Monday, September 10, 2007

Opressive Parents United

We are trying to balance using RDI with Alan and having him do a few chores. A few days ago, I began just having him put away a few things from the dishwasher...the silverware, or just the glasses. I prepared by emptying the dishwasher before he came down to breakfast except for these few items. Two days, it went fine. On the third day, he reached into the cupboard for a glass. There were none in there. I began passing him the clean glasses from the dishwasher, one by one. Near the end he declared, "Hurry up, Slow Poke! I hate chores."

Now I know that fifteen year olds do not like to do chores at all. At the same time, we think that he needs to learn to do them as part of the family unit. We tell him, we are all members of the family team and we all have to participate.

Yesterday afternoon, his dad and I were doing yard work and dad told Alan he needed to come out and help. I got out the video camera so that I could record some RDI moments. First, Dad asked Alan to pull the trigger and guide the long pole for trimming the oleander bushes. Minimal participation. Grumbling. Next, I asked him to mow the postage stamp back lawn. He did a decent job of it, grumbling all the while. Saying he was going to find a new family and run away. Saying we were oppressive parents.

The final thing Dad hit upon for Alan to help with was to cut away the branches of another, taller oleander which had twined its branches around the cable vision wire that runs into the house. Dad told Alan that if the branches broke the wire, Alan would have no more cable vision in the house. This did get Alan engaged. Alan had to pull on the rope which operated the lever after Dad had placed the hook over each branch. There was not a word of grumbling about this chore and there were no verbal stims at all. We do have video of this activity as well.

A friend on one of my lists told me she had the reaction of not wanting to do a chore from her fourteen year old daughter. Said daughter was willing to give up an afternoon with a friend rather than do the dishes. My friend offered me membership in OPU...Oppressive Parents United, pronounced "Oh, Poo!" She wondered what my son's reaction would be when I told him I had joined OPU. I can't wait to find out when I ask him to do the next chore.



Blogger The Glasers said...

What cracks me up is: (a) How do they think things happen? Magical fairies. Simply wishing on a star? (b) How do they think they will know what to do when no one else is around to fend for them?

My kids are finally helpful, but it has taken years! Pamela enjoys baking and does not mind doing gopher jobs. She is neat by nature and keeps her room in great shape.

David who inherited my messy tendencies is finally able to keep his room clean. He even keeps his bathroom clean and helps me to the big clean up jobs before company comes. He will occasionally volunteer to do extra work to earn money to buy something. He also helps Steve in the yard (grunt work: moving bricks to the trash pile, taking debris from the root cellar, etc.). I would be lying if I said he is always cheerful about it. But, he moans and groans less than he once did.

I do not know if this helped, but the Mary Poppins "snap your fingers and the work is done generation" might benefit from the Ralph Moody series (Little Britches and others) helps kids realize how EASY they have it today.

I could have been a charter member of OPU a few years back. We are seeing some light finally.


10:42 AM  

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