Monday, March 9, 2009

Help Wanted

A few days ago I told the boys to clean up their room. Usually Christopher will start cleaning right away and he will finish the job. But Michael is going through the phase where he will drag his feet for a long time and won't do what I ask him to do. A couple of times I went back to check on the boys and went downstairs to cook dinner.

They were supposed to have been cleaning for about an hour, when Michael came to me and said, "Mom, would you give Christopher $5.00 from my spending money?"

Puzzled, I asked, "Why?"

"Well, I made a deal that I would give him my $5.00 and he would clean my part of the room".

Christopher chimed in, "No we didn't!"

I was trying not to laugh and said sternly, "Michael! Keeping your room clean is one of the things you have to do. Do it yourself."

He whined and dragging his feet went back up the stairs. Over the next little while, while I was preparing dinner, I kept thinking to myself, "Boy, where did he come up with that?" He's only six and is already trying to use his resources to solve his problems. How inventive! This is one of those moments that is both frustrating and funny at the same time. Well I guess Michael's first attempt to hire someone failed.

Parenting is not easy. Should I have just let him buy Christpher's services, if Christopher was willing? It is his money and he's gotta learn that the supply is limited. At the same time, he has to learn to work and carry his own wieght around here. Which lesson do I teach? Any one answer is not always the correct answer. And not every situation gets the same lesson.

I sighed and decided to worry about getting dinner prepared for that night.


  1. You need to read Parenting: Love and Logic. I just read it last spring and it is so good. We tell the kids that they can pick their things up or they can hire us to do it. I would happily let them hire me. That's life right? When they are grown they could always hire someone to clean up for them, but they'll have to decide if its worth it. Get the book and you'll love the things in there. Its really funny and short. Then let me know what you think.

  2. That's funny! I'm impressed with how smart Michael is! So, what did you end up doing (besides cooking dinner)?

  3. Ok, parenting. Nothing works all the time or for every child.
    But you have to decide what is important to you.
    If it were me, I would let Michael pay Christopher and let him buy something amazing!!! Eventually Michael will run out of money or realize that he would rather clean his room and keep his money.
    My kids know that I let little girls who have clean rooms, pick a treat at night. You could try that (if not a treat, then some other reward).
    Have you read "Parenting with Love and Logic"? I really like it! We are working on it!

  4. Well, besides cooking dinner, I let Michael clean up his portion of the room. Like Melissa suggested, I should read the "Love and Logic" book and get some ideas for the next opportunity. We can never get too much help on parenting, right?


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