Sometimes we go into parenting situations full guns blazing, only to accidentally shoot ourselves in the foot with said fully blazing gun. Sometimes we expect conflict, so we start reacting as though there already is a conflict, and thus we bring one about.
I just did something similar. 2 minutes ago. And it could have ended in disaster. I went through to the livingroom to see that the kids had torn an egg carton into many pieces and spilled it on the floor (an "art project") and then emptied the contents of a box of penny pasta all over the floor and couch. And thrown in some pistachios to boot.
I handled it calmly, walked through and switched off the tv and informed the children they could watch a little bit more as soon as they've cleaned up the mess. Kaya went straight through and started cleaning. She's a rule sort of person. She likes to know where boundaries are and to stay inside them.
Lana, however, is more of a beat-of-your-own drum type and prefers to govern her own world. Fine, I'm the same was as her, I get that and love her for it. However, she does have to learn how to live in a society and get along with others and contribute equally.
I heard her switch the tv back on while Kaya was working her butt off cleaning up. So I loaded up my weapons and went in, "NO Lana, you can't watch tv! You'll be banned from tv for 2 days if you don't get in there and help your sister now. It's only fair, you helped make the mess!!" yell yell, bla bla. It only puts her off. I turned off the tv and sent her through. Her head was hanging low. She didn't seem like she had a lot of energy or ambition to start helping, and I anticipated she'd probably just flop herself down on the couch.
As Jasmine Star says - "because all posts are better with a pic"
But then Kaya piped in with, "Hey Lana, do you want to feed the hungry vacuum?"
Lana's face lit up. And she got to work picking up pieces and feeding them to the vacuum cleaner. And they're still both in there just now busy cleaning away and having a great time.
If only I had thought of that! So often if we just approach an issue from a playful point of view, we'll have a much easier time getting our kids to participate. Instead of saying, "put your shoes on NOW we're 5 minutes late!", why not try saying, "let's pretend our feet are 2 birds who have lost their feathers, and they're really cold. Let's pretend these shoes are the feathers, we'd better put them on really fast before the bird gets cold". Or instead of saying, "Brush. Teeth. Nowish" how about, "I found a magical toothbrush. If you rub it against your teeth 30 times on the top and bottom, a fairy comes out and grants a wish. Would you like to go try it!"
Kids really respond to it! I might think about making a challenge or something, because I certainly need to remember this more. Maybe if I had a graphic and an official challenge it would help me remember haha. Yelling at the kids less, and them contributing positively more can only be a good thing, right?