Many parents think they’re doing something nice for kids by not asking them to do chores and “forcing” them to work. Here’s why I MAKE my kids do chores!
Why I MAKE My Kids Do Chores!
Usually, when I write about something I take into account the fact that there are so many different life situations and different people. I usually consider that everyone has his or her own special needs so I try to not be too dogmatic about what a person should do in a situation.
But when it comes to injustices towards children, I do tend to be more – hmm, what’s the word? — As much as I hate to use the phrase, I’ll say “more narrow minded.” In the same way I would react if I saw a child being physically abused, I’m afraid I do get upset when I see parents who are emotionally hurting their children, too.
One of those areas where I am seeing this problem more and more is when parents don’t expect their children to do chores or to help at home. The sad thing is that parents think they are doing something nice for their kids by not asking them to do chores and “forcing” them to work.
The reality is that many parents, even though they do love their children, don’t love their children more than they love themselves. Before you start screaming, clicking the delete button or having a heart attack let me explain what I mean and see if you might end up agreeing with me just a little, even if what I said sounds harsh.
Here are some reasons why parents don’t make their kids do chores.
- I get tired of fighting with them and telling them to do their chores.
- I’m afraid the kids will be mad at me and not like me.
- I’m too busy to keep track of things and remind my children to do their chores.
- It is easier for me to do the work myself.
- I don’t know how to teach them.
- I feel guilty because of my divorce, moving, job loss…..
Do you see how all of the excuses are things that will cause some kind of physical or emotional discomfort for the parents? It isn’t easy being a parent and I, like many other parents before me and after me will at one point in their lives do one or all of the above things. What’s important is to be aware of when you’re doing it and to try your best not to let it happen too often.
Having to do chores, or work at home, is one of the main builders of life skills for kids. Everything including learning how to wash dishes, cook and clean are things we, as parents, are responsible to teach our children.
At risk of sounding harsh, if we haven’t taught our children these lessons we have failed in one very important area of our parenting. Teaching kids responsibility and how to perform daily tasks is an area where many of us have become very relaxed and it’s something we have treated with little importance in the past couple of decades.
If you think I’m being overly dramatic, think about this:
- Not knowing how to clean a home or wash dishes can lead to poor health for your kids and their families.
- Not knowing how to cook can be financially devastating. When times are hard and your grown kids can’t go out to eat, they wouldn’t begin to know how to save. How many of you have had times in your lives when you couldn’t afford to go out to eat and needed to cook at home but found that you didn’t even know how to go to the grocery store and shop, let alone cook? How many of you, when you first tried this, had shell shock when you went to pay for the groceries. I know one young woman still living at home who said, “My mom pays very little for groceries – only about $300.” The mom looked at her and said, “Uh… more like $750.” The bottom line is that many older kids don’t have a clue about how to cook and shop for groceries or about many other things they should be learning…
It would take too much room for me to list all of the physical reasons kids need to learn practical life skills but I think you get the idea.
More than anything, though, I get concerned with how lack of responsibility and knowledge of basic life skills impacts kids emotionally. My heart breaks to see young moms or dads struggling to learn how to do things for their families that should have been second nature to them by the time they reached their early 20’s.
How lack of practical training affects children:
- Lowers their self confidence and self esteem.
- Can be very embarrassing, humiliating and painful, especially in the case of a young man his ego.
- Adds more stress to an already stress filled life. At a time when young people are having to learn to live on their own, they are often trying to deal with all the difficulties of being newly married or new parents. If they are also having to learn life skills they should have been taught when they were 10, it can be much more difficult for them.
No wonder so many 20-something young people are struggling, have low self esteem and don’t want to leave home. How can they leave when they don’t know how to take care of themselves?
These are some of the repercussions of not having kids do chores. And so many of us thought it was no big deal. Now do you see my frustration in this trend?
I know it is hard. We are tired and overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, but we must teach our children. Being responsible for your children and their needs goes way beyond making sure there is enough money for food, shelter and clothing. You need to be responsible for their many other needs, too, no matter how much work and sacrifice it is for you as a parent.
