Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Function of Mothers



Compliments, say researchers, are a sounder currency than cash when it comes to motivating people. 
I read this with interest. Efforts to bribe my children to perform basic domestic functions have failed. A carnage of Barbies obscures my daughter's carpet and flung socks and sweet wrappers track my son's progress through the week. 
And so I changed tack. 'Your hair looks like Emma Watson's,' I told my 10-year-old, 'and you sing like Adele. Now will you wash up your supper things!' 
The silence was deafening. 
'You're always telling me not to act older,' she retorted at last. 'Well, washing up is what mums do.'

This week's prompt for the 100 Word Challenge is the silence was deafening. As you can see I am accustomed to this phenomenon. If 50p extra pocket money a week and fawning flattery don't work, what else do you suggest I try?

32 comments:

  1. Arh you arent Draconian enough. I was very strict with my two. They had to tidy their rooms once a week on Saturday mornings and when they were old enough change their sheets. When they were quite young I had asked them to pick up stuff endlessly and in the end I told them that if they didnt I would throw away everything on the floor. I had to go through with it and we had a truamatic afternoon while they wailed and I put toys in black bin bags which I then hid in the garage. A couple of days later the dustbin men came, I had forgotten about the hidden toys but the boys hadnt and they stood pitifully looking out the window as they thought their toys were being taken away. A couple of days later they came back from school and found all their toys back. That was it from then on. They know that I will carry out threats so they pay attention.

    I am a single parent and have been since the boys were little (they are 20 and 21 now) and I had to be strict to cope but it did them no harm. They are happy and well adjusted and we are a close family.

    I think kids need rules etc and it annoys me when parents ask children to do things and when the child refuses they let it go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I threaten the bin liner trick now and then and it's always prompted instant cooperation because my kids know I'm nasty enough to do it. And they don't get pocket money when they don't tidy their rooms and make their bed every day. But the 10yo is happy enough to live without funds so I need another lever other than a berating which happens almost nightly.

      Delete
    2. Yes it is finding a threat that works and you are prepared to carry out. Remember my sister phoning up in tears as she had threatened my niece who wasnt eating her dinner and couldnt bring herself to see the threat through.

      Delete
  2. That child will be a barrister. Or a politician ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It pleases me to think that her cheek is a sign of genius rather than bone idleness!

      Delete
  3. Try rewarding with points and when she has reached however many you think it warrants then tell her she can have a mother/daughter day where she decides what she wants to do. You can do the same with G if appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely idea. We've had sticker charts galore but mother and daughter days are tricky with a small son in tow and a husband who works weekends.

      Delete
    2. I thought the husband only worked Sundays!?!

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. I suppose this cleverness will afford her a team of servants so she'll never have to master a domestic chore!

      Delete
  5. Great take on the prompt (hopefully I will be joining in again next week!) - she's a clever one your girl. I want to know how you responded to her retort :o).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I pointed out that she seems to think parents are servants. 'Not servants, slaves,' she said, 'Because I don't pay you.' They don't arm you properly for adolescence, these breeding guides!

      Delete
  6. No-one compliments mums. We work without pay, AND without compliments.

    No helpful ideas re getting kids to help round the house. Sorry. Except to lower ones tidiness standards and be happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm prepared to meet in the middle. I'll lower mine and she can raise hers!

      Delete
  7. She sounds like a clever child, unfortunately i only have a toddler and she loves helping mummy at the min. I've seen ideas on Pinterest of having magnets on fridge with money amounts on, they then choose what they want to do to get their pocket money. No chores, no money. Another one is if they leave anything about it gets put in a box and they have to do a chore to get it back. Don't know if it'd work or not. My mum just used to threaten me with taking plug off my tv. That was enough punishment for me!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the idea of a chore to claim back a confiscated treasure. Thank you.

      Delete
  8. We have Clean and Pay Day - 50p a room for tidyness and another 50p per room for Hoovering - I hope they never find out about the minimum wage!
    Have been known tho' in instances of non cooperation to do the Black Bin Bag trick - or its evil twin - the put absolutely everything in their bed and cover with Duvet - room then looks v tidy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That last one is thrilling. Trouble is most of her possessions already live under her duvet and she sleeps balanced on the rim of the mattress so as not to disturb them.

      Delete
  9. Google 'the uh oh bucket'. Think I might try this with my two, neither of whom care about money. I try and talk to them about how tiredI feel because I work hard, their Dad is working away at the moment, etc and we all need to pull together then e'll have more time to do cool stuff (if we all help with the housework). They're fairly good. I find nagging just doesn't work, it becomes me vs. them. I wouldn't think the bin bag thing would work unless you actually throw their things away.....they're not daft,they'll realise that you'll eventually give them their stuff back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Am intrigued. Will Google. Yes, nagging just becomes tiresome for everyone. Thanks

      Delete
  10. You just can't win with kids can you? Hope you find something that works. I was intrigued about the uh oh bucket mentioned above - love the idea!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Every time I read your 100 WC I think I must join in. I don't know why, as just because you're brilliant at it doesn't have a jot of effect on how I might rise to the challenge! My step father ensured we never got away with things like that and took it turns to wash up for pocket money. He did it on Sundays and always on Christmas Day - I still miss him for that then! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should join in. It's meant to be fiction, I think, but I never was any good at that. I'm sure you would be.

      Delete
  12. I think at this stage its time to give up in the knowledge that one day they will be saying just the same to your grandchildren, and just enjoy having very clever children yourself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose you're right. I do comfort myself with the thought that in 30 years they'll realise I was right all along, but it seems a long time to wait!

      Delete
  13. LOL Your piece proves that oceans nor decades changes the minds of the young. They are the same the world over, through time and most likely space, that is if we should ever meet any from Mars. :-) Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! That's a comfort. I thought everyone else's children were biddable chore lovers!

      Delete