My Daughter Does Not Want to Clean Her Room
My_Daughter Does_Not Want_to_Clean Her_Room
a handbook for parents and kids
Copyright 2009 by Roland Trujillo
This book is dedicated to Dr. Phillip Breggin, who has worked tirelessly to warn people about the side effects and dangers of psychoactive drugs. He also has worked hard for the humane treatment of psychiatric patients. He has a lot of love and dared to speak out when he was a voice crying in the wilderness
Mandatory disclaimer. I am not a doctor. I am a Christian life coach. The information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Doing anything suggested or recommended in this book must be done at your own risk. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. The information contained is not intended for medical advice. You should always discuss any medical treatment with your Health Care Provider.
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Answer: Don't even try. Children are not trained seals or wind up toys. Children are little people with souls. Remind her to clean her room. Keep reminding her if needed. Even if you have to remind her a thousand times, it is better than pressuring or bribing.
By reminding her, you are giving her the
space to eventually one day see the wisdom of cleaning her room. When she sees
it for herself and then moves from that insight, she will be independent and
It would be easy for you to threaten her, yell at her or punish her into cleaning her room. But then she would be forced to conform to your impatience and pressure or rebel against it. You would thus have created a conformist who gives in to pressure or a person who rebels against it.
If you bribe her to perform, then again, you would most likely be making her into a person who needs to be rewarded to function. You would effectively be robbing her of self motivation.
We all like to be free to see things for
ourselves and do what is right without being manipulated or pressured.
Keep reminding her (without emotion or impatience), even if it takes a thousand reminders until the day comes that she begins to do it on her own. When that day arrives, she will be doing out of seeing what is wise and moving from self motivation. She will be free to do what is wise without bribe or punishment. She will be grateful for your patience.
With little children, a chore, like room cleaning, can be made into a game. When my son was about 10, we had a game where suddenly one of us would announce a surprise "official room inspection." There was a 10 cent fine for any "infraction." Usually he announced first, inspected my room and found several infractions.
Then I would wait until I secretly knew he had cleaned his room. I would then announce the inspection and make a big deal about how I was going to find lots of things (though I secretly knew I wouldn’t). When I got to his room, the inspection found nothing! It was great fun, and it made it into a light hearted thing.
Maybe you could just do it together (even if you end up doing most of the work). Always remember that for little kids, work equals play.
I notice that when I clean my room, it isn’t long before I discover that my son is cleaning his room too. I pretend I not to notice and I just go about my business without making any comment (though I am secretly delighted).
When kids get older, they suddenly begin to
take an interest in cleaning the car (when they will soon be driving), cooking,
having a neat desk, and so on.
Be patient, set a good example. Don't make it too important. It will all work out in the end.
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Actually, little children already
know deep down that He exists. They know it wordlessly. The little child is
compatible with good. Children love the good and see it everywhere, even in
their doll and stuffed animals.
Just because a child does naughty things (which they all do) does not mean that the child does not know about good.
But what the child does need is for what they know deep down to be validated on the outside. For example, the little child can see injustice. If one child is being treated better than another, or one is given more than the other, the child sees the injustice. The child needs the parent to validate what he sees, not contradict, dismiss or deny it. Otherwise the child may suffer from self doubt.
It is therefore good when the
adults around the child validate on the outside what the child knows inside.
This is especially important for fathers. The father stands in for God in the
eyes of the children. That is why father needs to stand unmistakably for what
Here is where many fathers make a big mistake. First of all, if father is violent, he is wrong. If he is a wimp, he is not respectable. If he drinks excessively, smokes marijuana, or makes work/sports/money or anything else more important than what is right, then he is not credible.
Dad must never fail. I know this is a hard teaching, but it is true.
He can't tell the child not to smoke if he is puffing on a marijuana himself. He must make principle more important than popularity. He must love God even more than his wife.
This does not mean that he does not love his wife. It means that he has honor and loyalty above all to his Creator. A woman can respect and even come to love such a man.
At this point I must say that there are Bible thumpers who force religion on others. If you look carefully, you will see that anyone who forces a religion on others is not a true representative of that religion.
True religion is a thing of the heart. It is about the relationship between a soul and its maker. When a man has a bond with his Creator, he becomes a living example of faith in action. It is often unnecessary for him to say things outright. His quiet presence, his dignity, his longsuffering, his aloneness, and his courage touch the hearts of others. He validates on the outside what the child knows deep down.
Someday, when the child is an adult, that child will then be free to choose God or the world. By having loved the good in his or her father, it is but a small step to transfer the love for the good in the earthly father to the Good Father Within.
