Learning ways to hide things from my kids is probably one of the best skills I’ve learned, so far.
My only daughter and oldest child is going to be 12 in a few months
She is at an age where she sometimes thinks she’s grown and forgets that she is lumped into the category of “kids” with her little brothers.
I was driving her to her acting class tonight and we got into a conversation about making sure her brothers don’t get into things.
Her brothers are seven and eight years younger than she is. She’s got things in her room that they could break or get hurt by. Or, destroy my brand new bed sheets (oil pastels).
I had to laugh out loud when she was telling me about how frustrated she gets when they get into something she has told them not to touch.
I said, “Oh, you mean like when you take the scissors out of the junk drawer and don’t put them back? Even after I have asked you at least 700 times to put them back where you found them.”
(I honestly think I have purchased at least 40 pairs of scissors in the last year and no one can find any of them.)
She got huffy with me like it’s not exactly the same thing. And stopped talking.
I said, “Look, baby, the fact is if the boys know that there is something in your room that they are not supposed to touch …. the only thing they will want to do that day is touch it”
Following Their Rules
As parents (or big sisters), I think it is our responsibility to interact with our kids (or siblings) according to the rules that they set.
My daughter has set a rule that she cannot be trusted to bring back the scissors after she has used them. Which is why I have a special pair of scissors hidden in my bathroom that she will never know about.
Her brothers have set a rule that they cannot be trusted to not touch something that is within touching reach. Which is why she needs to put everything that she doesn’t want them to touch up and out of their reach.
It’s kind of a systems approach to family and interacting. You can’t change another person‘s behavior. You can only change your reaction to their behavior.
I think as parents it’s very easy for us to get wrapped up in the goal of changing behavior.
But in actuality parenting really is a method for influencing decisions that elicit different behavior.
That Doesn’t Mean Not Setting Boundaries
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to raise a bunch of jerks who never bring the scissors back and always touch stuff they’re not supposed to.
My kids have consequences for not following the rules. But I don’t fool myself into thinking that I am in control of their behavior.
They are their own people. And they have to face the consequences of the decisions that they make.
After we talked about it a little bit more, I shared a secret with my daughter about how to handle the situation with her brothers.
I told her, “If you don’t want them to touch something. Hide it.“
This concept made perfect sense to my almost 12-year-old and she had a whole brainstorm of places where she could hide her things.
But, as parents, this can be a difficult task. Where in the home can something be hidden where kids don’t go or wouldn’t snoop?
33 Ways To Hide Things From Your Nosy Kids
Tell them it’s spicy and don’t bother hiding it
Tell them it has nuts in it
Hide chocolate in the freezer in an empty bag of frozen peas
Hide your goodies in plain sight inside a small appliance that never gets used
Tell them it has caffeine in it
Use an empty tampon box to stash your candy bars
Stuff the pockets of the jackets and shirts in your closet with wrapped goodies.
Empty cans or containers in the garage or laundry room
In the bottom of a box of shredded wheat
In your underwear drawer
In your paperwork box
In your car
In your coupons shoebox
Inside of empty luggage
At a friends house
In the trunk of your car
In your office at work
Inside of kitchen pots and pans
In the crawlspace
In the attic
In a storage unit
With your cleaning supplies
In boxes marked tax receipts
In a brand new garbage can in the garage
In that bag in your bathroom cabinet that has the curlers in it that you never use
In a stuffed animal that sits on top of your dresser
In a throw pillow that zips and unzips
In a safe in your master closet
In a backpack that hangs on a hanger in your closet
In a false bottom of your dresser or side table drawer
In the gun cabinet
In a locked hope chest at the foot of your bed
In the tampon box next to the chocolate