September 2006 Archives

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Well … Messy kids rooms may be a reality in most families’ homes, but is it really a necessary part of your child’s development?

After reading the article Preteens & Messy Bedrooms and all the comments from parents and their children, I could see that the issue of messy bedrooms is a hot topic for more people than just myself.

Parents want their kid’s rooms clean and kids want their parents to relax.

My gut says they’re both right, there just isn’t a plan in place to make it work for either of them.

From my experience, without a system, the kids get ‘in over their heads’, and the mess becomes an ‘insurmountable task’.

And I have yet to meet a kid that likes to face an ‘insurmountable task’! So they don’t.

Parents nag…. kids hate that.

Kids want to do it their own way…. parents hate that.

Result… messy room!

So what to do?

Talk to your kids. Ask them how they would like to set up their rooms so that both of you are happy.

Do they want to hang their clothes, or put them in drawers or baskets? Do they want things to be hidden out of view or to be displayed so they can see it?

Give your kids tools to make the job easier. If they can’t figure out where to put it, they will put it on the floor!

Kids need tons of storage. Book shelves, dressers, rolling bins with drawers, display shelves, under the bed storage, etc. If it is a tiny room, you need to plan storage for every square inch.

Pick your battles. It is OK to have a few hard fast rules like, "All food and dishes must be removed from room everyday." (Tell them it could cause a rat or insect problem, most children would prefer not to have rodent problems in their room!)

But be more relaxed about making their bed nicely or leaving out a few things. Certainly do not invade their privacy or throw away things without their permission. Everyone deserves some respect, especially kids.

Do a little every day. If you remind your child each night to throw their clothes in the hamper, and put the books back on the shelf, then the room won’t get so terribly out of hand.

Praise them. Every time they tidy their room on their own accord, tell how nice it feels to enter their clean room. Really ‘play it up’ how more relaxed you feel when you enter your own clean room and how good they must feel to be in theirs.

Your child needs to get some direct benefit from cleaning their room other than just doing it because you said so. Otherwise why would they do it?

Think about it, would you feel motivated to clean your house just because your spouse told you to? I think not!

And as far as a messy room being part of your child’s development, well I don’t know.

I think that your child learning the skills of organization, responsibility and the desire for comfortable surroundings is a bigger part of their development than just letting them have a messy room.

But that just my opinion!

Filed under Kids Rooms by  #

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I just don’t get it! In this modern-day-in-age where empowerment, equality and enlightenment are at the forefront in every parents’ mind, why the heck are the toy store aisles filled with shallow, sexist, less than innocent toys for our children!!

I was absolutely amazed!

The other day my two children Willow 10, Fisher 7 and I had some time to kill while waiting for some computer repairs, so we decided to hang out at the Toys R Us next door.

The kids had a few bucks to spend, but we were there more to check things out than to buy, so we went up every aisle to see what there was.

Man… are the gender roles clearly marked out for kids!

Boys are supposed to play sports, like fast cars, be superheros and even warriors.

Girls are supposed to like pink, be a princess, grow up to be a ‘hottie’ and be a bitch about it.

Just look at what’s available for our kids.

Want a kid’s TV? Batman or Hot Wheels for boys. Hot pink Barbie for girls.

Want to build something? Better be a boy, not much available for the girls.

How about a craft? With the exception of Crayola all crafts seem to be geared towards the girls, and most of them tacky.

And the dolls. Doesn’t the name ‘Bratz’ say it all? Where are the wholesome everyday dolls?

When my daughter saw the Bratz campfire set, she said, "Ewe! Too much make-up and who would wear a skirt and high heels camping anyways?"

Don’t even get me started with the Bratz Big Babies. Black leather,  lacy lingerie and heavy makeup on a doll for 3 year olds? Who’s making that stuff? Who’s buying it?

I’m not slamming Toys R Us, the kids both love GameBoy, and Lego and stuffed animals and bikes.

I’m just asking the question, "If we all don’t want self-centered, materialist, smutty daughters, or violent, chauvinistic, fast driving sons, then why is there a market for toys that are?"

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Here is a fantastic story that I came across the other day. It moved me so much that tears ran down my face.

I thought you may be touched by it too, so here it is…

An Hour Of Time

Tim was disappointed that his father didn’t attend the last soccer game of the season, but he wasn’t surprised. Tim was a mature 10-year old and he understood that lots of clients depended on his dad, a lawyer, who had to work most nights and weekends. Still, it made him sad, especially since this year he won the league’s most valuable player award.

One evening Tim got up the nerve to interrupt his father’s work at home to ask him how much lawyers make per hour. His father was annoyed and gruffly answered, "They pay me $300 an hour."

Tim gulped and said, "Wow, that’s a lot. Would you lend me $100?"

"Of course not," his father barked. "Please, let me work."

Later, the father felt guilty and went to Tim’s room where he found him sobbing. "Son," he said, "I’m sorry. If you need some money, of course I’ll lend it to you. But can I ask why?"

Tim said, "Daddy, I know your time is really worth a lot and with the $200 I’ve already saved, I’ll have enough. Can I buy an hour so you can come to the awards banquet on Friday?"

It hit his father like a punch to the heart. He realized his son needed him more than his clients did. He needed to be there for his son more than he needed money or career accolades. He hugged him and said, "I’m so proud of you, nothing could keep me away."

Lots of parents are stretched to their limit trying to balance business demands and family needs. It’s always a matter of priorities. But if we don’t arrange our lives to be there for our children, they will regret it – and after it’s too late, so will we.

This story is derived and adapted from one that was circulated on the Internet without attribution. The original source is unknown.

Michael Josephson
www.charactercounts.org