Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Agreements and Follow Through

Making agreements with children is easy. Following through with those agreements is HARD!!!

Dr. Jane Nelsen explains that children do not share the same priorities as parents. As a parent, my priority is managing the household. This includes such things as laundry, dishes, trash, recycle, vacuuming, grocery shopping and preparing meals. Good heavens!!! No wonder children don't have the same priorities as adults. I don't even want those things to be my priorities! But the fact is...life involves managing the priorities of a household.

During family meetings I will make agreements with my children regarding chores. But my children usually don't follow through. So follow through becomes another one of MY priorities. The problem is, following through with children is more difficult than just doing everything myself. For example, if I am upstairs preparing dinner and the trash can is overflowing because my son forgot to empty it. I can spend 30 seconds emptying the trash can myself or 10 minutes tracking down my son and getting him to follow through with our agreement. I'm sure most parents can relate to this dilemma.

So does that mean we should give up and stop following through with our children? Absolutely not. But when do we get to reap the benefits from our efforts of following through? Based on my experience and observation, the benefits of following through with our children usually takes effect when our children move out of the house.  That's not very comforting right now, but Positive Discipline is based on long-range results.

Occasionally we will catch a glimpse of success when our children surprise us by following through without any reminders. That happens in my home about once a week and those little successes make it all worthwhile and remind me that my children might just make it in this world on their own someday. 


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