Do you have trouble with your children keeping their room clean? I certainly do! It seems as though it is a constant battle and it usually never ends well. I’ve come to the undesirable conclusion that I’m a PUSH OVER…although it isn’t for lack of trying….I think it’s lack of FOLLOW THROUGH!
Here is how the scenario goes at my house:
1. Mom gets frustrated at the messy room. This frustration starts out mild, and then grows bit my bit…sometimes minute by minute!
2. Mom calmly states, “These rooms look horrible, could you please spend a few minutes straightening them up”?
3. Kids ignore mom…she’s busy with something else.
4. Mom passes by the rooms again a few hours later…the frustration is growing!
5. This time mom says (in a significantly LOUDER voice) “Why haven’t you straightened your room yet”?
6. Kids say, “But mom, we’re still playing right now! We’ll clean it up when we’re done”.
7. Mom realizes (while putting said kids to bed) that they never even made an attempt to clean the room. In addition, she finds her good scissors, the last of the scotch tape and the birthday streamers from the last party, all on the floor in the girls’ room. Apparently, they’re making a craft as a gift for me!
8. Mom makes a HUGE announcement, “We are not going ANYWHERE tomorrow unless this pig sty is cleaned up! I can’t believe you guys have no problem living like this! Why are my good scissors laying on the floor? This will all be cleaned up tomorrow or there WILL BE CONSEQUENCES….is that understood”!
9. Kids all reply in unison “yes ma’am”!
10. You don’t really want me to explain #10, do you?
You get the picture! This will go on and on until either I threaten that there will be NO MORE TOYS for the next ten Christmas’/birthdays….or…I just end up cleaning the rooms myself. The advantage to doing it myself is that I get to throw out garbage and broken toys without an argument…and it gets cleaned the way I LIKE IT! The disadvantages…well, they are too numerous to mention here!
My 9 year old son can usually come up with some very impressive 9 year old wisdom like “Mom, what’s the big deal…it’s just a room! Can’t I just keep my door shut”? Well, yes he could keep his door shut, until of course, I would actually need to go in there for something and then I might never be seen again! The girls just leave it at, “But mom, we LIKE it like this”!
I remember having to clean my room when I was 5…..I got really good at just throwing everything under the bed! My mom didn’t seem to notice at first…until she wondered why she hadn’t washed any of my clothes in awhile!
All kidding aside, I WANT to teach my children life skills. I WANT them to be self sufficient, functioning members of society. I WANT them to obey us and to respect our decisions (even if they don’t like them) just because we are their parent’s and because God has required it of them.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it”. Proverbs 22:9
What I want to know is, does this include bedrooms?
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”. Ephesians 6:4
“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of they children”. Isaiah 54:13
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you”. Exodus 20:12
I know that my kids need love, understanding, discipline, direction and CONSISTENCY! I mean, I really KNOW this!
Putting this into practice is where I have always fallen short. We’ve tried many ways of going about it…from chore charts, sticker rewards, point rewards, and then…just pure bribery! This is where I always get stuck! You see, I want them to contribute to the upkeep of this household simply because THEY ARE A PART OF IT…not because I’ve threatened to take away some trivial, insignificant object or made them stand in the corner. Perhaps I expect too much of them. Maybe I should just be glad that they have some self control and they don’t draw on the walls or hang from the clothing rods in the closets…(oh wait, they’ve done that too!).
The bottom line…I just want the results I want without a fight every.single.time! Is that so much to ask? I guess I'm not very good at this Domestic Church thing! Sigh.
I would LOVE to hear from you all about how you deal with this issue! What works for you? What hasn’t worked for you?
I plan to share your ideas in a follow up post!