To clean, or not to clean

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ServantofGod

Puritan Board Junior
As the second oldest of a fairly large family(10 kids), I have had the privilege to to learn leadership and parenting skills my whole life. But there is one thing I have not learned yet. My issue I would like some wisdom on is this: Where do you draw the line between doing the younger kids chores so as to set an example, and just letting it go, hoping they git'er done, and hoping they don't be lazy? In other words, say one kid has to clean the dishes, and they won't get them done. So I step in and do them, and when the younger kid sees that, they should be learning through my example how to work hard, and the importance of getting the job done. But what if you have done this more then enough times, and they STILL won't do the job, completely or efficiently, and they still wait around for you to do it, which you must, because they have taken up to much time already?



P.S. The real name of the thread is: To clean or NOT to clean. I forgot the T.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
For some parents, this is a no-brainer. For me, however, making my children do what they are told to do is a constant battle with me. So you are not alone.

First, it is never good to tell children to do something, and then let them get by without finishing the job. For one thing, it teaches them that you don't mean what you say, and as you have suggested, it teaches them that they don't have to follow through with things.

If you are having a difficult time making them finish the work, then I would look more closely at a few things:

1. Did you give them more work than they could handle alone (for their age)?

If so, split up the work among the children. In my family, one person cleared the table and put the food away, one washed the dishes, and one dried the dishes and put them away. We alternated the work from week to week.

If you don't have enough children to spread around the work, there is nothing wrong (in my opinion) with stepping and doing the job with the child. In other words, you wash the dishes, they dry.

2. Did you give them sufficient time to complete the task at hand before you stepped in to help? If not, decide how long it should take and put a timer on. Reward or punish based on getting the job done on time. (Timers work great, especially when children are supposed to be cleaning their rooms. Just like us, when they are on the clock, they hurry to get it done.

3. Why are you finishing the job for them? Are you in a hurry to go on to other things? Does the pile of dishes drive you nuts? Is the child doing the task doing a sloppy job, and you know you could do it better?

Sometimes the problem is not the child, but us.

4. Have you given your child adequate instructions on how to complete the task? (Sometimes, I realize that I did not show children step by step what to do, and they are not finishing the work, because they are overwhelmed by it.)

As I said, I don't think there is anything wrong with coming along side a child and helping them with an overwhelming task. My youngest is notorious for trashing her bedroom beyond her ability to clean it up in a short amount of time. I will send her in there with a list of things to do, give her a time frame, and then come in and help her on and off through the process. Whenever I help her, I leave before the job is complete and ask her to report back to me when it is done. Her room stays cleaner longer than it used to, and she feels a sense of accomplishment, even though I did help her some.

My older daughter is past that stage and does the work on her own now without my even telling her to do it.

To be truthful, I was in your situation a few years ago and realized things were getting out of hand. I had to examine my way of dealing with my children, and I had to start to learn to firmly put my foot down without yelling. I decided to never tell my children to do anything without making sure I was willing to follow through, and I decided to always mean what I say. It took a while, but things are so much better now. My children listen, they do what they are told (most of the time), there is no yelling, and in general things get done around here now.

Do I fail? Yes, this is not a perfect situation, nor will it ever be, but be of good courage, it can improve.
 

ServantofGod

Puritan Board Junior
I should clarify that they are my siblings, not my kids. It puts me in a position of much lower authority.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I would still step in and help, if you see they are wavering, but don't do the job for them. It is never easy to be the older child giving the orders, because your siblings can sometimes resent it.

I would also talk to your parents about what their expectations are of you. Do they want you to simply give orders? Will you be held responsible if your siblings don't finish their work? What will happen to your siblings if they don't do their work? If your parents are expecting your siblings to accomplish certain tasks, and they aren't finished, you are not helping your siblings by doing their work for them. If your parents simply want certain things done (and they don't care who does them), then perhaps you could suggest that they be more specific, so that when things are not completed when they arrive home, you will not be held responsible for the failure of your siblings to do their work.
 
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