We all have some whacked out equations in our head. They don't have much to do with reality, but we use them anyway! Usually we come up with these equations when we are 4 or 5. We have practiced them so long and are so invested in them that they are HARD to give up. Every now and then, the equation works! We are proven RIGHT, we STAY committed to the equation. Let's take a look at a few. . . .
Talking Nicely + Request to Change = Other Person Changing: My sister, you remember her from The Only Shocking Part . . . , reminds me over and over that even if we say things really, really nicely the person we are trying to change might NOT choose to CHANGE. (Or you might like the flip side of this equation. Request to Change - Talking Nicely (I talk meanly and bitingly and shamingly) = Other Person Changing. Have we noticed yet? This doesn't work either!)
Logic + Experience + Lecture + Our Resume = Child Who is Impressed and Does What We Ask: We often try to convince our kids to do things by explaining our thinking to them, our logic, our ultimately good sense. We remind them that we are wiser, more experienced, have advanced degrees. 8 year olds care NOTHING about your age or advanced degree. You guys, it's a GIANT waste of energy reviewing your resume with your child when it's time to put the device down.
Chore Chart + Nicely Laminated = Compliant and Chore Doing Children: We think if we come up with a laminated, pretty chore chart the child will magically be inspired and do the chores, thank us for expecting them to do the chores and not fight with their siblings about who does what chore. In addition, if it's laminated we will become the kind of parent the UPHOLDS the chore chart.
Here are a couple of new equations to ADD TO your old equations.
Thinking + New Action = New Information:
Me talking to myself: "We need to get some chores done in the house. I'm going to print out the list of what is age appropriate for kids to do and take it to the dinner table with me and read it aloud. No wait, I'm going to print out the chore list for everyone that can read at the table and ask them to review and circle what they would be willing to do. That's a start. I am going to wait for that new information before I laminate anything!"
New Information + Considering + Compassion = Harmonious House (not quiet, not obedient, not perfect):
Me talking to myself, "So interesting, I had no idea Kate wanted to mow the lawn. If she did that once a week it would open up time to train Blake on how to cook. It's a nightmare having them both in the kitchen at the same time. This week I will train Kate how to mow and the next week I'll invite Blake into the kitchen to do some cooking."
New equations create NEW results!