Friday, June 18, 2010

What do YOU think?

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!


Tracy said...

I totally agree with you, I am at the same place you are at... I want results but don't know how to get them, I'm looking forward to how others will respond to your post, I could use some ideas too!!

Mary333 said...

Oh I had to laugh Nancy! Yes, I go through the same thing! When Michaela doesn't feel like cleaning her room she pushes everything under the bed where it's hidden by the dust ruffle until I go in there with the swiffer and pull it out myself. I don't expect her to dust or do the floors but she's old enough to pick up after herself.
Just don't read my post today, okay? ;)

Therese said...

We are all in the same boat. it is such a struggle...

Anonymous said...

Nancy, Nancy, have to give yourself a break. They hear you and they know.. it is just part of the routine. I thought Vicki and Klay were going to be slobs..Well, I was shocked the first time I went to Klay'a apartment and he told me to dry the bathroom sink out when I finished. He didn't like the sink remaining wet....Need I say more.. They are neater than I ever was.. The words do not go unheard. it is part of the joy of motherhood and ya kid.

Allison said...

I don't know... I guess I was exactly like your children once and my mom didn't force it and I turned out perfectly fine.

When I was younger my room was a mess. I'm not joking either. There were so many clothes on the floor that you couldn't see the carpet. My mom only forced me to clean it if there were people coming over. It was her mind that if I want to walk all over my clothes and have them wrinkly then it's my problem.

Then I grew up. I went off to college and changed. Nothing really changed it for me other than I grew up. Now I can't stand a messy room. My roommate freshman year was a slob and I hated it! And that's coming from someone who lived like that all my teen years prior.

I say pick your battles. Is it a big deal? Well, no, not really unless there's food in there getting moldy. You could make it a weekly thing that they need to pick up all their clothes or toys etc. But I say start small. Because in the long run, it won't really harm them. So long as you do get them to clean it every once in a while so that they listen.

But that's just me! That's how I will do it with my kids, because I was the same way.

scmom (Barbara) said...

My kids know that I have a big, black, garbage bag and I'm not afraid to use it. Usually I just threaten. They are afraid. They have lost STUFF. So when I threaten they usually move.

The other night, at bed time (unfortunately) I saw my daughter had not taken action and so I picked up every thing that was not in its place and I took it. I told her it was going in time out (but just between you and me and your other readers I did throw some of it out -- she'll never know). She's asked for her stuff back, but I told her it was in timeout for a week. If I'm lucky she'll forget about most of it and eventually I'll throw it out or give it away. My daughter is a huge collector of junk, so she's my biggest problem. The boys are old enough that if I say I'm getting a garbage bag they clean it up.

I'm a really mean mom . ;-)

Anonymous said...

This may be choppy. Sorry if so.

How about deciding with them what each day of the week's priorities are.

At a grand preliminary family round-table, ask each child to list each day of the week's chores. They must think about the current day and plan for the next day.

They'll probably surprise you with all they remember. And they'll enjoy the prestige of the planning part of the process.

The older ones can take notes as they go. The younger ones can draw symbols or cut out pictures to represent each day and each chore.

Items on each child's list must be value-weighted and there are times when some priority will override the established list, like sickness or a lot of homework or surprise company, etc.

At the round-table, write out your own list of their chores along with them, also making notes of what they forget, to discuss when it's your turn to speak.

You might even address your own and Dan's set of chores and planning concerns and commitments along with them.

Everyone gets a valuable view of everyone else's responsibilities.

Maybe set a rotation for volunteer or otherwise backup help when someone gets behind on their work.

Everyone's list gets posted in appropriate places.

Failure and accomplishment should have age-appropriate consequences.

Meet round-table once a week for a time until any bugs are worked out of the system. Meet once a week round-table thereafter to evaluate performance and to discuss successes and needs for improvement.

However casually or formally, or frequently or infrequently, etc., that you might approach this, I think what I may be driving at is, give them cause and opportunity to invest in the welfare of the home and family. And voice and some amount of control. They'll be much more likely to hear and to be interested, and begin to act on their own.

God bless you now and always, I pray... <3, aspiring...

Anonymous said...

p.s. check for my email letter to you as soon as you can :) . <3, aspiring...

Sarah Oldham said...

If I hear one more excuse from my teenagers that includes "it's my room" I am going to ship them off to a cousin in Iowa who owns a pig farm . . . let them taste and see that they have it good, yeah? Little buggers!

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

This is too too ironic. I was on the way to benmakesten to write a post about children cleaning their rooms and our responsibilities therein, as mothers...and thought I'd first stop here and visit my good friend Nancy, only to find that she too, is thinking about this same topic!
I completely agree with Allison that we need to choose our battles...but also with scmom, who has a black garbage bag she's not afraid to use...I own the same one!
I think the issue is not even really whether or not the room is always clean...but more that they (our kids) have obeyed us and have joyfully served their family by being willing to learn the skills of independent cleaning in their bedrooms. I will share the rest of my thoughts on my blog:) In the mean time...I'm off to read Mary's post that she told you not to read, ha ha

Mum2eight said...

I did the big black bag once. It was agony for me to throw it all out but I believe it was the best thing I ever did for my boys. I tell them simply that if their room is messy at the end of the day, I am picking everything up and throwing it out.

The other thing I have done is totally de junked it. If the children don't have too much in their rooms, it is much much easier for them to clean. My children are allowed one toy, 5 books and a teddy on their beds and that is it in their room. We have more toys in the cubby house and they will come into the family room when we finish it off but toys in their room are at a minimum.