Monday, April 25, 2011

Dictator Girl

First of all, the picture is not of my house, but it's close enough to how my kids keep their bedrooms that I thought I'd post it. Also, the article linked to it is actually moderately fascinating. Now on to my dilemma!

I have a choice before me: Should I beat my kids into submission? Or should I try a more persuasive attitude when trying to get them to clean up their own messes (FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GREEN AND HOLY!!!!!!). Seriously, what's the harm in taking them by the arm and forcing them to pick up every last Easter candy wrapper they dropped and put them in the trash can? On the other hand, I could persuade them that the merits of a clean home far outweigh the small imposition of time it takes to do the actual cleaning.

Well? What would YOU do?

Yeah, as tempting as it is to just MAKE them do the things that I want them to do by virtue of me being bigger and stronger, I'm beginning to realize that this type of leadership is very counterproductive. Not to mention, there's not a lot of love lost. The core problem, come to find out, is that 'leading with love' leaves me (the leader) in a vulnerable position. What if I have company coming and the chores I've doled out aren't completed? Does it make my kids look bad? No. It makes ME look bad. So, the right choice is to go with the heavy-handed rule. Right? It gets the job done and leaves no egg on my face. Only, the problem with this method is that it takes so much MORE work!

I know that the 'leading with love' takes some time and effort from me initially, but in a few years they'll be self-sufficient and I'll be able to give them their chores without wondering if they feel their duties important enough to focus on. (The better option). Ruling my house like a dictator would have me watching my back for the anarchy and chaos that would ensue. Because, eventually they'd rebel.

Wouldn't you?

Somewhere in there is a great writing example. I'm sure you all are smart enough to find it. :)


  1. Oy, the clutter is taking over at our house and I am struggling with the same thing. Maybe we should take an editor's approach. Tell the kids if they want to keep their favorite toys, they need to take care of them and put them in the proper place, otherwise they will be thrown out, never to be seen again. Then we as parents are responsible for the non-essential toys, deciding whether to keep them and tidy them up, or junk them.

  2. Dictator vs Swami is a hard contest. I lean to dictator which is why my children lean toward becoming future attorneys. With all of their negotiating skills, they could run the UN.

  3. We use the system of self rule/mom's rules. The kids have control over what they do, but mom's rule is that they can't play with friends if their rooms are messy. It gets to the point that my kids say, "Can I go play? My room's clean."