Bedtime Parenting technique. . . FAIL
Ok – so I have to share one of my other attempts at parenting with honor and love – and teaching my kids how to make their own wise choices.
Last week the kids had been sent to bed, but they were doing their usual – running between rooms, laughing, talking, and goofing off (we have 2 bedrooms upstairs – with 2 girls in one and 2 boys in another). I am totally over the whole routine of yelling up the stairs “Be quiet and go to bed! No talking! No playing! It’s bedtime!” and then just getting more and more mad as they continued to disobey (and as I continued to not want to have to go up and punish them. Laziness – I know!)
So I decided to try a different scenario at bedtime the other night. We put them to bed and told them we didn’t want to hear them or see them. However, immediately they were talking and getting out of bed, running around giggling. I went upstairs calmly and with a smile on my face I said – “Oh – I’m so glad you guys are not tired – because I need you to clean up your rooms!” (which they were supposed to do before bed – but never did). The boys were instantly tired and pretending to be asleep! (smart boys!)
But the girls were different. My 9-year-old quickly cleaned up, but my 5-year-old just whined that she couldn’t do it. “It’s too hard! . . . I can’t . . . do. . .it!” I lovingly told her that was totally fine – if she was tired, then she could go to bed (but she just continued to roll around on the floor and whine and fuss). When my older daughter was done I said goodnight and said – “If I hear more talking or running around then I’ll assume you are not tired and you can come help me with something else.” To which Meghan replied – “I’m still not tired – what else can I do?”
I was trying to think of something that she really wouldn’t like so that she would suddenly “become tired” – so I said “oh great! I really need the kitchen floor mopped!” I was expecting a disgusted face and extreme fatigue to set in quickly – but instead I got “ooo – ooo . . . I LOVE to mop!!” as she jumped up and down clapping her hands! uh oh.
But the funniest was – that my youngest daughter all of a sudden was sitting on her bed, bouncing up and down saying “I love to mop too! I want to mop!” Dang it! My plan backfired! I couldn’t have them both mopping (because they would just play) – so I told my youngest daughter – “Oh hon, you are so tired. I’ll let you mop tomorrow. It’s ok.”
Our mop ended up being broken, so Meg did a few other chores. Wendy all of a sudden appeared downstairs saying she had cleaned her room (Wow -where did that energy come from?!) and she wanted to mop still. In the end, I sent her back up to bed, which resulted in her crying and sobbing because she couldn’t mop!
I laughed as I told my husband – “I can’t believe I have a daughter upstairs so upset because she can’t do chores! And I can’t believe I’m not letting her!” It was too funny. I think next time the chore will be to clean the rat cage or kitty litter box. I know no one likes cleaning those! It’s best to be prepared for any and every possible scenario that they throw back at me (Dr.’s Cline & Fay would agree – Parenting with Love and Logic). I really didn’t think that one through all the way!