A room that looks like a pig sty
Clothes in the hallway, living room, bathroom, or beside the clothes basket
Crumbs on the couch
Notes that should have been signed and turned in
Projects that should have begun 1 week ago, not the night before they are due
Those are my main triggers of irresponsible behaviors. And living with a house full of boys (one of those a teenager), those behaviors happen quite often. It isn’t uncommon for there to be underwear or hoodies on the living room floor. It isn’t uncommon to find out the last minute that a project is due or cookies need to be baked for a fundraiser. It isn’t uncommon to find empty chip bags or coke bottles thrown into a bedroom corner. So, it isn’t uncommon for me to become upset with these boys.
One thing I noticed was that my punishments never worked. I found that natural consequences seemed to have more of an effect.
Oh, you didn’t get me to sign your form? Sorry. You will miss out on the activity.
Oh, you didn’t put your laundry where I asked you to? Sorry. I guess you will have to find something else to wear or pray that the Wrinkle Release will take away the stench.
The natural consequences make an impact on my boys. I don’t have to worry about finding a punishment to fit the crime.
Now if I can just get them to match up socks for me!
Throughout my ongoing journey to get my children to be responsible, I have to stop and remember that they are children. They won’t do everything to my expectations. They will make a mess, and sometimes that mess will be bigger than the one they are trying to clean up. And the biggest thing???? I am pushing 40 and I have some irresponsible behaviors. I put off doing dishes or laundry. I put off matching socks. I put off weekly overviews for work. I must show my children grace because like me, they are not perfect.
When delegating chores, encouraging them to be more responsible with school, or whatever tasks they are struggling with, I think it is important for us as parents to teach or model for our children how these things can be done. For instance, I would get so frustrated that their rooms were never cleaned to my expectations. Yet, I didn’t teach them to do it. I assumed they knew how to place books on shelves and put things away properly. Only when I started showing them how to complete a task were they more successful. Although things aren’t always done to my expectations, they are done to their capabilities. And when I praise them for that, they are eager to do it again (or more!) next time.
And one of the biggest things that has helped me help them is teaching them Colossians 3:17 (and there is a little song that Steven Curtis Chapman sings about it too). I’ll admit, my attitude has change as well as a result of this verse.
What about you? How do you deal with irresponsible behavior?
What about this chapter resonated or challenged you?
Do you have any creative ways to to parent that you can share with us?