Security Borders - Your Daily family routine and Chores
A Practical Guide for Parents to Create a Daily Routine and time management for children!
By Orly Redlich, MA, Educational Counselor
BOUNDARIES: ARE THEY GOOD?
Setting boundaries gives children a message of love. It conveys to them that someone respects them, is taking care of them and is giving them security. Boundaries teach a child to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong. They put order into life, which increases self-esteem.
IF THEY ARE SO GOOD, WHY ARE THEY SO HARD TO MAINTAIN?
Too often, parents encounter obstacles. Their children refuse to follow the daily routine, they become angry, cry and try to manipulate in different ways. They want to avoid doing their chores, following their parents time management and break the boundaries. In the morning, waking them up is a challenge; in the afternoons, they would rather play than do their homework; and in the evening, they avoid showering and arranging their school bag for the next day. Children constantly examine and challenge their parents’ patience, educational role and regular demands. This leads to parent-child conflicts around the issue of the daily chores; disagreements and arguments arise in which each side insists on having things done his or her way.
STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH CONFLICTS.
Usually, parents have predictable reactions when conflicts arise with their children. Some common reactions include:
AVOIDANCE: not confronting the child; ignoring the existence of conflicts.
COERCION: trying to enforce his will on his child.
TUG OF WAR: pulling in one direction while the child pulls in another. Neither is willing to compromise and neither is able to enforce his or her will on the other. The relationship is characterized by tension and attrition.
CONCESSION: conceding to the child’s will.
COMPROMISE or “WIN-WIN”: seeking a middle road. Each listens to the other and gives in a bit; thus, they find a common path to fulfill both wills, without compromising each other’s needs.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? AND HOW?
Follow the 5 Golden Rules: coordination, appropriateness (suitability), explanation, choice and persistence.
As in a good recipe, below is a list of dos and don’ts for each parent trying to set boundaries for his child:
1. COORDINATION: In order to set boundaries, parents should coordinate with each other. Make a list of the daily routine issues that are important to both of them in the home. Do not be influenced by rules of behavior in other families—focus only on what is right and important to your family.
2. APPROPRIATENESS: Do not set rules or boundaries that you cannot abide by. As a parent, you are a role model for your children; therefore, it is essential that your demands match your behavior.
3. EXPLANATION: Explain the meaning of the boundary to your child. It is important that he or she understands the logic and purpose behind it. Then the child will be better equipped to honor the boundary—even if he does not agree with it. Explaining boundaries can be done by creating a daily schedule or routine. It’s best to define the time and duration for each activity. When your child wakes up in the morning he should know that his daily activities include going to school, lunch, homework, meeting friends, dinner, showering and preparing for sleep. In time, your child will learn to organize himself using the timetable and boundaries his parents created.
4. CHOICE: Let your child choose between several behavior options that are in line with the boundaries you set. Freedom of choice will convey to your child that he or she is being honored, and will teach him to take responsibility for his actions. He will grow up with the understanding that his opinion matters and that he can communicate it when need be. He will also learn to respect authority based on the boundaries in different circumstances.
5. PERSISTENCE: It is important to be persistent and set boundaries that you are able to maintain. Sometimes parents pity their child and make concessions for him. When it is clear that the child does not feel comfortable performing a task or chore in his daily routine, he’ll try to circumvent the boundaries. The parent’s role is to help his or her child embrace the discipline that will eventually help him in life. Once you have set a boundary and explained it to him, it is your duty to be persistent in maintaining it. Otherwise, the message you convey will be that your words may be ignored. If you are persistent, in time, your child will internalize your boundaries and start to abide by them independently.
EXAMPLE 1: Ron wants to watch TV and play in the evening. He doesn’t want to shower.
MESSAGE TO THE CHILD:
“In our home we take a shower every day.” This may lead to an argument: “I will shower tomorrow morning.” “But I’m too tired for a shower.” “I didn’t play outdoors today, so I’m not sweaty.”
YOU SET THE BOUNDARY:
“There is a time for playing or watching TV. Now it’s more important to take a shower.” (The message is duty before privileges.)
“After you watch TV and play it will be very late, and you’ll go to sleep past your bedtime.” “Mornings are always tight. You will not have enough time to shower and be on time for school.” “You must pay attention to hygiene and cleanliness, because they are important for your health and they make you feel refreshed.”
YOU GIVE CHOICES:
“You may eat dinner before you take a shower.” “If you are too tired to take a shower, you can give up TV today, rest for a while and shower later.” “Today you can take a quick shower.” “Today, have a fun, long bubble bath.”
YOU REMAIN PERSISTENT:
The next day, when Ron wants to skip his shower again, he gets exactly the same answer. After a few trials, he will tell you on his own, “I’m going to take a shower right after my TV show.”
EXAMPLE 2: Ann wants to set a play date. She hasn’t done her homework yet.
THE MESSAGE TO YOUR CHILD:
“In our home, we finish our homework first and then we can meet our friends.” This may lead to an argument: “I will do my homework after I finish playing.” “My homework is not due tomorrow.”
YOU SET THE BOUNDARY:
“Do your homework before a play date.” (The message is duty before privileges).
“After you play with your friend you will be too tired to study and you’ll find it hard to concentrate.” “Later I might not be able to help you if you have questions, because I may be busy preparing dinner.” “Your schoolwork is important for your future.”
YOU GIVE CHOICES:
“You can eat before you do your homework.” “You can do your homework while sitting next to me.” “If you are too tired to do homework now, rest for a while and then do it.”
YOU REMAIN PERSISTENT:
The next day, when Ann asks again to play before doing her homework, she gets exactly the same answer. After a few trials, she will tell you on her own, “I’m setting a play date with my friend right after I’ve finished my homework.”
CHILDREN GAIN THE FOLLOWING:
· an enhanced sense of capability and self esteem
· skills to cope with conflicts
· positive social and relationship development
PARENTS GAIN THE FOLLOWING:
· enhanced parental authority
· the ability to provide their children with freedom of choice and a sense of responsibility
· their children’s respect for parental values
· effective and relaxed familial communication
ARE THERE ANY EDUCATIONAL AIDS TO IMPLEMENT DAILY CHORES, ROUTINE AND BOUNDARY SETTINGS?
Wizarday: When Our Stuff Went Away, created by Toys’NTayls.
A perfect product to help you put the 5 Golden Rules into action, while having fun with your child as a partner. WIZARDAY is a humorous yet educational story with activities for children and parents, and an educational board and card game. It teaches the importance of daily chores & routine and how to achieve it through strategic thinking, conflict-resolving dialogue, empowerment and setting boundaries. It develops the parent’s and child’s flexibility by teaching respect for and understanding of different attitudes, increasing communication skills, choosing right options and learning to cooperate.
WHAT PRACTICAL LESSONS ARE ACHIEVED THROUGH THIS GAME?
1. The game teaches players to reduce disagreements between parents and children and to reach agreements or compromises that are acceptable to both.
2. It exercises effective negotiation and mediation skills to resolve conflicts.
3. It teaches players to be attentive to the interests of others.
4. It teaches players to focus on finding solutions that are acceptable to both sides.
5. It teaches players to look at situations from different perspectives.
6. It enhances family relationships.
7. Family Fun! May 2010