I’ll be honest up front – there are a myriad of factors that contribute to a family in disarray, including parental disengagement and mood disorders — those are both serious problems that we can’t solve.
However, a brand new study out of England indicates that the second most common cause of parent-child arguments is the “messy bedroom.” Or, in other words, children who don’t do what’s expected of them. But the problem isn’t just an unmotivated child, but a parent who hasn’t laid out clear expectations and consequences with their child/ren.
What’s worse is that this arguing eats up to 50 minutes of time each day for many families! Ack!
My husband and I have been there. We’ve been the ones who have nagged our children about incomplete household chores, and we’ve also been the ones who have thrown our hands up in exasperation after asking our kids to do their still-incomplete chores “for the 100th time already!”
For the truly severe cases of household disfunction, consult a professional. For the picky child … you are on your own.
But when it comes to household work, we learned that we had to be 1) dispassionate and 2) consistent in order to address the presenting problem. The messy room is just a symptom.
Our family business tagline is “Stop the nagging” for a reason – we know it’s a universal problem for moms, dads and kids everywhere. We HATE it when we devolve into “that person” that blows our top at our kids, and we hate it once again when we fail to impose consistent consequences.
Life’s short, I know it. We can’t spend all of our time striving toward a make believe, Martha-Stewart-Nirvana that doesn’t exist. Pick your battles. But set some simple, clear expectations (and only expectations you are willing to follow through on), and live in that space.
The goal in our house is to set some realistic expectations that we are willing to follow-through on, and to raise some slightly (hopefully?) responsible children in the process. God knows that they’re in for a huge shock when the real world hits them in the face if we don’t put some work in up front.