Here’s a list of some of the things I was not prepared to argue with children about. Or discuss at length even. Keep in mind my only reference is a three year old. One that could really care less about what clothes she wears as long as they are comfortable and will not let me do her hair outside of combing it after a bath. Please also keep in mind that most of the clothing my children are currently wearing were purchased by someone other than myself. So while I may not have purchased midriff shirts for a 6 year old, they are in her closet.
-Hair: There are daily discussions and probably weekly arguments regarding hair. Is it combed? Is it tidy? Keep it long or short? Use hair accessories?
-Clothes: Our main issue, especially with the girls. Are you dressed for the weather? Are you dressed for prom or for school? Are those shoes comfortable? Why are you taking additional accessories to school? Can you tie your shoes and keep them tied?
-Personal hygiene: Probably the most shocking issue of all, that I was not prepared to discuss at length with elementary aged children. I have had seminars with the children on these topics: proper wiping technique after using the toilet, proper drying off after baths/showers, proper toothbrushing/flossing (actually not a huge shock but still), the responsibility to flush after using the toilet, the need to change your underwear at least once a day, the need to clean your eye glasses.
-Food: This one kind of belongs in a general group of MANNERS but I will put it under food. We have discussions on things like waiting until everyone is at the table before you start to eat. We discussed the importance of letting everyone sit down to eat before you ask for seconds. We remind daily about the need to breathe while eating (and not just shoveling it in). There is on child in particular that we have daily arguments about the need to eat vegetables. The children ask constantly for treats or try to eat breakfast food for snack, etc. So we have arguments about what they can have for snack. This is even though I have two entire drawers full of snacks just for them, let alone fresh fruit and vegetable options.
I have felt that really going back to basics with them has been important. Everyone has different expectations and family traditions so maybe I just have different opinions on these issues. I think the main thing we have been preaching is respect, responsibility, kindness and common courtesy!