So Tell Me

I have spent a good portion of my day today cleaning in Megan’s room. I don’t usually deal with her room, because quite frankly, if she wants to live in filth, that’s her business but she can’t complain to me about it at all. But today I went in looking for a PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK she misplaced. After tossing the room (think Law and Order) and no book in sight, I made a call to the library where it turns out that I returned the book. Whoops. I’m guessing she left it on the kitchen island (which also needs a good tossing and I’m working on slowly) and I grabbed it thinking it was the book she’d finished, not the one she was currently reading. Anyhoo, library book issue solved.

But the room issue is not solved. She will not clean her room. Period. If I tell her that she needs to clean up she will throw herself on the floor screaming and flailing about. She’s been that way since she could talk. It took her a MONTH to find the matches to three pairs of socks (mind you, she kept complaining that she didn’t have enough socks to wear!).

I’ve been of the philosophy that the kids should maintain their own rooms and clean them when we tell them to. I will sit with Annie and Izzie and tell them what to clean in their room because just asking them to clean up does not work. Drew may kick and scream but he does manage to get his room neat every once in a while. My theory/philosophy/whatever is that I do all their laundry, feed them, take them to school/hockey/keyboard lesson, and maintain the other portions of the house and that their rooms are their responsibility.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I don’t know how to get the kids to take responsibility for their own things. I did tell Meg that if the book couldn’t be found she would be responsible for paying for the cost of it, whatever it may be. I don’t give my kids an allowance. I tried and it backfired (i.e. Meg refused to do ANYTHING that she didn’t get compensated for.She may have a future in business.). But am I wrong to expect them to take care of their own things? Should I be doing it all for them? That just feels wrong to me. I don’t want them heading off to college expecting someone else to take care of them; they need to learn to be responsible for their own things, words and actions. I mean, really, Meg is almost 10 and she should GET THIS by now. She’s required to be responsible for her own things at school and doesn’t fight that. Why should it be any different at home?

What do you do? Do you do everything for your kids or do you expect them to take responsibility for their things?

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3 thoughts on “So Tell Me

  1. First of all, I LOVE that you returned the book! Ha! Second, since Bear is only 4, he has very little responsibility, but I’m a stickler for what he has. I will help him clean up his toys, but only if he is actively participating. If he doesn’t clean them up, they will go into a garbage bag, to be returned at a later date. He is also responsible for bringing his own “sleep toy” to school. If he forgets, then he goes without one. So far, he’s only forgotten once.

    I don’t know what he’ll be like at 10, but I’m starting off small and slow. I’m hoping that we can gradually build up and then it won’t be a big deal when he has a lot more responsibilities.

  2. I have a suggestion that will require some work from you as well as lots of work from Meg. My daughter has a room that used to constantly be a disaster area. I would tell her “clean your room” to no avail. I found that if I gave her specific things in her room to do with some assistance from me, things went a lot smoother. Examples of specific tasks were: make your bed, put your clothes away, find a place for all your stuffies to stay. By breaking it down to specific tasks given over a few days when I now say “clean your room” she knows what I expect. Given Meg’s age, she should be able to deal with a few small tasks or areas of her room with some help from mom over a few days. Often times when we say clean your room, the kids look at the WHOLE thing and are overwhelmed by it. I hope this helps you a little. By doing this myself, it taught my daughter how to be responsible for her own things. The biggest thing is positive thoughts and encouragement through the cleaning sessions with Meg. By telling her how much better a certain area of her room looks after cleaning it, hopefully she will get the message.

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