Gaining Cooperation in the Home

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Spring of 1996 - Florence Faus
"Gaining Co-operation in the Home"
This is after supper. We are sitting together in a circle around the table. Mary asks,"How do you get your older children to cooperate, and do their chores when you are rocking your sick toddler?" Susan says that she has a problem also and desperately needs answers. Ann answers that she tried this way and it really works. Mary responds that she saw how another mother handled this problem and it was not a good idea. Laura is sitting there holding her new little first-born and asks to hear more. Jane speaks next and wonders how to deal with her school age child who is always tattling.
This is our introduction to the points to ponder for this evening.
Most of you are mothers, some of you are Aunts, big sisters, and (or) school teachers. Sometimes one who is outside looking in, can see areas of need and also have good advice. We are listening for your observations as well.
Also, I want to say at this point, that you are looking at one who made her share of mistakes in mothering. These answers were our goals and they do WORK.
We are having a quiz to get us started in answering the questions raised in the after supper circle. Four or five people have the same questions on your slips of paper you received as you entered this evening. When your question number is called, please rise and share your thoughts.

1."Mothers, what is your most important life mission?"
Answer: care for the needs of your little ones, your pre-teens and your teens

2. What are their needs?
Answer: emotional - food - clothes - love - feelings of self-worth

3. How old are your sons and daughters until they don't need mother's presence for security?
Answer: Marjorie Shank once told me that even high school children need the security of having mother home when they get home from school. They may act like the could care less or don't need her. That is only a surface attitude.
A teacher once said, "When they close up on you, hold on; it is only for a time. They will be back."

4. What is YOUR most important need? Answer: BE RESTED!!!

5. What is YOUR most important peer pressure for you to ignore?
Answer: When you are emotionally and (or), physically exhausted and need quiet rest, NEVER feel guilty to miss church meetings, (especially extra ones), sewing circle, etc. Only you and your husband know best, how much you can take. Your job for the Lord is to be RESTED so that you can, as calmly as possible, deal with the racket, messes, runny noses, laundry, etc. that your little ones, pre-teens and teens can stir up.
Sometimes being with, and sharing with other mothers, and (or) being in worship IS very resting and encouraging. Only YOU know your needs.

6. How do you create and (or) preserve self-worth in your children?
Answer: Hug and hold them much. Say words of love to them. Praise and compliment them more than scold. They get embarrassed very easily; correction should be between parent and child alone, whenever possible. Compliment, "That was a big boy or big girl", when you see, even only one inch of trying to please. They grow taller at once, and often their next question is, "What else can I do, Mother?"
A young mother expressed a strong appreciation in the knowledge that her mother was not going around telling everyone how unhandy her teenagers were.
I watched an older mother when my children were little. She was bringing children to Sunday School from an ungodly home. One little girl was especially unhandy. I noticed that the more she squirmed and was bad, the more Sister Lena hugged and kissed her. I said to myself, "If hugging and showing love can subdue a broken child, surely the same thing should help our children who are not yet broken by sinful parents."

7. What is one name you NEVER call your child?
Answer: Stupid - Stubborn - Block-head - ( even if he is one )

8. When is the only time a mother's voice may get loud and sharp?
Answer: When the child is in immediate danger. Correction must be in a firm no nonsense tone - NEVER anger.

9. How do you create a spirit of caring and cooperating in your pre-teens and teens?
Answer: Long before they are pre-teens, work on a spirit of, "We are a family. God put us together. God sent this little one to us. God wants you to be a kind, caring big brother or sister. Right now baby needs only his mother. Right now baby's sick. Mother needs to rock him."
Help them see that one time they were baby and had more of mother's time and attention. Now they are big and have big hands. Now they can do dishes, sweep, pick beans, etc. Thank your pre-teens for their efforts and finished job. Help them to learn to say, "Thanks" to whoever made the meal or whatever.
Mothers' Ideas in every day living:
One mother told me she divided the day: meals, sweeping, etc. on a written schedule sheet and placed it on the refrigerator. Each child knows when his turn is for cooking breakfast, dinner, supper, and doing dishes and sweeping or laundry - the daily chores. Believe me, they keep each other in line. "I'll do it when it's my turn. You'd better do it when it's yours." Never the less, the work gets done. Mother is in the rocking chair right there, or if need be, she takes a nap. It may not be as perfect as she'd do it. But, it's done at least. Your house must be clean enough to live in, but doesn't need to be a show room.
Saturday was cleaning day at our house:
The other day I was asking one of my daughters for ideas for this talk, and she began to remember the card cleaning system. Her conclusion was interesting. She said - and I quote her, "It gave incentive to choose and do on your own, rather than to be told every move. It gave a sense of achievement, and also the knowledge that the work won't drag on and on. When the cards are all picked, finished and transferred to the other dish - we are DONE! And, off they went for play time.
Here is our card system: We cut 2" by 3" cards from cereal boxes. I wrote small chores on each card. My stack must have been 3 inches high. Some of the things I wrote on the cards are as follows:
*Wash kitchen door sill
*Empty kitchen waste can
*Empty bath room waste can
*Sweep play room floor
*Wipe counter shelves
*Sweep kitchen floor
*Wipe one kitchen chair
*Shake one rug
*Fold only wash clothes
*Fold towels
*Wipe basement steps
*Dust stair steps
*Wash kitchen floor
Do you get the picture? Many cards with a small job each. Several cards said, "Take 10 minute break when you did three cards." Can you hear them whoop and holler when they got one of them? That was Saturday cleaning at our house. What great fun that was!
Each of our children had a card-board box decorated by himself for his clean laundry and he was responsible to see that it went to his bedroom and was put away.
Also my daughter remembered doing gardening all together, with the piece of discipline hanging in the tree.
I also heard of mothers hiding pennies and (or) nickels in corners or under waste cans, or where ever. Our children loved that idea. We also gave a nickel a row for hoeing the garden. Children thrive on rewards and compliments.
My mother-in-law often said, "Never send a child to work. Work with him." Mothers you can nurse your baby, sitting on a basket by the garden, Since mother's or daddy's presence is so important to a child.
Another thing that seemed very important to me was: Most of the time when our children came home from school, we allowed them approximately a half hour to unwind or do whatever, before recruiting them for whatever needed to be done.
Another daughter, who has a hyper-active child who is reaching the teen years, is saying, "Find a time when you are calm together, as regularly as you need to, to talk alone with her. Talk about a Bible verse that's pertinent. Have her share her angry feelings and then pray together. She herself tells me that praying together really helps."
Talk! Talk! Talk! Tell how happy you and daddy are when you see even only an inch of improvement.
Another mother said, She used to say -"Kick up your heels and run. You run like a deer. I can see the bottoms of your feet." This worked for her two first ones, but did not work for her third child.
Share together happy times; in fact, plan happy times together. Share together hurts. Apologize when you see you have jumped to soon. You had not seen all the angles. Keep in mind that they saw your faults as well as you did. When you apologize, you are telling them, "We are in this together."

