{character building lessons}

Some call it bribery.  I call it negotiating.

Let’s face it, as mom’s we occasionally find ourselves cutting deals with our kiddos in order to get things done.

“Do your homework and then you can go play outside.”

“Eat all of your dinner and then you can have a brownie.”

Now you can look at this a couple of different ways.  We are teaching our kids that work comes before play.  We are trying to make sure healthy food gets into their stomachs before sweets.  We are using the “B doesn’t happen until A happens” technique.

And it works!

This is Bubby.  His favorite pastime (currently) is playing with Play-Doh.  That boy will do just about anything if his reward is a couple of hours with his Play-Doh.  And I mean anything.playdoh time

This afternoon, Bubby asked for permission to play with Play-Doh in the kitchen.  Knowing that I would be in there for a couple of hours myself prepping dinner and cleaning I figured it would be a good opportunity for him.  However, I knew that his room was a complete mess.  I blithely told him, “Sure, you can play with Play-Doh….but you have to clean your room first.”

I expected one of two outcomes.

  1.  He would be upset and would whine that “it’s too hard” or “I can’t do it by myself”.
  2. He would actually attempt to clean his room….but I would ultimately have to go in later and re-clean it.

Can I just tell you that NEITHER of these two things happened??  He simply said “Ok” and took off toward his room.  After about 10 minutes had passed, he came running back into the kitchen jubilantly declaring, “I did it Mommy!”

Personally I thought we were going to have the #2 option I mentioned before so I went off to check his work.  I was shocked.

Every…single…toy…had been picked up from the floor.  And even more amazing, most of them made it into the correct location.  I just stood there speechless for a minute unable to believe that he did all of this without the help of myself or Husby.  But he did.

And he was so proud.  The huge grin on his face was priceless.

Not only did he follow instructions to a tee (making Mommy very happy)….but he accomplished something really big in his eyes too.  And he was so proud of himself.

I think as parents we have to remember that these littles are only entrusted to us for a short amount of time.  It would have been so easy to point out the 3-4 things he missed on the floor and in the process crush his spirit.  But instead I praised him profusely and he had a character building experience.   To be honest, I think we both had one of those.  😉

Mommies, please encourage and praise your babies accomplishments every day.  They are desperate for our approval.

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