When your kids are toddlers you tend to do everything for them. When they get to preschool age, you slowly teach them how to do things for themselves; from tying their shoe laces to dressing themselves. And once they’ve mastered the basics you start introducing small chores. Letting them set the table, folding the washing and eventually moving to bigger chores like feeding the pets, doing the dishes, vacuuming and dusting.
Both my girls are currently at an age where they are very independent. They can dress themselves, do their own hair, make their own beds, prepare their own cereal and sandwiches, make a cup of coffee and operate the microwave. Their chores are set out and each one knows exactly what is expected of them. So how is it possible that children who are capable of doing all these things are suddenly incapable of getting up to get their own juice, snack or whatever they need at that moment in time.
I will tell you why, a simple three letter word that starts with a “d” – dad. They will start demanding left, right and centre the minute their dad is at home. Lea would shout, “Dad can I please have some Milo”. Followed by Mika who will shout, “Dad can I please have some chippies”. The list of demands is endless. This behaviour is not portrayed when I am alone with them. I simply do not allow it. Although they are very polite and will always ask please and when their request is met followed by a thank you – it still works on my last nerve.
When I asked Lea and Mika why they demand things from their dad. Their nonchalant answer was “well when we ask you, you always say we must go get it ourselves.” “Daddy likes to bring things to us, he doesn’t have a problem with it”. I then asked my husband why he allows the girls to order him around. His answer was “I am the only male in the house and as you three are the ladies in my life, you are mean everything to me and I simply love doing things for you”. To be quite honest, that answer did not surprise me at all. That is the type of person he is.
But still how can he not have a problem with it and why does he tolerate it. He knows that as parents, we do have common ground when it comes to rules. Both of us do not tolerate tantrums, rude behaviour and disrespect. We certainly do not allow demands for material things and they do not get everything that they want. We also do not hover over our children. They are reminded to take responsibility for their own behaviour and belongings. And with every unfavourable action there is a consequence.
So knowing all of this, why is he allowing this kind of behaviour? Why does he not draw the line and in this instance why doesn’t he draw a very thick line for that matter with a bright red choki? It surely irritates the hell out of me as we are not our children’s slaves on the contrary we should be ordering them around for all that we’ve done for them thus far and still doing.
Then it struck me, he will do anything for his girls, he loves them and they love him unconditionally. He also loves to feel needed. He feels that as the male figure in the house he needs to treat us like royalty, the queen and princesses. I must admit that my husband does bring me coffee in bed, and occasionally offer to get me things that I need, be it from the kitchen or shop and yes I do take up the offer but I do not demand this.
So for now, although to my irritation, I will back off. I will no longer interfere as long as they know the rules and what my stance on the matter is. I also know that they do appreciate what their dad does for them. Let’s see how long his tolerance levels will last. I hope he draws the line in the near future.