What if you could have a better tween in 30 days?
Everyone else promises special formulas that will work miracles in 30 days, from losing weight to finding love.
Many fork over their wallets to pay the special price of $19.99 or higher (shipping and handling not included) and within 30 days, no results.
But the formula I am “selling” doesn’t require money only time…and patience.
Let me explain.
I stumbled upon this formula when I noticed the length of time it took my tween daughter to complete her chores or anything we asked her to do. We tried chore charts, incentive programs, allowances.
But she displayed this same behavior in other areas, like finishing homework or studying. There would be much whining (moms of littles, the whining doesn’t stop as they get older) about reading and math daily study time.
However, there was plenty of time to lounge around and play games on her tablet.
Welcome to tweenhood, right?
Sure, what I described above are all symptoms of tweenhood and being a teenager.
When Tween Girl learned how to ride a bike, I remember how frustrated she would get when going uphill but all smiles and giggles flying down that same hill. My advice to her during that time was:
“Put in the hard work in the beginning and reap the rewards after.”
Basically, there are things that none of us want to do, like laundry or washing dishes. We do those things because
no one else in the house will do them we are rewarded with clean clothes and decreasing our risk of food poisoning by eating off of clean plates.
Nevertheless, since I am Tween Girl’s real-life example, I decided to look at myself and my behaviors.
How could I possibly hold her accountable without examing the same within my life?
During my self-reflection, I decided to come up with a set of intentions to live by. I started to apply these intentions and noticed results within myself and Tween Girl within 30 days.
Here’s what I did:
I became consistent by lining my actions up with my words
Over the past few years, I have not been as consistent in certain areas as I wanted to be.
I have tried to learn how to meditate so many times only to get bored and quit.
Or the times when I’ve bought several ingredients to make a fabulous and healthy dinner only to stop and pick up fast food.
The same “stop and go” inconsistency was showing up in Tween Girl.
On several occasions, I helped her develop a study routine at home. By the second or third evening, I was not enforcing the need to study and it was something she already did not want to do so she definitely was not going to stick to the routine.
As the saying goes, “it takes 21 days to form a habit.”
How I changed what I was doing
I started being consistent in my own life, which spanned into the way I interacted with her.
My child always wants to know what’s next, which would always catch me off guard. She would ask that question so much that, yes, I would give in to something that would be to her advantage.
To counter giving in, I started to preplan. which greatly helped me to be more consistent.
Preplanning helped me to be more consistent, especially with helping her develop study habits.
Shortly after the school year started and the first progress reports were sent home, I noticed that Tween Girl had some areas of improvement. In times past, I would talk to her about her grades and rely on her afterschool teachers to help her understand her areas of struggle. I decided to change that approach, after all, it’s my responsibility as a parent to help her or get her the help she needs. From this, study time became a part of daily life.
We also developed consistency with chores. In times past, I have assigned her chores only for her to stop doing them within the first couple of weeks. Most days, I just simply did not have the energy to enforce her doing chores. Besides, I could get them done a lot faster than she could but then what type of behavior would I be modeling?
To model a new behavior, I had a discussion with her where I confessed that I had been lousy at holding her accountable for doing her chores. I explained that, in our family, we all have a part to play. We talked about how, in the past, I had created these cute chore charts and incentive plans that simply did not work.
Lining my actions up with my words showed me that I was talking way too much when it came time to enforcing rules or giving discipline. You know what that sounds like, right? “You have one more time to do…” Or “I’m gonna tell you one more time to…”
Those words lose meaning when they are repeated over and over without any action.
So, in order for my words to have meaning, I clearly state what needs to be done and confirm that she understands the consequences. Whatever happens after that is on her.
Here’s what happened once I changed
My consistency soon gained notice, not just from Tween Girl but my husband noticed also.
Having structure when it came time to study, do chores and even prepare for bed were direct results of my consistency. She could no longer back me into a corner. She started taking the initiative and soon enjoyed the results of her labor. Her grades improved. She would get angry if someone messed up the kitchen after she had cleaned it. She was taking pride in her work.
Ok, at least for now. She’s a tween, soon morphing into a full blown teenager. I ain’t no fool! But I will certainly take this victory, for now, praying that this behavior will continue.
Ultimately, it’s her responsibility to be responsible and accountable but I am her example. Her friends and peers will soon start to have a bigger influence on her, it’s up to me to lay the foundation so that she will have something to fall back on once she sees that her friend’s advice doesn’t work.
Have you ever committed to something and reaped the reward?