In most families, chores are expected. Whether you do them for a paycheck, or with the expectation of thoughtfulness, they are important to accomplish. Chores are a great way to show your children that your family needs to work together and dutifully give back to your community. Here’s an overview of why your chores keep you burned.
There are almost without exception children who are not motivated to get their chores done. Every single time I’ve asked my children to do a chore they do it sloppily. I’ve usuallycrossed my eyes, and described the task in some fairly patronizing manner. They look at me with the look of children saying ” Mama, you don’t get it!”
Before the realization of the gravity of the situation hit, I’d explain to my children that doing chores was a part of everyday life. The point of the routine is so they can see that nothing is done without a purpose. The next time I ask, hey, can I please have this done? there is no eye rolling or “no, don’t be ridiculous”, and no preparatory refilling of their drink glasses. They readily yield up their glass and get to work.
When young children do not have a good start on life, the consequences can be disastrous. When teenagers are hung over with a caffeine habit, there has been much more devastating outcomes than failure to get chores done.
So when I say that having children make chores matter, it is a serious commitment on everyone’s part. It means that children need to help. The children need to assist in carrying things or grocery shopping. They need to help clean up after dinner, and sweep the floors. They need to learn how to cook and even set the table. The elderly should know that helping out around the house makes them feel useful, makes them feel appreciated, and sets a good tone.
Before I perhaps jeopardize the offspring’s lives, we do need to consider how they will be treated by their parents in the absence of children. What will constitute a decent treatment? What is reasonable will be measured in terms of their ability to do the work. Remembering that as children grow older, the work should be appropriate for their age, most often a chore is not appropriate for a teenager.
What’s the solution? Work with the young person to attain the work, but on their terms: a clear schedule is essential. They need to know you expect them to accomplish the work with a good attitude. They need your support, not pressure, in their striving for mastery.
Along these same lines, learning to have an attitude of gratitude depends on the work put in, but also how the work is accomplished. The attitude of gratitude is learned through warmth, kindness, and by the quality of life we live. They need to know the family’s priorities are their responsibilities and they should be free to manage their lives in any fashion they see fit.
I love my children is the price I pay. It is in learning not to take it to heart that they thrive. Giving comes as part of the reward of helping and doing well. When a child works at fulfilling a chore without the satisfaction of a pat on the back, it can cause them to come off in the same light with others, by being taken out of their evening scrum. Helping and serving others comes from a feeling they have not developed themselves. teenagers are hung up in this world where they are facing their own potential issues, and living in their own Reality.
The work they do, whether it be sweeping the floor or brushing the teeth, is vital to how they do in the real world. Parents can’t help the kids get anything done for them if they themselves are not working hard enough to get it done. It can happen with them in their married bedrooms with a person on the other end feeling it is “not my son/daughter”; when he/she is someone else’s problem, instead of being their own.
Teaching them to want to accomplish things for themselves, and in the process feel successful, has to be a part of us as parents. They won’t come running, begging your for nurses or teachers. They won’t want to come to you forfun stuff. This is our responsibility as parents and how we act on it will determine their affect on the world. Children will work hard and be promoted. They will juggle social activities, school and sports, and be paid for it. It can be hard ( heck, it can be downright impossible sometimes) but that is the way it is for them. To demand that they put in more and do more because it is expected of them can be devastating to a child’s sense of worth and self-esteem.
They need to know they have a place in the growing up world and are welcome in it.