In closing, there is nothing more frustrating than to hear someone tell you what you should do but end before telling you how to do it, so here are a few more articles from LivingOnADime.com that include practical ways to help you learn to teach kids’ chores and follow through on overseeing that the chores get done.
Organizing Kids Rooms – Detailed information about how to teach kids chores and how to manage and motivate them.
Sample kids’ chore charts to make assigning responsibilities easier.
One other thing that is important is teaching kids about money.
P.S. Even my baby Jack (Tawra’s youngest in the picture above) is trying to help mom sweep. Not because he has to, but because it makes him feel good.
My youngest is 4 and he is constantly asking for more jobs!!
He wants to be a big boy and help the bigger boys do their work too.
The older kids just accept that this is their home and they have a responsibility to help out.
Many hands do make work light!!
People coming into the house are amazed that the kids are happily chatting while doing dishes or whatever job is at hand.
I think the reason they are happy doing housework is that I am too and work with them.
That way they don’t feel like I just had kids to do my work!!
I totally agree with you Martha. In the same way we resent a boss who sits around all day doing nothing while giving orders kids are the same. Even the excuse that mom and dad worked all day and need to rest doesn’t fly. What the kids can’t see doesn’t count in their mind. So if mom and dad are sitting and giving orders the kids feel like servants and begin to resent their parents and working. I don’t care how tired you are you had children and they are your responsibility and part of that responsibility is working with them and teaching them at the end of the day.
I say Amen to everything you have said today about teaching your children to work. If you start when they are young, it is fun for them to help and not a chore.
I was one of those wives who knew nothing of taking care of a home. My mother made sure I was “an independent woman,” but like it or not, we women usually are the keepers of the home. It helped wreck my first marriage and almost did in my second.
I was SO happy to read this article! You are right on the money! We, as parents, need to quit making excuses and BE parents not babysitters to our own kids. Yes, it’s hard, and yes, we all have an off-day… but it is our JOB above all else to ensure our kids feel loved and to teach them to be self-reliant, future productive members of society (in all aspects of life). I am very tired and disappointed of watching people “dealing” with their kids for as little as possible to get to the TV, the bar, or even the office. It is so sad. I am far from perfect, but I am always reminding myself that I am a parent, and my kids need guidance and love (3, 12, and almost 15), and all three of them have chores, just like their dad and me. :)
One day the living room had gotten out of control with toys, and of course, company was coming over. I asked my oldest son to help me and two younger ones for a few minutes. He said, “Why do I have to help pick up toys? They aren’t mine!” I said, “Because I clean YOUR toilet!” We both laughed, and he helped.
My siblings and I had chores to do, my two sons had chores to do. Both of my son’s are grown now and do the major meal preparation in their households. They both know how to shop and be very frugal about it. I too have noticed that a lot of younger parents do not expect the children to do any thing at home.
My parents wanted all six of us to be independent and to be able to handle any thing that life has to throw at us.
Amen to everything you have said today about giving your children chores and teaching them to work and about money. If you start when they are young, they don’t think of it as work. It’s just something that they need to do as part of the family. It teaches them responsibility and gives them a feeling accomplishment. Not making them do anything and giving them everything they want may be easier but it does not prepare them for living on their own or working for someone else
You are sooo right. I have taught my boys to do basic house keeping. Telling them that they made not get married or get a wife that knew how to cook or clean. I got “right mom”. Well, ones married and does almost all the cooking and the other dated a girl (17 years old) that did not know how to turn on the dishwasher! She didn’t last long. He found one who knows how to do it all. :)
This is so true! Shamefully I can testify to the truths of this subject. But with much prayer and long-suffering things have been turning around and is beginning to pay off. It sure would have made things easier if I had followed this advice years ago.
Jack is adorable. Helping Mom sweep. So very sweet.
Grizzly Bear Mom
And then they come to work and expect an award because…just because! Help make your child a civil member of society by expecting them to be kind and responsible by employing them meaningfully whether at home, church, or civic organization. I don’t understand why people have children if they don’t want to parent.
