Note: On on January 11, 2009 I began facilitating a parenting class for DaySpring, the church I attend in Waco. I’m going to be offering some of what I’m doing there in this space over the Spring.
OMG! Our class has wrapped up rather abruptly! I intended to hold our final class this coming Sunday, but then discovered that a new round of adult classes was beginning. So, this is the last post for the class. I’ll summarize our session this past Sunday, offer a couple of links related to the topic of Chores and Allowances, and include one last link related to sex.
This past Sunday I asked, “So how’s it going with your experiments.” I think three central ideas emerged. First, that it can be very hard to come up with creative approaches. Second, it can be very hard to follow through. Third, things get a bit complicated if the parents don’t share the concern.
For example, let’s consider the age old issue of expecting kids to help keep shared areas uncluttered. The “classic” L&L approach would perhaps be to simply let kids know that any stuff left out at bedtime would be taken to Goodwill the next morning. If the kids don’t pick up their stuff, then eventually the goal is reached by the mere fact that everything the kids own will be confiscated, and there won’t be any thing left to clutter with! However, we admitted that it’s a lot of trouble to go to Goodwill every day, and we DID spend money on all that stuff, and we really don’t want to put up with the conflict that this generates! Although this can be an effective approach, we also wondered what it would be like to make the consequence an interruption of an enjoyable bedtime routine. What if mom or dad said, “I can either spend time reading to you or cleaning up after you. Which would you prefer?” We also acknowledged that it can add a bit more interest to the process if one of the parents just doesn’t care about the clutter!
I reminded the group that its VERY important to let go of the goal of teaching your kids a lesson. The goal MUST be for you to take good care of yourself by insisting on maintaining the sort of atmosphere in your home that YOU want. The theory is that your kids will learn the lessons as a by product of you taking good care of yourself. When you make the goal to teach them a lesson then you foster unnecessary resistance.
Chores and Allowances
My wife and I have approached this in various ways over the years. Here’s the approach I developed a long time ago: A System for Handling Chores and Allowances. Many families have told me this approach has worked well for them, and it worked pretty good for us for a while also. It worked best for us when all our kids were school age and when we had a family meeting every Sunday night to dispense allowances. Dave Ramsey’s approach is a little different, and can be reviewed HERE.
One Last Resource Related to Sex
My trusty assistant , Jenn, found this link and passed it on to me: How to Talk with your Kids about Sex. This article summarizes a conversation with Dr. Laura Berman on Oprah. The ideas are generally consistent with what we’ve discussed in class, and includes some very interesting survey information.
Let me close by expressing gratitude to all those who participated in the class each Sunday, and to all of you who participated through this blog or by emailing me. I would enjoy recreating this experience for any local groups, so please let me know if you believe this sort of parenting class would serve your congregation.