I've missed not podcasting during this break that Kelly and I have been on. She's in grad school and is swamped with work for that, and we're both working hard like peopleguys on ATLOS and ATLOSCon stuff, too. I'm hoping that we'll get tons of podcasts recorded and produced this summer.
So, in not podcasting, I've missed doing our Situation of the Week. And I have a Situation of the Week (that I haven't even mentioned to Kelly just yet). In addition to my usual steps which include: trying to solve it myself, discussing it with Brendan, discussing it with Kelly, discussing it with the kids, coming up with a plan and working on it, I thought I'd ask for YOUR advice!
One of the exercises we do in our Positive Discipline workshops is something called Parents Helping Parents, where one person describes a real-life parenting challenge in detail to the rest of the group of parents who then brainstorm some solutions. The exercise is really valuable, even for the parents who are in the audience. It results in so many different ideas and good discussion about the merits of each and how to apply them to that unique situation.
PHP is by far more valuable in person, but I thought I could possibly adapt it for a blog setting. We'll give it a try and if it doesn't work, then Yippee Mistakes! We'll learn something and make a change for the future. :)
Here are the rules:
- I'll describe my problem below, making it as clear and specific as I can.
- Then I want you to brainstorm--give me any and all of your ideas for how to handle this! Put your ideas in the comments of this post. Go ahead and suggest punishments and rewards if you want to, but I am looking for non-punitive/non-rewarding ways to handle this problem.
- During the brainstorm, feel free to discuss the pros and cons of the suggestions if you want, but I will probably stay out of that type of discussion, at least until I've picked the suggestion I plan to try.
- I will provide some clarification and answer questions during the brainstorm if needed.
- After I get some suggestions, I'll choose the one I think might help me the best, and I'll explain what I like about it (and other likely options). Then I'll try it for a week or so and then get back to you.
What do you think?
Okay, so here's my problem: My kids (mainly Morgan) get into my stuff without asking and it's making me crazy.
A bit of context will help. I don't mind sharing my things, such as scissors and tape, but I very much prefer the courtesy of being asked. In part I prefer this, because if I'm asked, then I am aware of who has the items and can make sure that they are returned or a mess is cleaned up (a corollary problem here).
The other thing they do is open up new things and take them out of the packages even if I've asked them not to. Examples:
- taking every single roll of toilet paper out of the package and strewing them about (I go to the wholesale club to buy toilet paper and other items in bulk and this is a huge problem);
- (Morgan-specific) opening up items such as nail polish because she couldn't wait 30 more minutes for us to do it together as I'd promised;
- playing with or taking known "special" items (such as heirloom things) out of their packaging or display without asking;
- taking toys or craft projects I was saving for special occasions out of their packaging and using them up without permission.
The principle I'm trying to teach them (and why I get so annoyed) is that they need to respect other people's property. It's at the point where I am explicitly telling them "Don't open such-and-such." because I know they want to--and they are still doing it!
I've told them all that I would often be ready to say "yes" to their requests--if only they'd ASK.
I'm ready to climb out of my skin, because in addition to the messes and logistical issues and not having certain items when I want them (such as a craft project I'd intended to bring for Sean to work on at homeschool co-op), I am feeling like they don't think they need to respect my right to my stuff. As if anything I might own or have plans for in this house doesn't count because I'm "just Mom." I realize that might not be what they actually think--it's just how I feel.
What I've done so far is not working, which is immediately put a stop to the activity and have them clean up any associated messes. Oh yeah, and expressing my honest emotions about this directly (and sometimes vehemently). It's at the point where I feel like I need to have a sticky note on everything in the house that says "ASK MOM FIRST" on it. :/