In today’s modern society, we want to give our kids everything. We want them to have everything we didn’t have as a child, from the iconic: Big Wheel and Baby Alive, to the uber modern: WII and designer handbags. We want them to not only keep up with the Jones but beat the Jones and in the process, we look good too. But in this crazy race to put our kids in every activity imaginable, and in our hopes to NOT be like our own crazy parents, we often skip things: things like discipline, things like chores.
Chores teach responsibility. They teach partnership. They teach skills. We do our kids and society a disservice when we do not teach our kids how to wash dishes, take out the garbage, cook, mop, and clean a bathroom. These are skills that teach kids that maintaining our home is just as important as owning a home. Yes, in the future, they may be able to afford to get “good help”, but what if they can’t or choose to use that money for something else. Who will clean up after our kids? Us? Not me. Kids need to be taught early to be a part of the family not just a leach. We want our boys to grow up knowing that the domestic front is just as much their domain as their wives – not only because it builds better relationships with their wives, but also because there may be days that THEY will be the ones left alone to raise their kids and look after the dog and the home. And they will need to do it, and do it well.
Girls need to learn how to manage a home, because regardless of what profession she chooses, there will be a great chance that she will be primarily responsible for the running of the home. We can not expect our kids to take care of their family if they can’t even take care of themselves. Yes, many of us learned how to properly take care of ourselves once we left home, but there is so much to learn about being an adult… It would be good if we at least let our kids go off to college knowing how to do laundry and dust. That way they can concentrate on the other things like financial management and safe sex.
We need to teach our kids that they are valuable and viable parts of the greater good called the family. They need to be able to take care of the family pet, which includes, feeding it, and training it, and cleaning up after it and playing with it. These actions build character and responsibility and strength. Spoiled children become spoiled selfish adults incapable of being responsible. Chores are a way to help our kids realize that regardless of how busy we may be, the laundry still needs to be done and our showers need to be cleaned and our dog needs to be fed. These demands teach our kids to manage their time and builds their self confidence as they Get The Job Done.
Kids from an early age need to take out their own garbage and learn to set the table and clear the table. Then as they age, they can help wash dishes (kids should learn both methods: using a dishwasher and by hand) and sort laundry and put them away. Ultimately, they need to learn to wash their own clothes, iron, cook a few basic meals, and clean a bathroom. After learning these skills, your young adult should be able to fledge the nest and you should be able to rest knowing that they know how to take care of themselves. They rest will come as the get “on the job training”.
Teach your kids to be responsible for themselves and others and they will be more likely to grow into productive Men and Women, Mothers and Fathers, citizens. Happy Parenting.