I know this is very painful to dads who erred when they were young, left the family or who were divorced. Getting older and wiser, many a man sobers up, throws away his drugs or booze, and becomes the man that his wife and children needed. Now he is alienated from them by distance. Chances are the wife has remarried.
She may even hate him. The kids are having problems. And his heart is broken. Now he is ready to be the father he should be, but distance and circumstance prevents him.
Such a man must suffer with dignity. He must bear his pain with longsuffering. He must forgive his wife who he undoubtedly resented. He must take responsibility for what went wrong upon his shoulders instead of blaming his wife. He must live a perfect life.
If not married, he would best remain unmarried and chaste.
Know this: the change (if it is real and not just another ego ploy) in this father's soul will be sensed by his children. He will be there in the spirit, even if miles intervene physically.
Things may look hopeless for awhile, but don’t despair. With God all things are possible.
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I'm glad you asked. Some of my happiest reading memories are about the animals at the Smiling Pool and the Laughing Brook. Many of us have heard of Peter Cottontail, but have you read the adventures of Little Joe Otter, Danny Meadow Mouse, Unc' Billy Possum, Granny Fox, Bowser the Hound, or Paddy the Beaver? If not, you are in for a real treat.
For decades children (and adults) have been delighted by the stories and adventures of the animal characters created by Thornton W. Burgess. These stories are happy and sweet, and you can learn about animals too.
What other children's books do you recommend?
For starters, The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. My son began reading them when he was five or six years old. He was still reading them when he was ten.
The Boxcar Children is a series of books about children who have many adventures solving mysteries. The nice thing is that she wrote several, so there are many wonderful weeks of reading ahead for the child who loves these adventure stories.
When they get older, many kids like the
Hardy Boys or the Nancy Drew Mysteries. When they are younger, the Boxcar
Children is great fun and good reading.
You can find them in any public library.
Question: My child does not like her teacher. She says the teacher is mean? How can I change my child's attitude?
Answer: Did you ever consider believing your child and finding out what is going on? Children are intuitive and often honest. They sometimes sense danger or some subtle wrong that we parents fail to see. Moreover, some teachers have one face for you and an entirely different one when you aren't there.
The bottom line is this: school wasn't that great when I was a kid, and it is far worse now. Why abandon your child to strangers when you could home school? Home schooling is best, but if you can't for some reason, consider a different school. If money is an issue, many private schools have reduced rates or scholarships for people with limited funds.
How do we know there is a God Who cares about us?
We know because when we err, we sometimes feel an inner sense of sadness, regret or remorse. Maybe it's been a long time since you felt bad about something you did. You've developed a hard shell and perhaps a phony, false way of staying on the surface. You can bustle about busily saying things you don't mean, meddling in other's business, and making prideful prognostications. Perhaps you have been hurt, and now you refuse to admit you are wrong.
But long ago, when you were a little child you were closer to God then you are now. When you did something wrong, you felt bad inside. That was your conscience--your closest link to God.
We know God exists because sometimes when we do something wrong, we secretly feel bad about it. Look carefully, and you will see that when you feel bad it is for having acted without love and understanding. To the receptive soul, God wordlessly and gently makes it aware that it has strayed from a sweet and simple way.
Maybe you became angry and were cruel when you could have overlooked. You went along with wrong for peace or approval when you could have stood for what is right. Maybe you were impatient when you could have been kind.
Your conscience won't bother you for missing the putt, not getting the promotion, spilling paint on your shoes, or losing your car keys. Your conscience doesn't seem to care if you don't get the best deal on airline tickets or buy the most fuel efficient car.
But your conscience does seem to care if you resent your mom, hate your dad, are
impatient with your child, or ignore your brother because he is not cool. Your
conscience does care about human beings and human relationships.
A real human is kind, courageous, patient, and does not tease others or tempt them to be ambitious. Conscience is persistent but gentle. It gently reminds you of your need for patience and of your need to be forgiving. Conscience is humanizing. We know of God, in Whose image and likeness we were created, when we see understanding and patience in another. And we sense His immediate nearness when we know deep down in our heart that we have strayed from honoring and living what is right. And when you quietly admit your wrong and are sorry, you are reconciled to conscience (and God). Then joy returns.
There are very delicate and subtle issues involved when it comes to dealing with others. The secrets of how to deal with others with wisdom and grace are made known to those who love truth and who seek the truth with all their heart. These pure in heart make knowing what is right more important than their own ego. But even these are still sometimes selfish and resentful, having fallen to the tease of the world.
