May 7, 2010
Whistle While They Work
IconWHISTLE WHILE THEY WORK - by Cheryl Gochnauer Shirley, a stay-at-home Missouri mother whose children are now grown,clearly remembers the challenges of teaching kids to help out around thehouse. "If there was a trash bag sitting in the middle of the hallway,Cheryl would yell, 'Mom, do you want me to pick this up?' Rob would walkaround it. Jimmy, the youngest, would kick it down the hall. None of themwould do the right thing from the start - simply pick it up and take it tothe dumpster." I can't believe she hasn't gotten over that "trash bag in the hallway" thingyet. Mom, that was 35 years ago! As your Homebodies hostess and Shirley's reformed daughter, this is the partof the column where I'm supposed to give you some wonderful advice onraising tidy kids. I have to admit, however, that training my own daughtersto do their chores has been more than a little challenging. Neither my kids nor any of my friends' kids were born with a naturalinclination to whistle while they work. In fact, I think the trend pointsthe other way. From what I've observed, most children work very hard inavoiding any kind of household labor. Don't feel alone as you're telling your child to clean up his room - again.Avoid throwing your hands up in despair when faced with a bombed outbathroom. Your sisters have been there, and are fighting the same battlesnow with their children. Calmness, clarity and consistency seem to help.(Resist screaming, which may get the chore done but demoralizes bothscreamer and screamee.) Be very specific about what you want done, how andwhen. Make sure everyone understands the goal, tying penalties and rewardsto the outcome. If they fail to do the job, don't hesitate to impose sanctions! Tomorrow, do it again: calmness, clarity, consistency. Calmness, clarity,consistency. Wear them down. Repeat after me: You are the parent; youwill prevail! Time for me to take my own advice. I'm downstairs finishing up laundry whenthe oven timer goes off, announcing the cake is done. I know Karen is doingher homework at the kitchen table, approximately 10 feet from the oven. Ikeep folding shirts as the buzzer continues to blare. After about threeminutes of incessant beeping, Karen crosses to the staircase (which,incidentally, is farther away than the oven) and yells: "Mom, do you want me to turn this off?" Must be genetic. (Comments? Write , or visit her website at . Her book, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom ," isavailable through Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner . Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 1:55 AM