Lately, I’ve been sharing a Love and Logic phrase with my friends that I have found to be very useful.
The phrase is “as soon as…”
I had grown a bit weary of telling my kids “no” so often. I found myself saying no (often out of frustration) because they had not taken care of many of their responsibilities. It often went something like this:
“Dad, can I _____?”
“No! Your room is a mess. And I told you to clean it yesterday!”
Instead, it became: “Sure. As soon as your room is clean.”
The difference was quite amazing. Fewer fights and power struggles with my teens. More things I wanted done actually being completed! And life got easier.
Do I always use this? No. But it is very useful when I am trying to enforce that my kids will get the things they want WHEN their responsibilities have been handled.
There is something powerful about identifying what we can control. There is also something powerful about kids learning realistic cause-and-effect.
And is it realistic that once our responsibilities are taken care of (not before), we get to do the things we want? When our work is done, we get paid or we get to have fun? That seems pretty logical to me.
I encourage you to experiment with this principle and find ways to make it work for you. And have fun – that’s half the battle! Good luck!