“Here is the line which divides the effective from the noneffective people, the great from the small, the good from the
well-intentioned and respectable; it is in proportion as a man has
self-controlling, self-compelling power that he is able to do, even
of his own pleasure; that he can depend upon himself, and be
sure of his own action in emergencies” (Vol. 1, p. 323).- Charlotte Mason
In my last post, I made reference to what the Guire family calls freeze framing. This occurs when mom asks a child to do a chore. While Mom is present- child works. Mom absent – child NO work. When Mom re-enters the room the child suddenly appears busy. This is normal behavior when a child is first expected to do a chore independently. This bent shows a weak will. In order to overcome this habit and replace it with a better, a child must be trained, not punished.
Sometimes natural consequences train well. The impending arrival of a friend can motivate a child into finishing whatever chore assigned. Children who lack cause and effect thinking (hurt children) think they can control the outward environment and will not be affected by natural consequences. I have had many children do a chore after company arrived. It is imperative that strong fixed habits are coached in these children.
Today Ania had an afternoon babysitting job. It was Rafal’s job to vacuum the kitchen today and I reminded him once after lunch that he needed to vacuum the crumb-dust-bunnies before the little ones came. He assured me he would. Guess when he vacuumed? After the little guys came because mom was upstairs working on a mountain of laundry.
This is not a Rafal bash post. The information given is to make a point to help others who find themselves ripping their hair out in frustration or giving up on training. Do not be embarrassed if a child does a chore after company comes in the door. Don’t make a big deal out of it either. Just pull the child aside quietly and say, “you are welcome to go play when you finish _____.” If he falls down on the floor and has a fit, join your company and gawk with them. (Ask my kids about this, they have some funny stories).
Little Davy-guy threw up as soon as he got here. Guess who willingly helped me clean the rug? Rafal. Who cleaned out the vacuum? Rafal. Ran to get an old towel when Davy-guy upchucked his water later? Rafal. Guess who helped Davy-guy find some fun toys to play with in his room? Rafal. So proud of that boy.
I know if I would have let him off the hook every time he didn’t harness his will, he wouldn’t develop the habits he needs. He “can be sure of his actions in emergencies” with the proper coaching.