Friday, August 14, 2009

Extra Chores

The mice could get back out of the jar, by the way. Oh well.

So, I have had a discipline revelation. Things here have been going well, nice routines and daily rhythm, except for the fact that the girls are pushing their boundaries in the Respect department. I know that it's hard for them to go back and forth between two houses and I respect and understand their need to push on the boundaries. I also understand their need for the boundaries to stand firm. This is comforting for children. Gene Campbell over and over used the term "loving authority." The problem is, what is the logical consequence for rolling eyes, back talk, lagging feet, or a refusal to do a task? It took me a while to figure it out. At Tidewater, we invite children to leave the circle and find their manners. We also talk to them. But these things weren't giving the children the firm boundary that they wanted. The behavior was repeating and if it is repeating than that means that the message hasn't gotten through.

Then I realized that if I am spending all my time talking to people about their behavior, I can't get a SINGLE job around the house done. I can't do the dishes. I can't make dinner. I can't get dressed. And let's not even talk about five minutes of privacy in the bathroom. The children were nagging each other constantly, bossing and tattling and disrespecting each other and me. It was awful. However, Extra Chores are the solution. Bad attitude? You need some extra chores. That will calm you right down. Would you like to stand there and argue with me about it? Let's add another chore on to the list. We can keep doing this indefinitely.

1 - Not only has this freed up a lot of my time but the house is nice and clean which makes everyone feel better. A tidy space has a very soothing effect on the soul.

2 - The smell of peppermint in and of itself is helpful. Mood uplifting, Reviving and refreshing, Encourages Communication, etc.

3 - And doing some physical work is a great way for the kids to calm back down from whatever was making them upset. It works for adults too. Feel crabby? Scrub the kitchen floor. The work will make you feel better and so will the satisfaction of a job well done.

If I ask you to wash your dishes after breakfast and you ignore me and refuse to do it for an hour, that's fine. You can wash your dishes plus something extra. This is a nice simple consequence with endless permutations (would someone like to dust mop all the floors in the house?) and exercise releases endorphins, making it one way for people to feel better when they are grumpy.

Plus, instead of being a pain in everyone's neck, you are now the person who folded and put away all the laundry which we all appreciate very much. If you are the child who was feeling uprooted and lost, this helps you find your grounding and reassures you of your value in the family. So it seems to bring a lot of balance to the situation. I'm not nasty about it by any means, it is just a calm and simple consequence.

It has also gotten me energized to do more housework. By having a constant list in the back of my mind of my Wishlist of Extra Chores AND all this free time, I can get my own chorelist done as well as some of the extra things that have just occurred to me. My house is remarkably clean. It is also much quieter and calmer.

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