The Compliant Sibling

Kit's iphone 001 (5)I love gleaning from older, married couples who have adult children who still respect their parents. Occasionally, I’ll have the privilege of meeting a family where an obvious significant investment has been made, and Grandma & Grandpa are being paid the dividends of children and grandchildren who just adore being around them.

Today, I was making mental notes as this particular older and wiser man offered nuggets of wisdom: Don’t give the extra work to the more compliant child just because their sibling is harder to work with.

We’ve all noticed that our children have uniquely different personalities, and could probably identify right now which child is the more compliant one. He’s the one who just does it. He wants to please you, doesn’t feel the need to argue, and does the job the way we like it to be done. Then there’s the hard-to-put-a-saddle-on-child who has a tendency to complain and argue about the job that you know could easily be knocked out in five minutes by the compliant one.

Don’t give the headstrong child’s chores to the compliant child because it’s less of a fight.

If you run the easy route, and have the compliant child do his sibling’s chore because I just want it to get done! then you will be doing both personalities a disservice. The headstrong child will figure out, If I push back hard enough or perform poorly, I won’t have to do it. Their laziness will be rewarded, and they’ll grow up learning that “someone else will do it.” The compliant child will unintentionally be punished for being a better worker. He may grow frustrated or embittered for having to carry the weight for the majority of the work.

Instead, put your gloves on and zone in on your headstrong child. Discipline, teach, train, set an example, develop a warmer relationship; do whatever needs to be done to instill a better work ethic and a willingness to help out. Both personalities will be blessed by your effort to maintain fairness in the home.

Do all things without complaining and disputing…   Philippians 2:14

A Poem For Uptight Mothers Like Me

LOVE

If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love- I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love- my children learn of cleanliness, not godliness.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints in a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
As a mother there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is… LOVE.

A Love That Multiplies, by Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar

Keep The Kids Busy

IMG_6146One thing I’ve learned with my children is that they behave better when they’re kept busy. When there’s been an excess of bickering, fighting and mischief, it’s usually due to my being preoccupied with something other than my children (Facebook, anyone?). While they wander unmonitored, trouble brews.

One way to keep the kids busy is to come up with activities for specific blocks of time. This takes planning and strategizing, but it will be seeds for a more peaceful home.

In our house we have School Time, Pick Up Toys Time, Lunch Time, Play Time, Writing Practice Time, Reading Time, Drawing/Coloring Time, Puzzle Time, Clean Up Kitchen Time, Chore Time, Movie Time, etc.  Giving the kids a sense of structure and organization reigns in their behavior and attention.

Even if I enter my day unplanned, I can still turn it around by announcing, “Okay everyone, it’s Lego Time!” Get everyone focused on the same activity. Then plan out the next few hours, and do your best to stay a couple of steps ahead of your children. Approach each new activity with excitement, expecting each little person to participate. This will promote unity, and discourage complaining if they know they all have to do it together.

Another way to keep your kids busy is to have them work with you. Teach them to participate in the chores you do. If they complain about having to work, be even more adamant about them completing their chores until it’s so common they expect work to be a normal part of their day.  Not only will they stay out of trouble, but they’ll get a head start on developing a good work ethic!

She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27