Parent Tip & Enrichment - 2020 June
From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney
My mantra lately is to remember to stop asking and start expecting. I remembered this from a book I read years ago about a man who for 30 days stopped asking his children to do anything. He remarked that it was absolute torture! In fact, every minute he caught himself demanding and desiring things from his children… things that they had missed (take your plate to the sink) or stepped over (dirty clothes) or shrugged off (brushing their teeth). He knew that his children had done these things repeatedly, but for some reason the more he asked the more they seemed to forget. To be clear, he said, these weren’t things I was teaching for the first time, they were things they knew and “forgot”.
As he wrote the book, he uncovered two things. The first was that children really do FORGET. Why all this pressure and angst over them not remembering? Imagine how many times we forget names, our keys (me) or paying that bill? What if we were lambasted every time we forgot - would we feel any better about doing these things?! The second was that the more he said it, the more they simply didn’t want to do things. And that is true for ALL humans. I.e. look at the typical day in a marriage. I’ve never given John a Honey Do list… I know for sure if I did, NOTHING would be done on it. Yet, in the absence of a list, he does more than 10 people combined!
One of my favorite quotes (paraphrased) from Dr. Montessori is that to be a parent you have to be clever and wiley and creative all at the same time. Simply asking for things over and over again doesn’t work. And so these last few weeks, I’ve walked around my house (and around and around!) simply expecting that they will do the things they know they should do. FYI… this is not 100% fool proof. But a few examples blew my mind. Just as I was about to ask them about their teeth, holding my tongue to the last minute… they up and did it. When little John wanted to use the sander and paint a desk all by himself, I zipped it on “putting everything back”. He not only put everything back in the garage, he labeled the spot with tape so he knew where to return it. Dishes went up to the counter (albeit not in the dishwasher). And overall things were so much lighter. No doubt they were tired of hearing everything that I was darn tired of saying!