There’s Some Holes in Our Bucket

I’m going to resume my posts about training eventually. But it will probably be about the same time I start . . . training again. I’m still taking some time off for the sake of my knee. I hope by next week I’ll be up and at ’em again.

Kids need limits. At least that is what I’ve been told. But it’s kind of hard to know where to put those limits, and when. It’s like filling up a bike tire only to find that it’s full of holes, or that there are tiny cracks in the bucket where the water keeps running out.

Several times in the past few months we’ve found that where we thought we running a tight ship, we did, in fact, have gaping holes. These holes allowed for much too much wandering off, which, in turn, led to a certain 6-year-old taking things to extremes and being a drain on our emotional resources.
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An example: the boys like to play on the iPad. We feel like this is mostly harmless as long as we only allow them a certain amount of time each day and we are privy to which games they are playing. When we decided that they would have to earn that time by making their beds, putting dishes in the sink, completing their “homework,” putting their clothes away, and so forth, we thought we’d set up a good system.

But we hadn’t. Manchild, bless his little homeschooled heart, would do anything and everything he could to earn minutes. He made his bed. He made his brother’s bed. His sister’s, too. And then he’d top it off by making our bed. He’d have his homework done by the time we woke up in the morning. He was constantly asking for more and more jobs.

That wasn’t the bad part. I mean, way to go, Manchild! He was a great help. Kept my apartment clean when I had no time to do it myself. But still, it got out of hand. He talked incessantly about his games. I would politely (I thought) remind him that not everyone knows what he’s talking about and sometimes it is annoying to have to listen to things that don’t make sense. He didn’t like me telling him that. And he kept right on talking. Then we had a series of days in which we had too much to do and iPad time didn’t happen. He really didn’t like that. Which is when we decided that we clearly missed the gaping holes in our plan. His entire day, his entire life, his entire mind revolved around iPad time. Not cool. So we’ve taken the rest of the month off and we’ll rebuild from there.

Another example: we don’t have dessert every night. We just don’t. And most of the time when we do, it is something small like a piece of chocolate. Perhaps because we would just offer something small like that, we may have lost track of how often we were letting the boys have dessert. The past few days as we’ve been trying to de-tox from our Boston/birthday treatfest, Manchild has been adamant that he needs dessert. And if we don’t give it to him now he’ll get two tomorrow. (His standard threat.)

He moaned and groaned to me about this nearly the entire mile-long walk home from a friend’s house the other day, and by the time we got walked in the door I realized we’d done it all wrong and I meant to set it right: we would have dessert twice a week: Monday as part of Family Home Evening and Friday as an end-of-week celebration. The end.

It sure is fun to find out where the holes are by putting water in the bucket. Kind of wish we could have patched it all up good and tight in the first place.

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2 Comments

  1. This is an extremely hard topic. I thought that being a very specific parent, I was giving my kids the best chance for success. Come to find out, I have a child who needs to learn flexibility (and learn it from watching me!). So, I have to be VERY flexible within some good parameters. Someone told me recently, “once you figure this out, your child will grow and you’ll need to figure out THAT stage.”

    [Reply]

  2. Misty commented on the Mother Runner:

    This is an extremely hard topic. I thought that being a very specific parent, I was giving my kids the best chance for success. Come to find out, I have a child who needs to learn flexibility (and learn it from watching me!). So, I have to be VERY flexible within some good parameters. Someone told me recently, “once you figure this out, your child will grow and you’ll need to figure out THAT stage.”

    [Reply]

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