Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Love and Logic Parenting - a Little Experiment

Our house has been a little "chaotic" lately for many reasons. One of those is that we have six children at different stages of development. Second to this is parents who would like to stop yelling, and still see the chores and helpful siblings happening.

I started doing a bit of research and stumbled upon this video:

Love & Logic Parenting, How to Get Kids to Listen

I wish they had it set up so I could embed it, but they don't. So please head over there and listen and then come back to see the results of our first shot.

The Challenge:

Yesterday, I asked each of my oldest three boys to do one less-often-done chore. One had a bathroom to clean that hadn't been touched in quite some time; a second had some sawdust to vacuum up in a particular area of the house; a third had the refrigerator to empty and wipe down. I asked them anywhere between 10 a.m. and noon, and told them I needed it done by bedtime, or by dinner, depending on the child because two of them had scouts last night, so their evening was somewhat cut short. This was not an unexpected event though, so I knew they were each capable of the job assigned in the time given.

Then - as the video says - I waited. I gritted my teeth and did not offer reminders when they went outside to play at 2 p.m. I gritted my teeth when I left to take them to scouts and the other son was watching a movie on Netflix. Wait. Wait. Wait.

When I left for the scout meeting, I told 5-year-old Buttercup that she had until I returned home to get her room straight or we would have to do it together when I returned and she would miss part of the movie. Then I kissed all good-bye and walked out with those who needed to go.

The Results:

I returned from scouts about 30 minutes later. Buttercup was exactly where she had been when I left. Oops. "I'm so sorry that you didn't do your room. Now you have to miss some of the movie to get it done with me. Let's go take care of it."

Without any screaming, yelling, hollering, and minimal complaining, we went upstairs and she was even relatively enthusiastic about getting it done and was proud of the job she had done. She even did not complain about missing the movie time! (Color me surprised!)

Still I waited on the boys. (Whew! That was hard.)

At bedtime, the boys wanted to all sleep in Maestro's room. Good night, boys. Good night, Moon. Good night, All. Prayers and bed. Curtains down on act 2. 

I did a few quiet night time things for myself. Had a piece of chocolate that my lovely White Knight brought me. He confessed at one point that he had seen how they left their rooms and the kitchen after dinner and almost yelled, but then remembered what we were doing and stopped himself.  

To be fair to Maestro, he did g back down and straightened the kitchen before heading upstairs to sleep. I almost felt bad about waking him. Almost.

1 a.m.

I went nicely, sympathetically, into the room where all three boys slept so soundly. I turned on the light. I spoke gently, with increasing volume about what a shame it was I had to wake them. How sorry I was it had to happen this way but I just couldn't rest knowing that those three jobs were still messy.

But we're sleeping! Can't we do it in the morning??

No. No, I'm sorry. I just can't rest knowing that those are still messy. Come on. It won't take too long and then we can all get our rest.

But once I'm up I can't go right back to sleep. It takes around an hour or more!

I know. I really do. But we'll just get this done and be right back up.

Down the four of us trooped in the dark house to do the three chores when the distractions of friends and TV were not such an issue. Their feathers were clearly ruffled, and I was working hard to stifle my gleeful and evil cackles as I watched them work. Oh the joy of seeing the jobs get finished without fighting, yelling, arguing! Oh the fun of watching them not bicker with each other or complain about why do I have to do this job. Amazing how much "complaint energy" just doesn't exist when they are so tired and want to "get'r done" and get back to bed!

Thirty minutes later, the jobs that would have taken hours to finish with all the daytime bickering, were done, and my precious Cherubs were back in bed, asleep. Soundly, all three. And (surprise to me!) they were even fairly pleasant getting up the next morning at the regular time.

Will we try this method in other areas and learn more from Love and Logic Parenting?

Yes. Yes, I think we will....


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