School holidays are in full swing here in The Territory, and I’m already ready to pull all my hair out, which perhaps does not bode well for the rest of the week.
The reason, for my extreme exhaustion and parenting fatigue, has come from three main things:
- Ava trying to give up her day sleep, but not coping so well without it.
- BJ doing his best to stir everyone up, thinking it’s funny, whilst we just see it as annoying. And
- The apparent lack of listening skills my children possess.
It’s the third point that is the focus of today’s Heart Training/Essentially Family post.
It goes without saying, that my family, like every other family, is not perfect. I’m not perfect, and neither are my children.There is one thing though, that never fails to get us a compliment amongst strangers and friends, and it is the utterance of two little words. “Yes Mum.”
One of our family ‘rules’ (for lack of a better word), is the requirement to answer every directive with the words, ‘Yes Mum,” or “Yes Dad.”
There are a number of reasons for this.
- The first, is that the child is acknowledging that they heard you. Often as busy parents, we give an instruction and when it’s not carried out, we get frustrated, but the sad truth is, the child never heard. Kids are distracted so easily, it’s important to make sure we have their attention.
- Secondly, it’s a verbal agreement. Small children are far more likely to do something if they have agreed to it. The very act of saying “yes Mum,” means that in their mind, they are now required to do what they have been asked. I’ve found that my kids will often balk at saying it for this very reason. They will refuse to agree, because then they know they have to do it. When this happens, I send them to their room and instruct them that they can come out when they are ready to say yes mum, with a happy heart.
- Thirdly, it’s a mark of respect. For my older girls, saying yes mum shows me that they are willing to listen and submit to my authority as their mother. I can also gauge their attitude towards me, by the way it is said. If it’s happy and submissive, it means that we are doing well. If it’s sullen and angry, we are going to need to have a conversation.
So why the happy heart?
Most parents would just be happy to have their child listen.
The heart is the most important thing. (For us) Working on developing that gentle, submissive attitude as small children and tweens, lessens the chance of dealing with outright aggression in the teens.
Submission, is not a bad thing. In our society, it is often equated with corporal punishment, or a dictatorship, but it shouldn’t be. There is a hierarchy in a home, that needs to be in place. The family members should all have different roles depending on their level of maturity and responsibility. Our children are not supposed to be our friends when they are small. We can still have fun with them, and enjoy them, but when our goal is friendship, then we can too easily abdicate our responsibility in raising them to be moral, mature people.
With this in mind, this holidays I have begun reminding my children of the importance of ‘Yes Mum.” Some of them are good at it, other’s aren’t as good, but it’s a work in progress. Not only will this help me to train their hearts to show respect to my role of mother, but it will also solve that listening issue I’ve been having.
I explain it to my kids simply and easily:
“When Mummy asks you to do something, I need you to hear you say ‘yes mum” with a happy heard. That’s so I know that you heard me, and you’re going to show respect to me by doing it.”
Simple, easy and effective.
Just quickly: for my older children, we also have an appeal process. This gives them the opportunity to provide me with any information I might not have.
Me: Taylah, can you please take the rubbish bin out of the bathroom.
Taylah: Yes mum, please may I appeal?
Me: Sure. What’s your new information?
Taylah: Dad asked me to do the dishes.
Me: Ok. Do that then.
This may seem overly formal, but it’s just a tool we use to once again, convey respect, but also give the child the opportunity to say something that needs to be said. However the appeal process is only granted when they have been characterised by consistent use of ‘yes Mum,’ with a happy heart.
Do you get your children to say Yes Mum or Yes Dad?