Monday, October 20, 2014

Parenting Advice - Why?

The Husband and I had agreed long before we had children that we both thought it would be important when raising children that we explain why we ask our children to do things.

Most of the time, we've done that very well.
I'm pretty frickin' proud that we've never, ever had to answer the question, "Why?" with "Because I said so."

It's not to say that the boys have consistently done what we've asked, but we've found we don't have to "nag" them about things we've explained as often as when we fail to give a good reason.

 Case in point:
The boys have the run of the basement.  As long as they keep it clean, we don't care if they eat pizza, drink soda, and entertain their friends down there every day.
The boys are good about picking up food, paper plates, and recyclables.  However, all of these things get crammed into the trash basket downstairs... and stay there.

You would think that after the basket got full, someone would empty it into the garbage can in the garage.  But no.  That's grown-up thinking, not kid thinking.
Grown-ups think, "That's going to start to smell bad and attract critters."
Kids think, "I wonder how big I can make this pile before it falls over," and "It'll be cool to gross out the guys if this starts to stink!"

The other day while doing laundry, I passed the overfilled trash basket.  It was stacked so high with teenage snack waste that it looked like a picture in a Dr. Seuss book.  (In all fairness, it was an impressive show of balancing skill.)

I know I had mentioned to both boys that they had needed to take the trash out, and one or the other had replied, "Yeah. I know."
But, there it still stood.

So, the next time I saw Younger Son (who hosts the most friends), I asked him again to empty the trash downstairs. 
This time I worded it differently:
"You'll want to empty the trash before mice decide to move in downstairs."

The trash was gone in minutes.
And I'm pretty sure the next time the basket gets full, he'll think about mice climbing in it, and he'll empty it right away without further prompting.

Parenting high five!


las794 said...

That beats "Because I said so" all over the place! :)

Thumper said...

I used "Because I said so" a few times. Sometimes it's appropriate.

Why can't I have 62 cookies 10 minutes before dinner? Because I said so.

If it's something they can get the logic from all on their own, and still want to push...because I said so is good enough.

And now is when you go get some rubber mice to place just so around the basement ;)

Roses said...

Rubber mice, on the shopping list!

Shoshanah Lee Marohn said...

Good parenting! Sadly, at our house, sometimes the mice would actually move in, and that would explain the why quite quickly!