Are you tired of arguing about chores?

This is how I want my kids to feel about doing the dishes.
This is how I want my kids to feel about doing the dishes.

Ok, So I had a mini-meltdown last weekend….about chores….AGAIN!  I have this picture in my head of the whole family working together, listening to great music, everyone doing their part to get the job done. In this fantasy I feel supported in accomplishing my goal of a clean house. I like the idea that my children are learning life skills and not taking their clean house for granted. The reality is that my husband is absent, my children are bickering and fighting to do the least amount of work with the least amount of effort. And I, once again, am doing the majority of the work, barking orders and feeling resentful about it.

Because this is a recurring theme for me, I figured it was worth taking time for some self-coaching. I realized my problem is I have competing values. I have a value around having my children help around the house but I also have a value around maintaining a peaceful, happy home. When I can’t have BOTH of these things at the same time, I lose it.

Where do your values compete with one another?  “I want my child to get good grades but I don’t want her to be stressed out”  “I want my children to eat healthy meals but I don’t like to cook.” “I want take time by myself but I want to always be there for my children.”

It’s become clear to me that when I want my children to do chores, it’s not a good time to also be trying to have a peaceful, happy home. No teenager likes to do chores! They want someone to blame and complain to. I will probably never get the happy, “whistle while you work” family bonding time I’m looking for. So to maintain my sanity, I need to intentionally pick another value to focus on. The one that got me through Saturday was, “There is something for me to learn here.” I love learning so this thought helps me stay sane WHILE making my kids do work they didn’t want to do. I needed to give my kids permission to be grumpy in order to meet my value of making my kids do chores. 

If you find yourself stuck or repeatedly banging your head against the wall, maybe it’s time to take stock of all the things you value. Perhaps you’ve agreed to spend Thanksgiving with family members you really aren’t excited about seeing. Think about something you DO value and focus on that. Maybe you like having time to play board games with your kids or see more rain and snow.  If you repeatedly find yourself in a homework battle, think about other things you value besides good grades. Maybe you value supporting your child’s interests outside of school, cooking a nice dinner or listening to great music.

Find an area of your life that could use some upgrading and see if focusing on a different value will help you enjoy the process more.

I have a few spots left in my Leading Your Teen teleclass starting Monday, Nov. 7th. Sign up at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/classes/leading-your-teen