Life “I’ll Wash The Dishes If You Pay Me”

September 10, 20190

Parenting is a HARD job! Anyone who is a parent knows this.  We all experience FAILURES and SUCCESSES and if we are willing to learn from those FAILURES and SUCCESSES we can continue to become better.  

The other night my son and I had a HUGE power struggle. Yep, This is something a parent  would want to avoid. My son who is the sweetest, most empathetic and kind little boy likes to argue.  

Let me try to paint a picture of the situation.

It was Wednesday, after school, a day where there was no soccer practice so we can come home and chill.  The kids had no homework. As I was cooking dinner I told them I needed their help getting a few things done.  My daughter is so compliant and does anything I ask her. My son, often deliberates or tries to talk his way out of it until he realizes I won’t let him, then he does it.  Here is what I asked them to do: make lunches and fold the laundry. THAT IS IT. My daughter started folding the laundry and my son was stalling. He eventually refused so I said, then you can come and wash the dishes.  He said, “If you pay me I’ll wash the dishes?”

EXCUSE ME? WHAT DID YOU SAY?  DID I HEAR YOU RIGHT? DID YOU JUST SAY YOU WOULD WASH THE DISHES IF I PAID YOU?  (I didn’t say any of this outloud, but was quite flabbergasted)!


I started to list everything I do around the house that I DO NOT get paid for and clearly reminded him that one of our family VALUES is helping each other out. (I’m sure what I said didn’t help the situation at all). This struggle elevated him to tears, yelling, me raising my voice and eventually sending him to his room until he was ready to be kind.  

This was the icing on the cake for sure.  My day overall was pretty crappy and this made it worse. I was wondering how we were going to RESOLVE this and how he would understand that we all have jobs to do around the house and have to pitch in.  

Finally dinner came and it was time to sit down.  I explained a little bit to my son the reason why we need to help each other out around the house.  Then we went around the table to share our HIGHS and LOWS for the day. All four of us (Dad walked in the house in the middle of the situation) had the same low which was what happened between me and my son.  

After we were done sharing I realized how effective that strategy was for us to let the situation go and move on. I FELT SO MUCH BETTER once I was able to share my part in the situation and how it was the biggest LOW of the day for me.  It was like everything was released into the air and we could totally move on. I noticed this from my son too. It was AMAZING how we were able to discuss it calmly over dinner and put it behind us with him understanding what is expected of him.

Later that night I reflected on the situation and realized where I went wrong.  Trying to argue and getting into a power struggle with an 8 year old is definitely NOT the best thing to do.  On the other hand, I modeled for him by sharing my SAD feelings regarding what happened and ADMITTING my PART in the situation and where I went wrong. 

We ALL HAVE A PART in any situation in our life. It’s just a matter of whether we acknowledge it or not and how we handle it.

We will NEVER be PERFECT parents nor do I expect that and I LOVE how we can admit our part and our mistakes to our children while learning from them to do better next time. 

Tell me what you took away from this and what you might do differently as a parent when a situation between your child and you becomes elevated.

Living in DAILY JOY!


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