|My cute grandparents, circa 1982ish.|
My grandparents raised six children. They were polite, cheerful, well groomed and hard workers. They weren't this way through threat or intimidation, either, although Grandma and Grandpa were both champions when it came to discipline. My dad was fond of telling how when the kids would bicker, Grandma sent them out to weed the (huge enough to feed 8 people) garden together, or clean the chicken coup. And heaven help you if Grandpa caught you doing wrong because he'd assign the big jobs. They learned not to fight, or at least do it quietly lest they be given extra chores. When you're a kid on a farm plenty of work is already expected. Extra duties were especially onerous. When I was a child my dad employed the same approach and you'd better believe my sisters and I obeyed every rule when he was around.
Now that I'm a mother, I have discovered for myself the beauty that is work being done by misbehaving children and the lessons they can learn while they work. Rather than time outs or yelling, I have my girls do extra jobs for bad attitudes, fighting and overall worse than expected behavior. My kids do have a handful of regular chores and they typically trot off to do these with a simple reminder. Also, as I've written earlier this summer, they've been volunteering to extra jobs to earn money for big toys. I don't think I'm teaching them to feel all work is a punishment, but you'd be impressed with how quickly an extra little job or two can correct a problem, especially if it's done in the service of another.
|My kids generally get along wonderfully.|