10. What are 3 important rules for infants in order for toddlers to learn instant obedience?
Answer: 1. Hold him enough to feel wanted.
2. Hold him firmly when he is old enough to resist mother; until he learns that squirming and screaming gets nowhere.
3. When diapering, insist that he lies on his back until mommy has finished. Also, after learning to walk, teach him to come, by:
Gently calling his name, being sure he heard you, reaching our your arms to him while calling and coaxing him. When he comes, hug, caress and praise him.
If he turns away, mommy or daddy needs to pick him up and administer enough swats to reach his mind and convince him that it hurts to disobey.
Keep saying that he must always come when his parents call. Hold him warmly until he can stop sobbing and can smile again!
NEVER chase a child for correction. That is a fun game for toddlers, but you lose your opportunity for helping him unto a foundation of obedience.
When he learns this foundation at a young age, he and his parents are spared many heartaches in his pre-teen and teenage years.

11. What do you do about a biting child?
Answer: When nature calls him to bite, he will try mothers nipple. Again speak; say, "No, you don't bite mother," with a sharp snap on the cheek, and (or) close up the dairy barn for a later time.
An older pre-schooler can be made to bite wood if he can't stop biting his siblings.

12. The pre-school child who has learned instant obedience as a toddler, is noticing that older ones in the family sometimes finish what they are doing at the moment before moving on to a new job they've been assigned. So, he assumes that he also no longer needs instant obedience.
Now what do you do?
Answer: You need to explain to him that, "Big brother or sister was as old as you were once, and obeyed instantly. When you are older and as tall as he is, you will be able to work on your own like he does. For now, you are doing like people as tall as you do, which is always 'come' when mother and dad call you."

13. You were not aware of these foundation principles when your children were small, and now are having problems. What do you do now?
Answer: All is not lost. Children are resilient. Now, when you are both happy together, show them where you went wrong in not establishing the basic principles of caring obedience. Apologize to them for your lack of good parenting. Point out with the Word of God, His instructions; and, take initiative to be sure that from now on we will use Bible principles in
parent-child relationship.
A few years ago a mother told me that they did this very thing. They have a good relationship with their teens today. In fact she told me recently that their young teen daughter, not so long ago, thanked her father for putting his foot down and for saying, "No".

14. What is tattling?
Answer: Prattle as a young child, revealing private affairs, angrily accusing, etc.

15. How do you help children curb tattling?
Answers: 1 Peter 4:8B - Charity shall cover a multitude of sins (errors)
Prov. 10:12 - Hate stirs up strife (old quarrels) love covers all sins (offenses, insults)
Prov. 17:9 - He that covers a transgression (a offense) seeketh love; he that repeateth a matter (brings up a matter again) separateth (alienates) friends
Prov. 16:28B - a tale bearer (whisperer) separateth the best of (chief, close) friends
Prov. 18:8 - the words of a tale bearer (whisperer, busybody) are as wounds and go down into the innermost parts of the belly

16. What percentage of tattling should the child be helped to see that it comes under the category of these verses?
Answer: He needs to learn to love and overlook insults and offences. This will stop much tattleing. You can show him that he makes mistakes also. We often asked our children what they did to provoke the insult. You and the school teacher can discuss together and possibly discover that there truly are two sides to the story.

17. Parenting is NOT a once and done experience! - Read Isaiah 28:10 here a little and there a little.