Battle of Wills

While I was trying to force encourage Crash and Bang to help me clean up their toys this evening I had an epiphany. An enlightenment. Or at the very least an interesting thought.

I’m the one who wanted it clean.

Why am I getting angry at the kids for something I want.

They clearly don’t want a clean room as much as I do. Really, I’m nearly convinced they’d be okay with a mess like Dresden in February of ’45.

Dresden After the Bombing

Is it possible that he doesn’t even see the mess? He looks at the basement area and there are toys everywhere, but to him it’s not a mess. It’s just toys all over. That can’t be, right. Because after we clean it he says, “Wow, look at the space. That’s a lot better.”

I’m the one who wants it clean, so why do I lose my patience when they won’t clean it?

It comes down to a battle of wills. I can lead him to the mess, but I can’t make them clean it.

If Crash isn’t around, Bang will normally help DW and I clean. He’ll vacuum the floor. He’ll vacuum the doormats. He’ll put some toys away. He’ll put the cushions back on the couch. He’ll help load/unload the dishwasher. If Crash is around, he assumes his big brother’s attitude.

What a bunch of chaches.

So it’s time for some lessons in being less selfish and more selfless. Just this morning, I told him it was time to pack his backpack for school and reminded him to fill his water bottle. I kindly asked him to fill his brother’s as well while I ran upstairs to get dressed. He whined about it! “UGH, you’re always making do stuff and I have no time for anything!”

Anyway, that’s for another time.

Consideration goes a long way. If you make a mess you clean it up. If you turn the light on, turn it off. If you open the fridge, you close the fridge. If you backtalk and get saucy, you get a swift reminder to watch your tone and what you say.

So, I want them to clean it because I want it clean. I want them to respect their belongings. I want them to respect me. Thus far, he’s only like this at home.

He’s been asking to start a YouTube channel so he can show people how to build some of the Lego stuff he creates. He loves to watch others build so now he wants to do that, too. Not that I want him on YouTube at the age of 8, but I suppose there are safe ways to do it. Some of his stuff is pretty neat – like the dog he made. Plus it would be his creative outlet. Maybe we can do a bit of negotiating. If he keeps areas clean and helps, I’ll help him make his videos. He wants to do stop motion videos with his Lego people, too. Should be interesting.

Sorry for writing  more about the frustrations in cleaning. I’ll have something different for ya tomorrow.

There, that’s 517 words.

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19 thoughts on “Battle of Wills

  1. Bang is such a sweetheart! Can you threaten to bin it all away if they don’t clean up? Or like you said, it’s you who wants to clean and Crash just prefers mess, and maybe, just maybe one day, he’ll get tired of the mess and he’ll clean-up if you let it be? Question is: can you deal with it? 😊

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  2. Sounds like a neat reward! No joke, LM watches these videos of people transforming and reviewing Transformers and wants to do his own videos and make stop action movies. I’m a little nervous about YT but let him put a couple on his Facebook page. (Yeah, I know how that sounds now.)

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  3. The YouTube channel sounds like a cool reward. And stop-motion with Legos is a cool concept. There is a cool company that started in Canada and I had a chance in my previous job to bring them to Florida call The Director’s Cut. They have a YouTube channel featuring the work of kids who take their programs in film making including Lego stop-motion. Their channel on YouTube is T DC. Anyway, I like the point that getting kids to clean up helps them respect their belongings. You are an awesome dad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to check them out. Sounds like something Crash would love. One day they’ll take better care of their stuff, instead of breaking everything they touch. Then they’ll have kids of their own and understand the struggle while I sit and laugh 🙂

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  4. I ran a day care for years out of my home and I had to figure out a system for cleaning because each kid required a different motivational tool. I love the idea and look forward to a post on how it pans out.

    Present day with two teens, I stopped asking them to clean their room because it’s their space. I ask them to pick it up one a month and then say nothing more. It was a battle I wasn’t winning and like you, I wanted it clean because mines clean. I figured if they can find what they need in the bomb infested clothing for a floor, it’s their mess to love. I just close the doors.

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  5. Oh man, this is so my life right now. I just had a conversation last night where I shared the exact same frustrations. I realized though, that I’m having a daily battle of wills with my four year old over something that just isn’t worth it. Sure, I know he can put on his shoes, and HE knows he can put on his shoes, but is it reeeally worth the 15 minutes of sheer hell and torture we go through to get him to get them on? Probably not. Great post.

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    • It can be tough to choose our battles. Which ones are worth fighting and which ones are pointless? Right now, I think the cleaning fight is worth it, but sometimes I wonder because I’m the only one who wants it clean… the kids couldn’t care less. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

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