything they have and do are privileges. Privileges need to be earned. I reminded them in order for our family to work there are expectations that need to be followed by each and everyone of us. So the privileges are their reward.
But this thing called “Life” keeps getting in the way of keeping everything consistent. I will take the blame here with the consistency part. I have days where I just forget. Or I just do it myself because it’s faster or they have activities going on. Is that right? No. Am I teaching them anything? Probably not. But I feel they have a better understanding now and when they are told it is time to do “XYZ” there are less arguments.
Below is a copy of the contract I made them sign. We have slacked over the holidays but are slowly easing back into keeping up with our expectations. Yes, they still need to be reminded and yes, they still whine. Yes, I still will do things myself because it gets done faster. But I feel they have a much better understanding of how doing a simple expectation makes our family run a lot smoother.