You know how along the way in life you sometimes hear something someone says and it just sticks in your head, even though you didn’t expect it? Something like that one thing your dad said as he was driving you off to college, or something a friend said about marriages back when yours was in a low spot. Those things you think of over and over and might say to people once in awhile, even now? I know you know what I am talking about, don’t you?
Peace in Your Life
I remember one of my favorite professors in grad school saying, about this work I was studying to do, that the people we students would ultimately work with all want the same thing. Peace in their lives. Sounds awfully simplified, doesn’t it? But, when I think about my experiences as a therapist, I know he was right. That’s what they all want. And what he said that day will stick in my head because, that’s what I want, too. Don’t you?
Oh Those Endless Chores
When I am working with parents and children I, of course, hear a lot about the things that keep everyone from having peace in their lives. One of the top five, or three, or maybe even number one, topic of conflict between parents and children is, you probably guessed it, chores. And the top chore of dislike? No, it’s not pet poop duty. It’s …… putting away/cleaning up toys/stuff. By far!
So, we work on strategies to make it go better and even though change is what they want, both parents and kids trench in, because change is hard and whenever change happens someone squawks. Parents think they are in for a rough stretch before it can get better and, quite frankly, they are not looking forward to the rough stretch. And kids just think they will be in more trouble than ever. But, maybe not. Try……
Clutterfree with Your Kids!
When I read Joshua Becker’s book, Clutterfree with Kids, I connected right away. He nailed it. Children do have too much stuff. And, organizing, creating new systems, consequenting the children for refusing to “get it done” – none of this seems to work quite like reducing.
In my office we talk a lot about two types of change. The first is stopping a problem at the moment. Example – two youngsters are arguing about cleaning up and parent steps in, intervenes, and argument stops. However, later the children are back at it. So, this takes us to the second type of change, which is permanent elimination of the problem. Example – it’s time for picking up and putting away the children’s things, they groan a bit, roll their eyes a bit and then just go and get it done, in no time at all.
I really like how Joshua takes the focus entirely away from creating new, jazzier, ways to organize, categorize, stack and store children’s stuff. He never addresses reward and consequence systems to use in an effort to get the kids on board with the chore.
It’s Not About Discipline
Clutterfree with Kids is not a child discipline book. It is a stuff management book. It’s a book about making the root of the problem go away. Managing the task to make it simpler, so there really isn’t anything to complain about. Joshua focuses on reducing the amount of stuff slowly and, yes, significantly. Reducing the stuff? Oh no! Can you feel your blood pressure going up at the thought of what kind of conflict you and your children will have over THIS solution?
Well, read the book Clutterfrree with Kids and get some great, great ideas on how to pull this off. Joshua notes that we are already living with less and just don’t know it. Everyone’s resources are limited so we are already making decisions based on this natural limitation, and we are mostly making it work. So, really, exchanging stuff for something else is not a loss. It’s just a shift. If you focus on shifting, and not on losing, your kids will, too.
Emphasize what benefits needing and having less stuff brings to your lives. Things like more money to do things, take a little road trip, pay for art classes or camp, buy a book. Instead of regularly having to reorganize the stuff that just seems to ooze from everywhere, there is now time to play, make puppet shows, go to the park, library, art museum. How lovely to be able to put away the toys/stuff in about 10 minutes tops when clean up time comes. That’s what you want. Right?
Clutterfree with Kids = Clutterfree in Your Own Life
Clutter is not all about stuff. It is also about your thoughts and emotions. Troubling thoughts over things like conflict with your kids lead to unpleasant emotions which equates to internal clutter for you. A happier, less stressed you makes…..Peace In Your Life!
Hey! We made it all the way around and back to peace in your life!
Joshua tells his story far better than I can, so, read his book. It’s on Amazon, Kindle, at the local library, in a book store. Get one and share it. Start a parents’ book group and make Clutterfree with Kids the first book you study together. Big changes like this go better with support from your friends, and…snacks! Have fun.
Thanks to Joshua Becker
Thanks Joshua. You said it all. Not only did you describe the idea so very well, you built the case for it in a way that will let parentsl go Clutterfree with Kids and have no guilt! Can’t beat that!
Joshua has a blog called Becoming Minimalist where you will learn all about him, and find scads of good ideas on simplifying life and getting that peace we all want. Visit his blog and tell him what you think of Clutterfree with Kids.