Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Family Meeting

Dun dun duuuuuuun....My house is a mess. I work, PC works. We clean. The kids, not so much. The cats litterbox got trashed in the plumbing flood and decided that anything soft would suffice in its place. Well, after that all got cleaned up, some of the lovely cat pee aroma lingered in a few places. Guess what, the cats found it. So now we're on massive clean up, but PC and I are planning a family meeting to discuss this with the kids. You see, everytime something happens, we all end up crabby, the kids end up killing each other and blaming each other, but they never do anything about it. That's going to end tonight.

The words "family meeting" fill children with dread, hell, they still scare me and I'm usually on the parental end of the meeting. The feeling of, "Oh God, what did I do wrong this time," or "Geez, what are mom & dad pissed about now" is very common when the meeting is mentioned. That's why we haven't told the kids....I know, it would have been fun to make them sweat it out all day and worry and wonder, but, by the same token that would have given them time to get worried and defensive and figure out how to point whatever blame there may be at someone else. Thankfully for the kids, and for us, too, I suppose, it will be a relatively short meeting. We will go over chore lists that MUST be done. They will ask about allowance and I'll tell them, for the 8, 592nd time that I will not give them allowance when a) they don't ever do their jobs unless they're threatened with a punishment worse than death and b) PC and I don't get paid for doing any cleaning around the house...we didn't get paid for ripping up the carpeting and sanding the stairs either!

We will find job lists that are fair and will, ultimately, if followed, lead to rewards for all of them. There are some chores that won't be assigned to SmallBoy and the other two will, as usual, bet mad. SmallBoy needs direction and someone to stand over him to keep him on task, so something complicated is not worth giving to him...better to give him several short easier tasks, than one large task, or to have him assist Girl or LargeBoy in a task. Also, with his asthma, there are chores like dusting and sweeping that I won't have him do. StupidDog sheds and entire sweater's worth of dog hair/hour and the Obnoxiously Cute Furballs, well, they're cats...'nuff said.

5:00 is drawing nearer, so I should set my mind to work and make some notes for tonight's meeting and, perhaps, start the chore list. I will march in their armed and ready, confer with my partner in crime -- oops! --parenting, collaborate our thoughts, and call the meeting to order. Beware Children! While I'm thinking of it, any ideas on household tasks for Aspies that give them a sense of responsibility and teach them about helping out and following rules, but at the same time require minimal guidance? I could really use some.


PM said...
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PM said...

For small boy, I would have him put away the clean silverware. I absolutely hate that job. He could carry dishes to the table for Girl to set. I'd stick with putting away the silverware; it's just such an icky job.

Here's one I love....keeping the refrigerator stocked with your favorite beverage. My favorite beverage is diet pepsi; but you can improvise with beer, wine, water. See what I mean? Did you ever notice that there isn't a cold can of pop when you want one even though you've re-stocked the refrigerator the night before?!!! My tax write-offs are famous for leaving me with warm diet pepsi!!!

Or, how about licking the envelopes on the outgoing bills. YOu could have him spit on them so they're nice and wet when the credit card companies receive them. You know what, send him to my house and he can spit on my bills. He may not have enough saliva, but it's worth a try.

Also, he could be put in charge of jumping in the leaves. After all, he is small boy. Actually, I vote for him to jump in the leaves. I mean, he is small boy. And, the only worry he should have, is that the nice weather is coming to an end for another six months.

Have fun at your meeting. Don't let the buggers psyche you out. Kids can be pretty scary, especially when they gang up on you.

Good luck!


marti said...

Child has a few jobs, and tonight I figured out another way ... so here goes:

1) On Thursday night he must take all the recyclable cans, plastics, etc out of the collection container and place them in brown bags (these are what we put at the curb). He knows this, and he accomplishes well.

2) A dish is NEVER left on the table after eating. It is cleared to the counter, and sometimes, if I'm standing over it, straightaway into the dishwasher. I enforce this in the morning before school, too, and it reminds him to take his meds if he hasn't with b-fast.

3) His room is the picture of organization. Tubs for each league and division of baseball cards. Desk has places for everything. Drawers in dresser have NO change season to season. Always can find the same length shirt in the same place, underpants in the same place. AND, all of these are labeled. Bins, drawers, everything. Little stickly labels from a labelmaker at Target. He puts his own clothes away, and knows where things should go. He puts his toys and baseball cards away. He makes his bed. Clothes to the hamper. I have had to be a bit of a drill sergeant about all of these (for heaven's sake, I tried to teach him as a SmallBoy, but he's 10 now, and really does get it).

This is all we do for now. No older siblings, so there's no competition for least number of or easiest jobs.

Also, job lists just came home from Husband's office laminated today (morning, afternoon, evening) so that he can check off everything with an overhead pen. Including all the independant care stuff -- brush teeth, etc. That way I can say, "Do your list."

I love, love, love the idea about keeping the frig stocked with pop / water / etc. A treat for him would be to put in his 2 cans of lemon-lime 1 for Saturday and 1 for Sunday. Mama can't do without her dietPepsi, but if he has a little reward to look forward to ... hmmmmm?

Just my 2 cents

mommyguilt said...

Ladies -

What marvelous ideas!!!! Perhaps with a twist on the favorite beverages - making sure that LargeBoy and Girl know that what's in there is off limits to them...they can get their own as a reward (for Girl that would be chocolate ice cream, her comfort food). Thanks girlfriend!

Marti - I like the organization in Child's room! That's where the problem comes in with SmallBoy...his room is totally NOT organized, not to mention that he hasn't nearly enough drawer space for his clothes. We're trying to rearrange his room (at his suggestion) to make room for another dresser.

Ladies you are wonderful! Thank you SO much for your ideas!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love Marti's idea of labeling everything....I think that's good for all kids...and, I have to admit...I still do it for myself...and, well, I'm a grandmother!!