Childhood Rights and Responsibilities
I’ve been trying to teach my boys responsibilities for the last few years. I have assigned them chores and tried to get them to do their morning and evening routines independently and they’ve had increasing workloads of school work. But I’ve failed. While G has done ok with all of this (so far-he always has the lighter load) TJ has struggled. “Why do I have to do so much?” And “why doesn’t G have to?” Are questions he constantly asks. My reply of because you are older hasn’t been very motivating,
I was talking to my parents and they pointed out (again) that while he has more responsibilities, he doesn’t get any extra rights. They go to bed at the same time, eat the same foods, play the same games, and watch the same movies. So why would he want to take on these extra responsibilities? G doesn’t have to work as hard and he still gets to do everything that TJ does.
So here’s what I’ve done. I talked to TJ about what he thinks he’s earned by having more responsibilities and we made a list.
We talked about how he gets computer time (typing lessons and learning to code) and more LEGO time. He needs to get his school work done early enough to have time before going to Grandma and Papa’s house. He doesn’t get computer time or LEGO time there, those happen at home. So he decided that if he could get his work done by 9 he could have an hour before leaving home to do those things.
Then I talked to him about the other things he wants and we came to an agreement on them.
He can have a later bedtime , IF: he says prayers with his brother and then spends that extra half hour quietly (reading or playing legos). He later brought up that he also wants to watch more “big kid” movies and I agreed he could watch some of the super hero movies that are too scary for G BUT they would be in half hour increments during his half hour of being up later than G.
He also wanted a 5 minute break after every 10 minutes of school work. 😳 that would add so much time to his school day. I reminded him that I had already said he could take a break ANYTIME he needed one. BUT it was a jumping jack/push-ups/running break, not legos, toys or whatever break. He decided that 5 jumping jack or 5 laps around the room would be a good break.
Here’s how it went tonight (after our talk): the boys did their nighttime routine (alone for a change) and we said prayers and did bible history/bible reading.
Then it was time for G to go to bed and TJ to go downstairs for quiet time.
G was VERY unhappy (despite what this picture shows-I could get one of his pouting/crying) he really wanted to stay up with TJ.
TJ very wisely walked quietly from the room and headed downstairs where he built his legos and got to play with them for awhile.
I really hope and pray that this is going to help him act more grown up. I know he has had to be more mature (about somethings-thank you T1D 🙄) than most other kids his age but he’s very immature in other ways. Maybe a few more privileges will help him want to behave like a big kid instead of like his little brother.
I’m still looking for more ideas of privileges kids can get as they grow older to help him feel that more responsibility is a good thing. Having a later bedtime is not my favorite way to reward him, (especially when he complains of being tired all the time). How do you show your big kids that they are more responsible than their younger siblings and that it’s a good thing?