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    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Attitude Overhaul

    About two weeks ago, Ladybug suddenly "grew up", in all the ways a parent hopes their child will by age 14 (and none of the ones we'd prefer immaturity in until 40).

    I don't know if it was going to the square, hanging out at the rare breed, discovering she had a birth defect that would need surgery to correct, or just that her brain has finally matured a little, but no matter what the reason, I pretty pleased with the result.

    Last year, if we wanted to go anywhere special or do anything we'd like to do for the family, she could stop everything in it's tracks, just by not doing her chores. And for the most part, I would get so sick of it, or want to go out and have a bit of fun from time to time, that I'd take us out for fun anyway.

    Not the greatest parenting maneuver, but at that point, I knew that in part, her disobeying was to punish me by keeping me from doing what I wanted, and no child should have that kind of power or control over their parent. I was in quite a conundrum. Did I let her get away with chore neglect so that I could leave the house from time to time, of did I sit, defeated, and spend all my time trying to browbeat her into taking care of her responsibilities?

    For a long time, I did both with varying frequency.

    She's also accused Keebler of being abusive (when she's angry at him) because he helps me make her do her chores, mostly by standing in the kitchen and watching her do them, and reminding her to get back to work when she slacks off. It was really annoying for her, but not abusive, and when she would yell and scream for four hours about how unfair it was for her to do the dishes, it was quite unwarranted. She has some friends now whose parents have abused them, and some even, whose parents have kicked them out of the house between 14 and 16, to live on the streets alone. Maybe these friends she has made while helping out at the Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center have helped her to put the word "abuse" into better perspective... She hasn't said anything about herself experiencing any abuse in weeks either.

    Then, out of the blue the other day, she woke up, made herself some breakfast, and did her chores, then played on the computer for a while, and when the end of the public school day rolled around, she asked if she could go have fun at the library with her friends or something similar.

    Knowing a good thing when I saw it, I wanted to encourage this, so I let her go, and lo and behold, she kept it up!

    She's been doing her chores in the house, picking up the coffee grounds, helping out in the community where she's allowed to do so, working with our mini-garden, and even helping out with some extra things just so we can reach our goals faster. It's been amazing.

    I didn't want to say anything about it until now, but she's still keeping it up!

    She even told Faith that she feels more mature now, and while she didn't think chores were fair just three weeks ago, now she realizes that it is her responsibility to be a contributing member of the family, and when there are things that need to be done that she can help with, it makes the whole family work better, and we can all have fun together more often if all that time isn't taken up with working and cleaning.

    1 comment:

    Rambleman said...

    Glad to hear that your "little girl" is growing-up the way you had hoped. YAY!