We have woodchucks in the living room?  How did that happen? Somehow it is tied in with doing chores. I just hadn’t figured out how yet.

This interchange involved woodchucks, the vacuum, mud and Grandpa.

Lily: Mom, you better get the vacuum out.

Me:Why?

Lily: Because you don’t want the cat to eat this.

Me: (Not too sure I want to know what she is talking about.) Okay. Can you tell me why?

Lily: Because she shouldn’t be eating these woodchucks.

Me: Woodchucks?

Lily: Yeah. They are all over the yard and they got in my shoes.

Me: I think you might mean wood chips?

Lily: No, woodchucks.

Me: Okay, I’ll get that vacuum out but you can use it on those pesky woodchucks.

Lily:  Oh, no. I’m not doing that!

 

My daughter is old enough to use the vacuum. In fact, she does a great job with it as she does her chores on the weekend. But she doesn’t handle change well.

 

Picking up dust and dirt are normal, but vacuuming up “woodchucks” or mud or leaves is a task she isn’t up to.

Because of her unique personality, some things can turn into real battles of the will if I let them. She has said, “I will vacuum the living room, but I am not going to vacuum up the mud Grandpa dragged in. He should do that.”

“Grandpa has his own chores, he didn’t mean to drag in the mud, and you are going to run the vacuum over it and make it disappear like magic,” I say cheerfully. I am hoping the happy voice somehow penetrates through the brewing temper and calms her down.

 

Finding the behavior behind the refusal to do chores makes everyone’s life easier.

 

Truthfully, I know her aggravation isn’t about the mud, nor is it about the vacuuming chore. It started much earlier in the day, perhaps when she couldn’t have hot chocolate for breakfast.

Or when she was told that she couldn’t go out without her shoes and socks because it looked sunny outside, but it was a bit chilly.

Or when the DVD player wouldn’t work.

It always helps if I look behind the behavior for the reason for the behavior and address that first.  Once that issue is diffused, other smaller rebellions are also solved because she is no longer angry. Sometimes she doesn’t even know why she is irritated. That is when, on occasion, I can walk her through the day to see when she started getting agitated with little things.

 

Assigning chores typically gives a child an imaginary pass to start an argument.

 

Chores and kids. Is there anything your child doesn’t want to do when it comes to chores?  Maybe breaking the chore down into parts and seeing which parts the child doesn’t like can lead to a discussion about getting the rest done cheerfully and tolerating the one part that is the worst.

Would you like more simple tips for calming the occasional flare-ups of chaos in your home?

Reconnecting with Your Kids is offering a FREE Strategy Session for 45 minutes to talk about techniques to bring peace back into your home. Click Here to sign up to find out if we can work together for 8 weeks and change the atmosphere in your home.  You may choose from three sessions which are FREE, depending on which appeals to you. Then follow the prompts to schedule your appointment.

For an additional discussion on strong-willed children, catch our blog HERE.