It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Other Thing On My Mind

I'm sorry for the confusion, I did not intend for you to think that I was the gift giver in the preceding story. (scroll down please, if you haven't read it or tossed your comments into the ring).

I certainly, most certainly, have appreciated your input to my inquiry! I just wanted to clear that up before I went on to the next item on my mind, because the children in this next item are not Dirt's and my children. Not that our children are not capable of such naughtiness, they are children after all. But really, these stories are taken from real life but they are not us.

Thank you for the sympathy, for there is someone who is deserving of it.

So let me have your input on this one from a parent's perspective:

You give your child, Freddy, a job to do. A simple straight forward task, nothing you wouldn't have done yourself.

You've done all the things parenting psycologist and experts tell you you should do: You've set the parameters and you've given a pretty decent explanation of how to do the job. You have supplied your child with everything they need in order to do as you have asked and you are on hand to help them if they need it. And, by the way, before you think yourself mean and ruthless, your child is perfectly capable, age wise, physically, mentally and in every other way, of accomplishing what you asked of them. Your a pretty smart cookie, you would have given the job or task to someone else or just done it yourself if they were not capable or if their arms were broke.

But tell me how you would have felt, if Freddy trotted right off and not attended to the task you gave them?

It gets worse.

So then you give your other child, Johnny, the job to do. He does a perfectly fine job. You knew he would because Johnny has done this sort of thing for you before. But you are disappointed that Freddy trotted off and didn't do his work.

What makes matters worse is that without saying anything Freddy then does the job a day or a week later. Mind you, the job really kinda needed to be done when you gave it or certainly within that day. But there is Freddy, doing the job that you gave him days ago to do. And he is pleased with himself, even comes to you and wants you to praise him, maybe you're the type of parent who pays for such things and here is Freddy wanting his payment! What do you think of the behavior of such a child?

Around our house, because this does actually happen a bit around here (not so blatantly perhaps) we have a saying: delayed obedience is the same as disobedience. Not unlike how my father would speak of lies and truth when he said that a lie by omission was still a lie. But as usual I digress.

You have seen Freddy pull this several times or something very similar. Freddy has been known to drag his feet while doing a job until you step in and just do it. Sometimes he has flat out told you "no".

How do you feel? I know that we don't parent by our feelings but by the "right" thing. I'm pretty sure we know the right thing to do even though it may be different for different parents or different for individual children. What I am really after is, what the heck does this make you feel like as a parent?!?

You've even spoken to Freddy about the benefit to him of doing a job promptly and well. You've told him even if he messed up while doing the job it would be more beneficial to him and everyone if he at least did his best instead of always trying to get out of it. You tell Freddy you want him to grow up to be a productive contributing member in his community and you and those around you agree, that in order for him to learn and grow he really needs to start obeying right away and he agrees with you! Whole heartedly agree with you.

So how do you feel when so many efforts to get him to move forward is shunned by him?

I am asking, how do you feel as Freddy's parent?


Dr.John said...

I had two sons like that. One always said he would and didn't the other said he didn't want to but did. We loved them both and accepted them as they were. They both turned out to be good men. Anytime the one did anything even if it was late we lauded him. I always felt if you can find a reason to praise praise.

Melli said...

I would feel several things. I would be disappointed. I might feel betrayed - IF the child had SAID he would do it and then didn't. I would feel frustrated. And I would probably be a little bit angry - depending upon the job and how having it NOT done was going to effect life within the rest of the family. But honestly, I don't think I would have LET him just wander off in the first place. If I TOLD him to do the job, I would expect him to DO the job... or there would be consequences.

Anonymous said...

How would I feel? Frustrated and angry. I'm with Melli on the consequences thing. If there is no consequence for disobedience, why obey if one doesn't feel like it? The law and society has consequences, parents need to, too.

I am not saying the child needs to be spanked, but failure to comply needs to be countered with an adverse stimulant.

When I was a kid anyone in our family who didn't do his/her daily chores arrived at the dinner table to find his/her spot barren. Once the chores were finished, the plate would appear. Lest you think the punishment cruel, usually the undone chore had to do with the care and feeding of livestock.

KathyB. said...

You know, delayed obedience IS our family it was also known as passive rebellion. And we know what rebellion is and who the author of rebellion is. Really, this is simply a child's way of saying what he/she wants to do is more important than what you as a parent told him to do. If it is O.K. with you that a child decide not to obey for that reason, then by all means...praise away for such 'obedience '.....

We did praise our kids a lot, and yes, we had a son like that....sometimes it was just easier to ask the very obedient and responsible one to do it in the first place. But as a parent, easy isn't the best way when it comes to child rearing. I know you agree with that Lanny !And after all, we are commanded by God to raise up our children in His ways, nurturing , correction and all in between. KathyB.

Kendrawolf said...

Reminds me a bit of Matt 21:26-31. I get frustrated as a parent when my children do things like this. But I always end up wondering how God feels when we are disobedient.