Monday, April 23, 2012

Responsibility/Chore Wars

Our family is in the middle of a war, a war over the kids responsibility/chore chart. As our kids have gotten older they have slowly taken on more and more responsibility for getting themselves ready and doing simple, daily chores. The way our system works is once they are ready for the morning/night they then have free time to watch TV, play video games, go on the computer, etc. This should be motivation to get ready quickly, right? The quicker you get ready the more electronic time you have. In order to motivate them to do their chores they are paid 50 cents daily allowance. If their chores don't get done they are not paid for that day. Wynter and Brennan split the dishes and Phoenix takes out the trash and recycling.

I made the chore chart  about a year and half ago. Originally it really helped keep the kids on track and minimized the chaos of bedtime and morning getting ready time. In addition to rewarding the kids for good behavior with money for completing their chores and electronic time for getting ready early there are also consequences for not completing chores or getting ready on time. This has recently become a big struggle and honestly I'm getting tired of it.

One thing I know as a parent I need to work on is disciplining without getting overly emotional. When you feel like you are constantly being ignored by your children it gets frustrating. I know I need to remind myself that my kids are generally well behaved and responsible but at almost 12, 11, and 9 they are old enough to get themselves ready in the morning and evening and complete simple chores. The chore chart is very easy to use and helps the kids remember each thing that needs done. The stars are put up on the chart and they take down the stars one by one as they complete each item. There really is no reason if I give them enough time that anything should be forgotten.

The past few months have been a constant back and forth struggle in this area. They don't get paid for their chores that aren't done or they get their privileges taken away then the next day we're back to square one. They tell me everything is done, I let them watch TV or play electronics, it's time for bed and half their list hasn't been done. There are clothes and towels strewn about in the bathroom, their rooms look like bombs have gone off, usually they've showered and put pajamas on, about 75% of the time their lunch has been packed, the other 25% of time it has been "forgotten", Wynter and Brennan manage to do their chores about 90% of the time, Phoenix I'm lucky if she's even made an attempt 20% of the time and even then she has usually checked 1 or 2 trashes and left the overflowing one and never takes the barrels to the street unless I specifically tell her. I am out of ideas on how to motivate/discipline them in this regard and would love an feedback or suggestions. For awhile money was their biggest motivator, followed by electronic privileges but none of that seems to matter at this point. The two things I am going to do are once again go over consequences, instill them consistently and unemotionally, and I am going to go back to checking everything on their list before granting electronic time. I think for the next week until we can get into a better routine we will just eliminate before school and before bed electronic time and allow their free time to be playing, reading, or board games. I know once we have an infant in the house (any day now) I am going to have even less time to oversee every task they do but until they show me they can once again be responsible for their daily activities I am going to have to pull in the reigns a bit.


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