Last night, Greg and I told our kids we didn’t want to be parents anymore. They looked at us with wide eyes and open mouths, thinking we had officially lost our marbles.
I could almost hear the thoughts dancing through their startled minds: “This must be what happens when you turn forty; you go crazy.”
Little did they know what we had in store for them.
“You have all been a part of this family for your entire lives, ” I explained, stating the obvious for good measure. “You are well aware of what we expect from you. If you live up to those expectations, Dad and I will not have to get involved, thus giving you a whole lot more freedom and allowing us to take a back seat in the parenting department.”
They were all ears now that more freedom and less parental intervention were on the line.
We went on to explain about the impending “Sheppard Revolution” where we, as parents, were going to put the kids’ responsibilities squarely back on their shoulders where they belong. We have been pretty lazy about that in recent months with our oldest leaving the nest and all. It is time to get back to the basics.
This is how it is going to go:
1. No More Reminders
While I know that reminding my kids to complete their chores, laundry, homework, and other household obligations is not in my best interest because it puts all the responsibility on me (micromanaging at its finest), I have fallen into old habits lately. Consequently, I have felt like the chore police, reminding and reminding ad nauseam while the kids conveniently ignore my pleadings.
We have a chore chart in the hallway by the kids’ bedrooms, making each of their weekly responsibilities crystal clear. I will no longer even mention chores. At 7:00 pm, the new deadline for work completion each day, I will quietly check to see if each child completed their job.
Consequences will follow for those who did not do their part. Not immediately; mind you, but when it is most inconvenient for the kids.
“What? You want to go out with your friends tonight? I’m sorry, but you will not be going anywhere because you failed to complete your chores on time yesterday (or the day before…or the day before…you have a good memory).”
The consequences will be memorable; that is for sure. Not always the same, but memorable….