Grizzly Bear MOM, thanks for saying it! Why do people have children if they don’t want to parent. I mean my friend had enough nerve the other day to ask when was she suppose to have her adult time! HA HA When he is grown and gone sweetheart. She complains all the time about being overwhelmed and her sixteen year old boy only is responsible for his room. My goodness.. Just listening to her makes me feel overwhelmed!
My three, 9 and under are responsibel for all parts of the house inside and out. Our nine year old thinks cleaning the dog kennel of waste is an art! He takes pride in a job well done. We started giving him chores at 2 and passed them down to the other two as they got old enough. I contine to pass my chores to him every couple of months and his down to his siblings, my goal is to have him take over the whole house by the time he is 16 or younger(we will see if he is ready). I really do not want him or any of our children to be a burden to their spouses. Common sense and every day living is our number one subject taught here. Being able to do a chore if you HAVE TO is not the same as being able to manage a productive household for a given amount of time. Our kids will be to their spouses(or selves) what we allow them to be while they are still at home.
Raise the LAZY and they will STAY LAZY!
I have to laugh too about having adult time when you have kids. This week (past month) though I’m not sure you ever get adult time even when they leave home. I am almost as busy doing things helping my kids (moving, babysitting, figuring out life in general) as when they were little and at home. Even though they are very responsible, they married and multiplied so that now instead of 2 children to help I have 10. :) :) Not that I mind.
You are so right on with your article. My son is almost 6 years old and he has household chores that he does around the house. He takes pride in doing a good job setting the table, putting laundry away, dusting etc. I want him to be self sufficient and know how to take care of himself. One parent at his school asked me when I started letting him get dressed by himself….I told her that he started not needing my help between the age of 4-5. She was shocked…..her daughter is almost 6 and insists that her mother dress her and the mother does it!
Thanks for such a great article!
I am the mother of just one and I did not have a set plan for chores. We did alot of things together and then when life threw us a curve ball and my husband was in another city across the country during her high school years, I had to rely on her to take up some of the work so that I could work full-time, teach piano and get my sewing business off the ground. She and I prepared our home to be sold (at full price) and she has been able to be pretty independent in a variety of settings so far. She’s got 2 more years of college left.
My one regret is not getting her driving sooner and not being a better model in cooking. Not my strongest asset!
Once again, THANK YOU! I tell my children & step-children our job as parents is to raise responsible members of society. Keeping that in mind, The last few weeks I have struggled with getting my herd to do their chores. I have grumbled to my husband about their lack of work ethic. Quite frankly I have had a bad attitude…. confession is good for the soul, right? Thank you Jill for helping correct me. Thank you for reminding me that teaching them a good work ethic is my JOB :o) I really appreciate your ministry!
My 21 month old grandson lives with us and I admit, having raised 4, that I just did not realize how much they are capable of doing even as babies. So I have taught Noah how to vacuum, dust, feed the kitties, wipe things down, put laundry away, etc. Sure, it is “play” to him now, but I am hoping he gets the idea. I realize I made many of the listed mistakes with my own kids, and now I have more time and patience, so I am given a 2nd chance to do it right! :-)
Preach it, Sister! I was dropping off a DVD at the library just before it opened a couple weeks ago and a boy we know from church was hanging out, waiting for the place to open. He asked where my son was. When I replied that he was at home doing is chores, the boy replied, “How boring.” I wished I had a good reply for him, but all I could do is feel sad inside. In the parents’ defense, I they are relatively new believers even though they homeschooled until recently. But still, what a sad attitude that chores are boring.
I am a home daycare provider and I have seen the results of many families where nothing is expected from the kids. They are not my favorite kids to have in my daycare nor are they my favorite parents to have either. They are just as adorable or smart as those taught responsibility but their behavior is challenging in any setting other than their home–daycare, church, school, etc.
The parents who used to be ‘pampered’ kids have no idea how to handle the day to day responsibility of a family. There are so many CHORES to having a family or even a job.
