Actually, how do you get them to do anything useful? When I announce that we are going to, for example, “clean the living room,” then ask one of them to take something to his/her room, they do one of the following, or a combination of the following, or, if we’re really having fun, ALL of the following:
- ignore me;
- ignore me until I freak out;
- complain, roll around on the ground in agony, blame the other kid for the mess, complain – listen to me yell, threaten, demand action – whine (possibly cry), finally do it, complain again;
- do it, then disappear strategically, forever;
- act like they’re going to do it, start walking away like they’re going to do it, only to stop mid-way, distracted by fuzz on the carpet or some other spellbinding item, then ignore me again or repeat #3 sequence;
- tie stuff together (we’ve been over this).
Almost never do they simply arise and do the task.
And I find myself asking, once again: what am I doing wrong? How have I blown this one? Do other kids do chores? Why don’t mine do them? Are mine just lazy? Entitled? And if so, how did they get lazy and entitled?
Then I reflect on all the hundreds of ways I could have contributed to the development of lazy, entitled children and I either start feeling generally inadequate and full of self-pity or I develop a weird, fierce determination to change the way things are happening in this house!, and I make deep, serious resolutions, delineating my plans in great detail to Mac and maybe even the hoodlum children.
They look at me respectfully, agreeing, because clearly I’m serious this time.
They’re not really concerned, though, because they know I’ll forget about these vast serious momentous plans in exactly 2 hours.
Or until the next time I freak out, at which time we’ll start the whole thing over again.
And I will be reminded of the story of my life: GREAT IDEA. INEVITABLY POOR EXECUTION.
P.S. No, really. How do you get kids to do chores? Totally open to suggestions.