Re: Eat Your Veggies
Interesting post. There I things that I think we decide as parents that are non-negoitable and others that are.
For instance, it is not an option for my son to brush his teeth everyday even though he would prefer not too.
We are all vegetarians in my family. Interestingly we have always given my son (he is 7 now), the choice to eat meat or try it if he wants to. He has never asked to and cannot imagine wanting to. We give him the choice because it is a philosophical and ethical choice for my wife and I, not something that we feel should be imposed on someone else, we'd prefer that he internalize our values and make his own decisions in this area.
same with sports. We ask him before each season if he wants to play a sport. I would never force him to play one he did not want to play. (bad memories of my father making me do things like this). However, once he makes the choice to play, he must stick it out for the whole season. I don't let him quit as that is an important value to us...that you don't quit and must have committment.
We home school. (liberals that we are!) We kinda "Unschool", that is he can choose what he wants to concentrate on and learn, he may study one subject intensely for a couple of weeks, then decide to do something else. We don't force him to learn things he doesn't want to, but NOT learning something or doing school work is NOT an option everyday! He must pick something positive and do it. Keep in mind, we do have to steer him in the right direction sometimes. Overall we have found that he instrinsically wants to do the right things becaue he wants to keep up with his friends that go to school.
So he does them because he wants to, not because we make him do them.
Same with brushing teeth...not an option. As lazy as he is, I have given him the choice on occassion to not brush them, but then asked him to imagine what it will be like in a couple of weeks when they get nasty and start to hurt. Spending time educating him on the reprecussions of peridontal disease and having him see the pictures and effects was enough to make him internalize why it is important....NOT because I SAID SO! but because he understands WHY.
I still have to say "did you brush your teeth...DO IT now!" just like any other parent!
To martial arts and aikido. He knows that this will not be an option next year when he must start. Frankly we already do much together each night before bed. However, he also knows why this is important to me, and why I am insisting that he do it. I am sure I will have the same issues that David has, what parent doesn't! We have discussed that after one year if he can verballize to me why he does not like to do it and what he'd rather do instead he can make another choice on how to constructively spend that time. At least he will be making somewhat of an informed choice!
I have found taking the time to educate my child on why it is important and what we gain out of doing these things, even though we don't like to do them helps.
Alas, like David, I compete with video games and playing with friends, and other priorities that kids have over what you want them to do. and YES I have to say "Eat your Veggies"every night.
We still offer him choice though. He can choose to eat his vegetables, or not eat them. However, if he choose to not eat them, then he gets nothing else that is not nutritionally equivilant until he does! (Desert!) Seems to work and eventually with much whining consternation and negoitiation attempts, he will eventually make the choice that seems to lead to the path that he wants with the benefit attached to it.
Raising kids is not easy!!!