Why Crushing Legos is Bad Parenting #0571 Jennifer Clark Tinker

Love is patient.

1 Corinthians 13:4

 

Confession: whenever I see my son’s Legos on the floor I have the urge to step on them and crush them underfoot just to make the point that he needs to pick up his toys. I’m pretty sure that’s terrible parenting, but the thought goes through my head. Every. Single. Time.

Is my 10 year-old son old enough to take responsibility for his own toys? Of course he is. It’s just that angrily destroying his belongings isn’t the best way to instill a greater sense of responsibility in him.

There’s a term for behaviors like crushing Legos just to teach a lesson. It’s called being “passive-aggressive” which basically means you don’t address the person or problem directly, but you do or say something indirect that undermines the person or situation.

Passive-aggressive behavior is never a good idea in any relationship–parenting included. Here’s why:

  1. It isn’t actually addressing the problem in a way that is likely to get the desired result.
  2. Quite often, it is so subtle as to get no result.
  3. In many cases passive-aggressive behavior makes the situation worse.
  4. It just isn’t nice.

So, if it is such a bad idea, then why do I want so badly to crush those crazy bricks to bits? Well, honestly, because it is easier to avoid addressing it head on. Because really, the problem is bigger than just a few Legos left out.

You know the old adage, “a place for everything and everything in its place”? Well, there isn’t actually a place for everything–let alone all the Legos–in our home.

There are a lot of reasons why there isn’t a place for all the Legos.

  1. My son’s room is still half-filled with boxes from our move two years ago.
  2. It is hard to find good Lego storage methods that work for us.
  3. My husband and I probably let our son have too many Legos and it is hard to find places for that many.

If you’ll notice, all of those problems are due to factors that are at least in part my responsibility. So, to actually address the Legos left on the floor problem, I would have to take responsibility.

It’s important to me as a parent to own my responsibility in the situation. It would be way easier just to get angry and blame and shame my kid for the problem. But it’s not fair and it’s not nice and it doesn’t solve anything.

I’d love to be able to sit here and tell you that since I know I’m part of the problem, I am going to mend my ways and be part of the solution. But really, really, really, clutter just makes me want to run and hide.

I hope to make progress over time and work with my son to find solutions, but I will be patient with him as I need him to patient with me.

It’s not easy being the grown up.

But I am the adult, I am the parent! I don’t want to be a bad parent, so even if I’m not the best at all the details, I won’t actually crush the Legos when I find them on the floor.

 

Disclaimer: No Legos were crushed in the digitization of the photograph that appears with this post. It was staged for illustration purposes only.

 

  • Jen, I feel your pain! You mentioned the fact of how clutter makes you feel. It makes me feel the same way. I desperately want to “get my house in order” because i want to sell it and move out of this state to a neighboring state that is more “retirement friendly” though still in the same general area. When I think of where do I start? What needs to be shredded? What can I downsize and get rid of? What needs to be repaired to get this place ready to put on the market? I could just scream and head for the hills of the nearest Air Raid Shelter.

    I had to step back and look how I got to this overwhelming place that is just not me and not my style. Then I had to understand It did not happen overnight but over time and it will take time to fix.

    God will have to help me through MY clutter and the anger I feel with myself and the urge to get a dumpster and throw everything out the window into it as I scream. God is a “patient parent” to me just as you are with your son. He has not put His foot on my house and crushed “the Legos” of things I need to put in order in my life. I thank Him for it everyday as I know your son, if not already, appreciates your affirmation of him. Thank you for such an inspirational message to me!! I needed it.

    • Walter, thank you for these words of yours that ministered to me this day: “God is a “patient parent” to me just as you are with your son. He has not put His foot on my house and crushed “the Legos” of things I need to put in order in my life.”

  • Linda Drage

    Very interesting, I’m sharing this with my son and daughter-in-law.

    • Wonderful! Thanks so much. I hope Legos aren’t taking over their house as bad as they’re taking over mine!

      • Linda Drage

        Not only the Legos, but the Passive-aggressive behavior as well.

        • And dang, Legos hurt when you step on them!

          • I’ve learned never to walk barefoot outside of my own bedroom–the only room in the house where I have total enforcement of no Legos on the floor.

    • Linda, my son was grown up before I learned some of the stuff Jen is teaching. Hindsight is 20/20. Some regrets there.

  • Carlos Summers

    Another thing, passive aggressive is born of insecurity and acts to make others more insecure than oneself. Making people insecure is a bad thing. Interesting article. Thanks for sharing. I believe Jesus can and does help deal with this insecurity thing.

    • Insecurity definitely fits–more than I’d like to admit. :/

      I totally need Jesus–Every. Single. Minute–with this parenting stuff!

      • If you don’t believe in protecting and guiding angels, don’t have kids.