(hopefully) Successful Negotiations
I posted a link about chores today on a support site and my regular FB.
Since Monday there has been some tension in the house. It centers around chores, of all things. Not infidelity, not drugs or gambling issues, or being beaten regularly. Chores. There is a purity to its simplicity but it is actually a complex subject as I am finding.
My issue was that Munchkin was asked by me to do certain things. She flat out refused. Because I had given a choice. Fair enough.
These past few years I have been very passive-agressive in how I approach chores in the household with Skids. I now know that my approach was WRONG. Anytime a skid needed to accomplish a chore, I would nag DH about it. Starting with the Eldest Feral Forger SD20, and now with munchkin sd13. He in turn would lash out at them and then me for "causing him to get angry". Or, worse, apologetically ask them to please do xyz. And then lash out at me. So today I did something different. I texted munchkin that I would need her to accomplish a chore a day, then we can do fun things this Saturday. If she does more than is asked, Ill give cash.
In the past I blamed skids, but really this was a DH problem. I cannot change him I can only educate myself and change myself. I got some great advice today from fellow steppers who have both bios and skids. Across the entire spectrum, here is what was given me:
1. Chores are not a choice. Given a choice, children will "opt out". I saw this played out when my DH a few weeks ago attempted a "pay-by-chore" scheme, so that Munchkin would get some pocket money for snacks or whatever. She has pretty much everything she needs/wants, so most of the time, when she had 5-10$ she would opt out. Because it was a choice.
2. Authority to dole out chores must be given by the bio parent in some/most cases. Speak to the child, more than once if necessary, but the bio parent MUST support this, or it fails. The parent and step parent are a team, a unit, are ONE. When a step asks a skid to accomplish something it is as if the bio parent has asked.
3. Using a reward system is good, but better if the chores are unpaid. They are part of a household, and need to learn that things must be earned. The sense of entitlement doesnt come from a video game, it comes from everything being given, nothing earned.
4. Chores create a sense of responsibility, they are a self-esteem booster, as well as skill building in managing a household. Munchkin SD13 did not know how to clean a bathroom until 2 weeks ago.
5. The bio parent MUST be on board with you.
When I think back at all the things that Feral Forger is and did, I understand that this wasnt just her, but her parents as well. They never really gave her chores, therefore her sense of entitlement grew to large proportions. Her self esteem is low from what DH understands. I dont want to critique him and tell him he failed with #1, heres a second chance to get it right with #2, I am simply wanting peace and harmony. I truly love Munchkin SD13 and want her to have the best life possible, be a strong person with a healthy outlook. I dont want to be a dictator, but yes, I want her to listen to me, not JUST her bios. Because I parent her. I support her, feed her, clothe her, teach her, dry her tears, clean up her puke and soothe her fears.
I am now asking for that authority, that goes with the responsibility I have gladly taken on.