And when ‘pampered’ kids come to day care they have to adjust to the idea of picking up toys that they played with and other responsibility ideas! Some pick up the ideas easily and some don’t.
My DH and I were just this morning discussing how our system of education does nothing to actually teach us to manage life. I mentioned that after 4 years of Home Ec, I knew nothing about running a household. My Mother was a SAHM and did all the household management and gave my sisters and I “chores” as punishment. At 59 I still have issues with certain household tasks.
This is soooooo right. My boys weren’t real thrilled when I made them do their own laundry but when they left home they realized how important that little ‘chore’ was. No pink underwear! hahaha Both of my boys are great cooks and my daughter is fabulous too. My daughter has a green thumb (mine is very black) and gets real enjoyment in planting her garden and freezing the produce. A few weeks ago I got a call from her that had me laughing too. Her dryer had gone out and she had been paying to dry clothes at the laundromat. She looked outside and saw the clothesline posts and promptly grabbed her ‘other half’ and went to the store for clothesline and pins. She was laughing so hard when she called. Very upset with herself that she had been paying for dryers when she had a good reliable clothesline available. Lessons learned at home while growing up had been pushed to the back of her mind until needed.
The lessons you teach your children will be remembered – maybe a few dollars later but remembered none the less. hahaha
When my 7 (2 boys, 5 girls) children were growing up, I felt like I was not doing my job if I didn’t teach them how to be self-sufficient adults. That means being able to feed, clothe, clean and house themselves. Let’s see, cooking, washing dishes, picking up clothes, washing, drying, and folding, putting them away. Then, cleaning all the rooms in the house, including the bathroom. My boys learned to cook and clean, my girls learned to change tires and mow lawns. All were able to successfully live alone when they chose to leave home.
Oh how true this is! I teach school and everything you said about responsibility and feeling good about learning life skills spills over into the classroom. I deal with 12th graders who don’t even know how to wash clothes, and they are about to go off to college. I have to wonder what the parents are thinking.
This is a great article. I am 46 and grew up in a home where my parents(primarily mother) never let me do anything to help out. My mom was a stay at home mom and would repeatedly tell me she “got bored during the day”. It would drive me crazy to come home from school and find all my drawers rearranged. I wasn’t allowed to help with the dishes(didn’t do it right), help with the housework(didn’t do it right), laundry(didn’t do it right)…do you see the pattern? I have struggled with major self-esteem issues most of my life. I was actually jealous when my peers had a chore list. Parents are not doing their kids any favors when they insist on doing everything. Kids may baulk at chores, but it teaches a host of “daily living” strengths. Money was always a “secret”…I had no clue how much things were. Needless to say, I also struggled with money management most of my life. I think your advice is wonderful to parents! Kids have enough problems now days without being socially inept.
I love this article!! I helped in our family restaurant from when I was 9 years old, til I was 20. I never got paid any money (we had a roof over our head I was told :). When I had my own jobs in high school, I was still expected to help out with the restaurant anyways. I resented it a lot, I felt like slave labor sometimes. My sis and I also had a list of chores to do at home as well. Little brother never had to do squat and my older brother was out of the house by the time the business came along. I am all for helping out and doing chores, and I learned a lot, especially how to cook from my dad. But I did feel like I had more on my shoulders than I should have. Now, I look at my dads hands, and he can no longer bend his fingers and they are always swollen and he can’t grip things. His back is broken literally from hard work. My mom is resentful and feels like she spent too many years tied to the place. My parents divorced, mainly because of stress. I now realize they lost a lot more than I did, and I will always appreciate that “roof over my head” that I got!
Our job as parents is to teach our children to be fine without us.
Thank you so much for going out on a limb and writing about such a sensitive topic especially for most young parents today. I was a single mother of 4 children (2 boys 2 girls). All of them were taught the basic survival skills needed to become responsible adults. They are always thanking me for teaching them to be self sufficient. Nothing was considered woman’s work or man’s work. They learned both and are grateful for it to this day. Keep up the good advice I love your “Living on a Dime Newsletters”!
