What Can I Cook For My 1 Year Old Baby Would You Make Up Your Bed? Please!

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Would You Make Up Your Bed? Please!

“Am I a bad parent? Did I fail parenting 101? Do I need a remedial parenting skills class?”

These are some of the thoughts that entered my mind as I tackled a pre-teen homework moment recently.

Outwardly my parenting skills as a single father look good. My thirteen-year-old daughter is doing great in school, asks for little, and is polite and kind. This is great right? Of course it is! However, all this means little when an action, or lack thereof, is done so consistently that it smacks of something evil and ominous.

Until recently, every morning without fail, my daughter and I engaged in the following discourse:

Me: “Make your bed as soon as you get out.”

Her: “Okay.”

Half an hour passes and just before I check if the bed is made, the discourse evolves into the following:

Me: “Have you made your bed yet?”

Her: (With some agitation) “Daddy I heard you for the first time!”

An hour passes and before it’s time for us both to leave for work and school, I look into her room to discover a shocking thing. Her bed is in the same state as when she woke up! Suddenly and without warning the conversation changes from an exchange between two people, to one in which I could be mistaken for a lunatic from the street. Instead of a dialogue between the two of us, I am now unaware that I am talking to myself.

Me: (With some agitation trying to still treat her with dignity and respect) “Would You Make Your Bed? PLEASE!”

Her: Silence and no words come out. What can be seen are softly murmured rumbling sounds reminiscent of an earthquake tremor. All the while, she walks into her room and throws the bed together as if it has now become the enemy of every nation fought in every world war combined.

Is it me or did I miss something? If I didn’t know better, one might think that I had now become the unwitting enemy and her bed was a substitute punching bag for me.

Although there were slight variations of the dialogue, this discourse has been daily for the last two years with one constant. Even saying PLEASE didn’t immediately make the bed.

After a while, self-reflection and introspection from me was in order. Maybe I expected too much from my daughter. Maybe my thinking about her doing this task without fail every day was asking a lot. Why should I think that a child who regularly maintains a grade point average of 3.75- 4.0, reads at least three books a month and is involved in many extracurricular activities can handle such a task? “That’s it!” I thought “It’s my expectations of her. They’re too much! Making her bed every day was more than she could handle.”

To verify my revelation I contacted the supreme expert. my mother Unfortunately for me somewhere during the last thirteen years, what was once an unwavering loyalty, my mother and I, was no longer in place. Now it was my daughter and my mother who formed the ultimate alliance. Instead of my mother rallying around me, she did the exact opposite. She has now joined the enemy. In fact, she told me it was payback and karma for all those times I didn’t make my own bed when I was younger. Her exact words. “What goes around comes around.”

Although my mothers new alliance was not what I had in mind when I asked her advice, it did help me see one thing. The more I waited for my daughter to make her bed, the more she resisted. Not quite a challenging way. She just never got around to doing it. A passive aggressive mode seemed to have taken over her. Then I would be upset and she would be upset, then we would both be very upset about bed!

Maybe I did need a remedial parenting skills class. I learned early on that waiting for something to happen gives you the reason to get upset when that thing doesn’t happen. Think about it. How can a man be upset unless he has first given himself a reason? Until I developed the expectation that my daughter should make her bed every day, there were many days when I didn’t even notice her bed. But once I expected her to do it, I noticed it every day. Unfortunately for my daughter when she made her bed I didn’t say anything. No positive reinforcement. Why say anything when this is what she had to do? When she didn’t make it though, I got upset and had no problem letting her know about it.

But I had it backwards. I should have reinforced the positive act of making her bed, and minimized the negative when she didn’t. This new answer changed everything. When I started reinforcing her positive moments of making her bed, the strangest thing happened. The more she began to make her bed! The more I minimized those moments when she failed, the more she made her bed! It was a win/win.

Amplifying the positive was a direct result of letting go of my expectation. Now that I’ve released the wait, the bed is made much more than it was when I had it. It hasn’t become an everyday occurrence, but it’s much better. Plus I no longer get frustrated or upset because I no longer have a reason. Fortunately for me, the stress associated with the “Would you make your bed please!” situations are now a thing of the past.

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