In the stress of our move I found myself reverting to old habits that I’d forgotten I even had.
- As I reached for the cookie jar when the kids weren’t looking my old unhealthy relationship with food came freshly to mind.
- Even though I’ve had a good organization system for a few years now, I found myself afraid to write important tasks down for fear I’d lose the paper and forget the task.
- I started feeling oppressed by the piles of papers and clutter around me and helpless to move forward.
I was surprised at how strongly my old habits came back when my environment changed. One moment I could hardly remember my old life; next thing I knew, I was living it again.
It was a timely reminder that it’s worth the patience and perseverance it takes to train children in good habits.
If cleaning up after themselves becomes second nature when they are young, it will not leave them when they are grown.
I’ve heard stories of parents who claim their kids cleaned up when they were young but stopped when they were teens or were on their own. I can’t help wondering if the kids had the habit and lost it or if they only cleaned up because their parents made them.
Training our kids in the habit of picking up is harder than making them pick up.
I’m not sure if we can ever tell for sure if the habit is the child’s, but it’s worth aiming for. The less we have to be involved the more likely it’s becoming an established habit.
Maybe being neat isn’t a highly important value for you, but think about what is. What behavior do you want to be second nature for your grown children?
Bad habits are hard to change now, but they’ll be even harder to change later.
Stay strong and work on good habits now. Lead by example. Take it slowly. Be patient and persistent. And don’t forget to celebrate your progress!
You and your kids will be grateful for it!
What good habits does your family have? How did you develop them? Please share!