But at a certain point, God begins to draw the potential children of God to Himself. And it begins with their conscience getting stronger and showing them their hatreds and phoniness. Saddened by what they see about themselves, but also realizing they are helpless to make themselves better, they cry out to their Creator. And He answers His child.
Those who do not love the truth hate being made aware of their wrong. But those blessed ones who love truth are glad to see their errors and be sorry.
It's all about relationships. The relationship between the soul and its Maker. And our relationship with others. God shares His subtle truth with receptive souls. And if you don't think that the laws governing the relationship between people are important and subtle, then see what the result is without God's delicate intuitive guidance. The soul that yields to conscience becomes more and more sensitive about what conscience (intuition) is wordlessly telling it.
But the prideful ones think they know and continue blundering through life.
My name is Sean. My mom is bossy and orders me around. When she orders me to do something, she says it in such a mean way that it makes me angry and tempts me to want to do the opposite of what she says. I feel like a slave, which also makes me angry. I don’t want to disobey my mom, but even though I don’t want to—that’s what I feel. Do you have any advice for me?
Parents: Before you read my response, let me provide a little background. It might help you remember what it felt like to be a kid and have someone giving you a really hard time. Remembering how you felt might awaken understanding.
Kids naturally want to obey their parents. Where many parents get themselves into trouble is by being too bossy, by being unnecessarily harsh, or by using pressure. This makes it hard for the child to comply without resenting you or even rebelling.
Permit me to give one or two examples. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen moms grab a child, hold and squeeze both of the child’s arms, get about 4 inches from the child’s face, look the child intensely in the eyes, and begin in a pressuring or intimidating way. It makes me wince.
People need space. Even little kids. One very wise mom used to talk to the pictures hanging on the wall. There she stood, washing dishes and talking to the pictures. But while she was talking to the pictures, the child heard what she was saying. That way, the child gets the message and has space too.
To put it succinctly: a pressuring parent actually tempts the child to resent. This is sad, because no child wants to resent his or her parent. A pressuring parent produces two kinds of response. One child conforms, but becomes weak and an approval seeker. His character is destroyed by doing what the authority says for approval and perks.
The other child becomes a rebel. He cannot help but rebel against any authority that reminds him of his nagging or pressuring parent. This child becomes the drop out, the drug addict, the one in prison. He is full of hate and anger, and his rebellion hurts himself.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our parents had great wisdom, grace, kindness, understanding, and nobility?
Full of grace, loving principle, and using reason, kindness, and common sense—their every request would be perfectly acceptable to our conscience. It would make such good sense, and their manner of requesting it would be so full of nobility, that there would be nothing to rebel against. When we would conform to their request, it would actually be the same as conforming to our intuition and conscience.
It would also be nice if Dad were the noble knight, the Moses, the George Washington of the family. So good and so respected would he be, that mom would gladly follow such a noble man. Father would serve good, and when we followed father, it would be the same as serving good.
Unfortunately, in many homes dad is a bit or weak or he is angry and clams up. Mom resents him or holds him in contempt. Often, dad is not even there—having long flown the coup, leaving mom to deal with the kids without her husband.
Some dads are there at home, but they are weak. Some dads are like big kids themselves. This tempts mom to be contemptuous. She has to take charge, since dad has abdicated. So she rules the home with her kind of authority, which sometimes is manipulative or bossy.
Plus, she resents her weak husband. She resents him for not being there for her. And she resents him for saddling her with the responsibility of disciplining the kids. Angry and frustrated, she sometimes takes it out on the kids.
So parents: please do me a big favor and watch your tone of voice. Be kind. If necessary be firm, but kind. If you resent your wife or your husband (or something that made you angry at work), then first let go of that resentment before you talk to your child. Otherwise, there is a tendency to take it out on them (because they are small).
Be patient and have understanding. How? By dropping resentment and letting go of anger. When resentment is gone (and other facets of resentment, such as bitterness, unhappiness, and negative and morbid thoughts), then anger goes away too. And when resentment and anger are gone, what is left is: good natured kindness, compassion, love, common sense, and understanding.
Now here’s my response to the listener’s question
Sean, here is the secret to complying with your mom (or any authority) who tempts you to rebel.
One, don’t resent your mom.
Two, check with your intuition. Let a heartbeat go by. If what you have been asked to do does not conflict with intuition (what you know in your heart is right), and if it is right or wise to do it—then go ahead.
But here is the key point: you are complying with your conscience. Your conscience (what you wordlessly know in your heart is right) did not stop you. Your conscience wordlessly said that it is wise to cooperate. So you are actually obeying your conscience! You are cooperating with the authority because your conscience says it is right to do so.
