This is a true story and it happened to me! Frustrated because no one in my family was paying any attention to my pleas for help with the household chores, I decided to move into the granny flat in our home. For 2 glorious weeks I cooked for myself, cleaned and picked up only after myself. Absolute and utter bliss. Chaos reigned in the family home and I did not care. After much begging and promising to “change,” I returned to the family home with high expectations. What had they learned? Nothing! What had I gained? Nothing, except for 2 weeks’ worth of chaos to sort through. But they were my family and I loved them and I had to come up with a solution.
Getting heard is tough, really tough. Teenagers have very selective hearing and tweens, whilst enthusiastic to start, quickly lose interest in all reasonable requests when they realize there’s nothing in it for them. I now use different forms of communication to get heard. I send texts, polite texts, loaded with funny emojis to remind them to empty the dishwasher, hang out the washing or tidy their room. It means my voice and patience are not tested and I have a “text trail” to show them when I asked and how many times I reminded them. Weird, but it works! And while you are texting them, remember to throw in a positive affirmation from time to time. Just like dogs, these child creatures respond to positive praise too!
Writing chore lists on Post-it notes is a great way to get heard by your kids without raising your voice. I jot down a list of things I need them to do on Post-it notes. They actually do not whinge as much because there is a sense of satisfaction ticking things off the list. Amazingly, I can get my 2 kids to do twice as much from a list as I can by asking them. I’m not sure why, but it gets stuff done. And if I am feeling very kind, I will pop a Post-it note in their lunch box with a sweet message for the day. Embarrassing? Of course! Loved? You bet!
The appreciated bit is not quite as simple as writing a list or sending a text message. This comes back to self-reflection. How do you want to be appreciated? What does it look like? If it looks like flowers, I would suggest buy them yourself. You can choose the ones you like and you don’t have to wait for the birth of a child to get them. My point is, being shown appreciation for things that just need to be done is important, but is just not done.
I raised this once with my husband and he pointed out that he takes the bins out on garbage day. Big deal I thought! Seriously dude, do you know what I do in this house each and every day? The reality is he does, but like me and his bin chores, it does not cross his mind to show appreciation. So if it is appreciation you are seeking, take care of it yourself. Either spell it out loud and clear what you would like to happen each week, or take the matter into your own hands!