I have one child who is trying to battle me for control so today we had a family discussion to make sure that we are all on the same page. Quite simply I am not going to battle for control. I told the kids that I can not force them to do anything. I can not force them to respect me, the house, to do their chores, to follow our house rules, to tell the truth,....I can not force them to do anything. However, it is my job as a parent to give them consequences for their actions. I try for natural consequences when I can. I explained that as long as they live in our house they have to follow our rules.
Why? Why teach this? Why tell them that I can't control them?
Because when they leave my house they will still have rules that they will have to follow. They will still have to respect others. When they are adults they will have a lot of rules to follow. If they chose to be late for work all the time they won't have a job. If they don't pay their bills they won't have electricity or will get evicted. When they don't follow the laws they could end up in jail where they will have even less freedoms. Becoming an adult doesn't mean that you are suddenly free to do whatever you want, it actually means that you have more areas in your life in which you have rules and the consequences for breaking those rules can be quite severe. I will not be there to force them to make the right decision.
So I told them that they are in control of their own actions. They are free to make whatever choices they want to make. However, it is my job to teach them that their choices have consequences. Positive actions will have positive consequences and negative choices will have negative consequences.
I would hope that they would chose to make positive choices. I know that they will make mistakes and they will learn from their mistakes, that is life. But, if you are going around purposely doing things to anger me then you are wasting your time and energy.
Why would I tell them that I can't control their actions? Because I can't and I can feel that one child is seriously testing this. Stupid things. Shoes in the kitchen...there is no reason for shoes in the kitchen. The kitchen is in the center of the house, not near any outside doors or bedrooms. It is not a logical place for anyone to kick off their shoes. There are no chairs in there to sit on and kick off your shoes. I have one child who likes to put her shoes in the kitchen. I told everyone a while back that any shoes in the kitchen will simply go in the trash. Two pairs of shoes have gone in the trash in the last week. Yesterday I noticed this child out playing in her dress shoes, I told her that if she trashed her dress shoes that I would not be replacing them. Her choice. She came in and started searching for shoes to change into, she found an old pair but I know that she is missing two pairs. She won't mention them but I haven't had any shoes in the kitchen for two days now.
Seriously, I don't have time for battling for control. I don't have time for these games. I can't control their actions, I can only control my responses.