Monday, March 29, 2010

Green Beans

I made a mistake and served green beans with dinner. My daughter gagging with every bite and my son not only boycotting the green beans, but refusing to eat anything that shares a plate with them. Sitting sideways with his head buried into the chair back crying, "I'm not eating that." My children were acting as if I were trying to poison them. It was hilarious. So I do what any desperate parent would do, and break out my most motivating bribes.

"I'll give you each a dollar if you eat them." I said.

"Okay!" My daughters face lit up. Eating them but still gagging.

"What happens if I don't?" My son inquires.

"No dollar."

"Okay, no dollar." He responds.

"If you don't eat them, then you will have to give me a dollar." I said, clearly changing the bribe.

"I think... I can find a dollar." He said after giving it 5 seconds of consideration.

I am trying not to laugh. My tactics are backfiring. So far my son is willing not only to pass up earning a dollar, but pay one to get out of eating his green beans, while my daughter is bragging how she ate them and she is now one dollar richer. So I had to think, what is more important than earning money to this kid. Ah ha, ice cream.

"Everyone who eats their green beans gets an ice cream sandwich after dinner."

"What if I don't?" He questions.

"Then no ice cream."

He sits in his chair sobbing. He pulls his self together and shakes his head okay. I'm thinking, yes it worked, I win! Then he pushes his plate away from him.

My husband says, "You want me to feed you like a baby?" As he scoops up some green beans with the fork then attempts to force feed our child. My son locks his lips tight and noodles down the chair.

"Fine! If you're not going to eat them then go to bed!" It's the last threat I have.

So he climbs off his chair and walks himself to his room, puts his PJ's on and gets into bed at 6:23pm. I followed him and he is ready to be tucked in for the night. I thought, now this is a kid who hates green beans!

I didn't give up and eventually I got one green bean in him and he was allowed to stay up until it was actually time to go to bed. Dinner wasn't supposed to be punishment, I just wanted to get some vegetables in the stomachs of my children.

This is not a mistake I will make again! Now when I want to get my children to eat their green beans I puree them and add them to the meat loaf.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rewarding Mediocrity

What has happened to expectations? It seems nothing is expected of children anymore. The trend is to reward them for everything they do. Succeed or fail, win or lose, everyone gets a reward. It is present in schools; where graduations are held for grade completions that start as early as preschool. It is present in homes; parents bribing their children to do their chores or brush their teeth. It is present in sports; where everyone who participates gets a trophy. Then we wonder how we have raised a bunch of adolescents who when asked to take out the trash say, "What is in it for me?"

There are things in life that are just expected! Children should be expected to pass a grade. No graduation, passing and moving forward with their classmates is the reward. Children should be expected to do their chores, it is called responsibility. They should brush their teeth without complaint, the reward is that they don't have rotten teeth. In sports, the teams that don't win should not get a trophy, they did not win anything! The reward is to participate on a team and enjoy it.

I don't know who should be more insulted, the parents or the children?

Do people believe that parents are so narcissistic that the only way they can be proud of their children is if children are honored and rewarded, even when there isn't any real accomplishment. When was the bar on greatness lowered to mediocre? Children are not given enough credit. When did people start believing that children are so weak that they can't overcome defeat?

Parents have been sucked into the "everybody wins" mentality for far too long. Not me! It's time I stop complaining under my breath on how ridiculous these rewards really are, and start instilling in my children to hand these type of acknowledgements back. Because at the end of the day it doesn't mean anything if it wasn't earned.