Every parent wants to bring their children up to be the best that they can. Kind, caring, respectful, hard working, fun loving, fair and more.
But I think being a mum (especially if you have a husband or partner who doesn’t help much with house or childcare), there are differences in what you want to teach your son compared with what their dad would say.
In our house, the OH would probably say that he wants to just teach him farming and rock music. But boys (and girls) definitely need to be taught that their mothers, and therefore by proxy, other females, aren’t there to be at their beck and call.
At the moment, I’ve got a long way to go to teach him that. He doesn’t seem to be motivated by rewards which makes it hard to give him encouragement to do something. I might have to start pocket money when he’s 5, maybe the prospect of seeing money increasing in his pot might do the trick. At school it doesn’t seem to be the same. He just gets on with things, but at home I have to ask several times, or negotiate that I’ll do a bit if he does the rest.
He is good at some things when I ask – crockery in or near the dishwasher if they need clearing, and he’ll help out with cleaning. But tidying up. Nightmare. Not helped by the fact that his dad, doesn’t generally help clear things up. But I’m determined that there are some things he’ll have to learn to do before he leaves primary school.
Tasks to train my son to do
1. Complete toilet training every time
That is, put the seat and lid down.
Flush every time. Always wipe his own bottom. Clean up in the toilet after himself.
Thankfully, N mostly sits down to pee, which means there’s only the lid to put down. Sometimes he does it himself, sometimes he doesn’t so I have to remind him a lot.
Bottom wiping happens in school but still leaves something to be desired at home when I’m around. We need to be able to put the toilet tissue where he can reach it rather than me having to . As for flushing, reminders needed when it’s just a pee. I will conquer and get these all ticked off (hopefully in the next year – or maybe not the cleaning aspect with bleach).
2. Clean the bath/shower and sink after use
It drives me nuts that the OH never seems to rinse round the bath (or sink) after using it. Given there’s often a lot of grime after he’s had a shower (that farm debris gets everywhere).
He knows to give the sink a swill off and will try and help me do that. And he doesn’t mind getting out the glass shower door wiper. Once he’s bigger I’ll start getting him to spritz round the bath too.
3. Remove items from trouser pockets before washing
I always forget to check pockets when I do the washing. I’ve had a lot of stuff falling out of the OHs…tissues (not sure why those in my pockets just shrink to a solid ball while the OH’s shred to pieces), coins, penknife, latex gloves, nails. The list goes on. I’m astounded that none have so far damaged the washing machine.
So that’s my objective for N, so he takes ownership of his own clothes going in the washing machine.
4. Taking clothes off the right way
A bit of a fussy one, but it would be nice if everyone put their clothes out to wash out the right way. So I don’t have to turn them back the right way before folding them. It would save a lot of time at the end of the laundry cycle.
5. Put crockery and glasses in the dishwasher
The OH is terrible at this. He had a dishwasher long before I moved in so I don’t understand why he can’t put glasses in the dishwasher instead of on the side about 30cm away. I wouldn’t mind if he reused the glass, but no. A collection appears until I get sick of it (about 4) and put them in the dishwasher.
N is better admittedly. Sometimes he’ll do it himself, other times I have to remind him. Next step is getting him to load the dishwasher the correct way so everything fits in.
6. Help with bins and recycling
N will help me take the recycling and bins down the drive to the farm gate and the wheely bins. What still needs practice is taking his rubbish to the bin in the utility room rather than leaving tissues on the side, or yoghurt pots on the table.
7. Share the load in the house
Because it’s not just down to one person, especially not if everyone has an agreed role, and if both adults work. And for him to understand that looking after the house is not women’s work.
8. Ask how the day went
As the OH is never very communicative about how his day was (‘working’) and never asks me, I’m trying to train N that it’s normal to ask how someone’s day was. It’s a great way to have a bit of chatter, and makes people feel appreciated and listened to.
At the moment, N usually says ‘can’t remember’ until bedtime, but he definitely understands that it’s normal to ask. He’s even asked me on occasion.
9. Keep kissing and hugging the people you love
N is very generous with his kisses and hugs, so I want him to know that it’s good to continue.
10. Respect for everyone
Essentially, just because someone’s different doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected. If you don’t agree, then just look for something you can respect them for. But don’t state facts or belittle people when it’s not true.
Hopefully if I can train my son to grow up and happily be a proper party in the house and family, then he’ll grow up as a good catch for a future partner, and be someone that people want to spend time with.
What would you like to teach your children?
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