Not well. I think it would have gone better had we only one child, but because we have two, there was a lot of accusations and defending of oneself. Now, mind you, we prefaced the meeting ("we" meaning me and my wife, Mary) by telling our girls (12 and 16) that we were going to report what we noticed, saw, and found, that these are not attacks or accusations.
We had taken notes and photos and started with the positive things we'd noticed. Then we discussed what was not done, the things that we would have nagged them about or done ourselves after we got tired of the constant reminders. That's when the defense sprang to life: The only reason that wasn't done was because I had to do my homework and then I forgot. Or, the attacks: That wasn't my job. I would have put the dishes in the washer, but she never put the clean ones away.
To be honest, it made me very sad. I was hoping that it would enlighten the girls as to all that we generally nage them about and do for them. But, instead, they felt attacked.
Next we made lists of things they could do and were willing to do, things they could do, but weren't consistently willing to do, things they couldn't do yet, and we created a fourth list not in the book of things they've not been asked to do yet.
We told the girls that we want them to start owning more responsibilities in the house for three reasons:
1. So they will be ready to handle the adult world when they are 18 and not come running back home three years later.
2. So they don't have to hear us nag, reminder and lecture them. and,
3. So they can have more of our time. We told them with all of the reminders, nagging and us picking up after them, it all adds up, and we deserve down time as well (reading, TV, exercise, time to talk as a couple). If we get our down time and they start taking some of the responsibilities off of our shoulders, when they ask for our time, we'd be more willing to give it: to reread a homework essay, to watch a movie together, to take them to the store, to pick up friends for a sleepover.
Finally, after that motivating talk as to why they should do more at home, we asked them to choose some things from the lists we had created to work on. And, (here's what killed me) neither girl wanted to attack anything new, nothing from the can but aren't willing to do list, nothing from the can't do list, and nothing from the haven't been asked list. They took the easy way out. They said this week they'll try to do what they normally do with less reminders...Cop out!
So, we'll see where this goes. We revisit next Sunday. If they are choosing not to do more, looks like Mary and I will continue to do it, and they'll find more negative responses to their requests...not as punishments, but as a result of lack of time.
image courtesy of ©MorgueFile.com/phaewilk