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Unhelpful Help

So if you have children, you’ll absolutely GET this point. Especially if you’ve had young children recently.

My children love to help. They can’t help themselves because it’s how they’re programmed. And at some level, we all love to be recognized for doing good things that help out others…it just makes us feel good. Kids are no different.

Putting up the Christmas Tree 2011

We were putting the Christmas tree and decorations up today. And even though it is fun and great family time, it’s still frustrating and painful at the same time. Take a guess at how many times I had to tell the kids to “STOP” or “WAIT” or “NO” during this. I’ll give you a hint: X > 30, where X is the total of said commands to my kids that went ignored.


Our Christmas Tree 2011

It’s a fine line that we walk with kids. We want them to learn to be helpful and pitch in around the house when they can. But at the same time, their “help” sometimes isn’t so helpful. I think this dynamic is part of the reason that grandparents say that being a grandparent is so much fun…because it makes up for part of all the difficult times that come about when raising kids. Grandparents can take their Grandchildren, spoil them absolutely rotten, sugar them up until they are bouncing off the walls, and then send them home to their parents and let them deal with the ensuing meltdown.

But I digress.

I think the key to managing this “helpful” interaction with my kids is to set my expectations low. Yes…LOW. And that’s not a bad thing either…because “help” in this situation isn’t always that helpful. And that’s not a bad thing either.

Taylor "helping" put away dishes

Even though the unhelpful help makes the process incredibly slow and excruciatingly painful at times, it’s truly the thought that counts. Help is help, even if it isn’t really helpful. Because they are trying. And really…wouldn’t we really rather have our kids trying to help than not?

“Son, can you come help me with this?” Yes…I know what I’m getting into with that simple request.

Thanks for reading. Thanks in advance for commenting. Be sure to subscribe to my Blog on the right and share this with your friends…especially those that will comment and add feedback. Especially about how much they love the help they get. 🙂


Idaho Dad

  1. Brooke
    November 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    If I promise to set my expectations low, will you come help me put up my christmas tree and decorations? Thanks I have advance! 😉

    • Brooke
      November 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      Dang phone, that should have read “thanks in advance ” lol!

      • November 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm

        For anyone except you Brooke, the answer would probably be no. 🙂

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