Do you see the subtlety? It is hard to comply and hard not to resent someone who is bossy, mean, pressuring, or phony. The secret of obeying your conscience is a good protection when you encounter anyone who tempts you to resent; be it a cruel big brother, a bossy big sister, a sneaky babysitter, or a mean spirited teacher. Their attitude tempts us to resent them, and to comply resentfully or to rebel resentfully.
Here is the secret to being your own person and maintaining your freedom. If a proper authority, such as mom, dad, teacher, or boss asks you to do something—don’t resent them. Let a heartbeat go by. Check with your intuition. If your intuition wordlessly says it is okay, then go ahead and cooperate. Not because you are being bossed around, but because your intuition says it is okay. In other words if nothing restrains you, and the request sits right with you, then follow your intuition by cooperating with the request.
By not resenting your mom, you are doing what God said (He said to honor, in other words, not resent our parents). And by checking with your conscience (which is from God), you are complying and obeying conscience--not the other person.
God gives us intuition (conscience). When you obey conscience by not resenting your mom, and by good naturedly cooperating with her request, you are doing what God wants. He wants us to honor and not resent our parent, and to do what they say (as long as it is proper, of course).
Now the other person may think that you are obeying them. Let them think what they will. You secretly know that you are following conscience.
Here’s another example. You are doing some yard work with your dad, and dad is giving orders. He gets angry at you for not raking the leaves like he said, and he angrily tells you to redo the job. His tone of voice and manner is so mean that it tempts you to balk. Don’t resent him. Check with your intuition. It is wise to follow his directions (and unwise to rebel). So just do the wise thing, the right thing, and cooperate.
Do you see the subtle difference? Tempted to resent by his tone of voice, you are then left with only two options: resentfully obey with anger; or resentfully rebel and do something dumb. Neither is a good choice.
Instead do what you see is wise. That way you can ignore his tone of voice and cooperate because you see that it is wise to do so.
Of course, if an authority (such as a boss) asks you to do something that is wrong (you check with your conscience and it restrains you), then just don’t do it. If you are working somewhere and you are asked to do something that is illegal or wrong, then just don’t do it. Find another job.
If someone at work asks in a syrupy sweet voice (really a couched demand) that you do something for them; and it’s not your job and you have other stuff to do, then just politely decline. Go about your business and don’t feel guilty about it.
If people try to pressure you (such as a teacher pressuring you to do better), then check with your intuition. If it wordlessly says that it is wise to go along (in other words it’s foolish to get yourself in trouble at school), then just do the best you can. If you can’t live up to their standards, so be it. Go through the motions if necessary. Just do what you can. And don’t resent the person.
The secret is to obey conscience and not resent others.
If your mom asks you to take the garbage out (or whatever) but says it in a bossy or mean way, then first of all: don’t resent her. Second: check with your conscience. Most likely there won’t be any impediment, and your conscience will probably gently and wordlessly say that it is proper and good to help your mom out.
Since you see that it is wise and right to cooperate, then good naturedly take the garbage out. You will have done the right thing, and you will have maintained your selfhood. Most importantly, you will not have resented your mom.
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We are all guilty of trying to make things happen. Think about most of the really wonderful things that have happened in your life and you will notice that they occurred spontaneously or by serendipity. Think of the close calls you had, and how someone appeared out of nowhere to help, as if by coincidence--but it's not coincidence.
Now think of the times you planned and schemed. It didn't work out. If it did work out, it was in spite of your meddling.
Sometimes things even fix themselves. But if you struggle angrily with the thing you are trying to open or fix, it often breaks even worse.
Now apply the same logic to your relationship with your beloved family. Do you think that your meddling, nagging and conniving are going to make your husband better? Do you think that pushing your kids into activities is going to have a happy result?
How sweet it is if one day, your child simply starts to brush her own teeth without your threatening or bribing. Pressure, punish or bribe a child, and all you create is a conformist or a rebel. Patience, on the other hand, reminds the child (a thousand times, if necessary) until the child sees for herself, the wisdom of brushing her teeth.
Just as a child learns to speak and in a short time can say anything, so a child will naturally gravitate toward reading (when they see mommy and daddy reading).
After a few minutes a day for a couple of weeks, they know the alphabet and within a few days they are reading.
But when the vile school system intervenes, this natural, simple process is somehow destroyed. It might take years for the child to learn to read, or perhaps never.
There is no substitute for common sense and wisdom mixed generously with patient love. The parent with love will know the measure of giving and withholding, and will sense intuitively when to delicately introduce something.