I fully agree, I remember going to college and having to teach roommates and boyfriends how to make and/or change a bed, do laundry and other assorted household chores. My husband made money when he was in the service ironing and sewing on patches for uniforms for inspection. Every child should know how to do their own laundry, simple sewing repairs, check the oil on their car, and how to shop for and get an economical meal.
You go girl! Doing chores means learning life skills! I know 20-somethings who can’t cook, can’t do laundry, can’t do dishes, and so on … we fail as parents if we do not make kids do chores. Yes, it’s easier to do it myself. Yes, it’s faster and better done if I do it myself. But that’s not the point of the exercise. The point is turning my child into a competent, independent adult that can take care of himself or herself! Parenting is not easy and showing them, reminding them, and teaching them how to do chores is part of being a parent!
I agree with Jill one hundred percent. You are not doing your children any favors by not teaching them how to do things in the home. I know this from my own experience because I have struggled a lot in this area and it was basically because I wasn’t taught much if anything. I still have little confidence in my homemaking skills and I have been made fun of for taking an interest in the subject but I have first hand knowledge of what happens when you do not live in a clean environment. Not only is it unhealthy and unsafe other people lose all respect for you. They have television shows on now about hoarders and people who are in dirty houses. It shows first hand how it ruins people’s lives how their marriages break up and how much people despise their way of living. It is important to know these things. You can’t get around them.
When we married, my dh had two pre-teen sons. I was appalled to see that on Fridays (he was paid weekly at the time), they would greet Dad at the front door (good thing) and hold out their hands for $5 weekly allowance each (he made $6-something an hour) for doing absolutely nothing and their grades were attrocious! I put a stop to that, mean old stepmom that I am, and required them to wash the dishes, clean up the lawn, mow the lawn, clean their room, and so forth. I would also give them income for good grades as that was their “job.” $5 for each A, $2 for each B, nothing for a C, and for grades lower than that, they owed ME money. When they washed the dishes, if they did a lousy job, they rewashed the dishes until they were clean, regardless of how many times it took or how long.
The younger son also cooked with me. They also did their own laundry and helped with the laundry for the house. The younger son also helped with sweeping and mopping until I was satisfied.
He’s 20 now. He can prepare meals, keeps his room clean, washes his own laundry, and cleans dishes.
Our daughters (7 and 4) argue over who gets to sweep and mop (I don’t tolerate the arguing, but at least they want to help). They also like helping me wash dishes, especially the “Girl Scout way” as we have no automatic dishwasher in this home. They help swap the clothes from washer to dryer and get the right color clothes to put in the wash. They are responsible for keeping their room clean, their clothes put up, and their toys put away. They also like to help me in the kitchen for age-appropriate duties.
The thing is that my husband’s mom did everything for her children. My 4-year-old washes dishes better than he does. My children know how to keep house better than my dh. I love him, but his momma and I will have a talk when I get to Heaven. As a single-parent who wanted his boys to like him and having his mom’s example, he did not require the boys to do anything until we married. He even cleaned their room when they were over 10 and fully capable. I had told him that was unacceptable and would he clean his daughter’s room at that age, and he said emphatically, “No, that would be her job.”
I did not treat the boys differently from the girls in training because each may live on their own or have times when they need to be capable of caring for themselves or family members. Even though the older son accused us of wanting slaves, both the boys love and respect me and my dh realizes how important these skills are for all the children to learn and know.
I have worked with women whose only “SKILLS” are doing their nails, hair, and going to the gym. “High maintenance” with no life skills to take care of a husband or children, but they think they are Gods-gift to men.
I really really love the website. This women empowers me to become a better parent everyday. I love love this article because I like so many other parents have two children. I’m a stay at home mom. My oldest daughter who is eight is a bright and wonderful child. When it comes time to do something that is asked of her she does it with half of the job done Example “Jessica, go clean the living room okay” She will do it but half way it is very frustrating. She is so lazy I dont know what else to do. My husband and I have done chore charts we dont belive in rewards except in you did we are so proud of you those kind of rewards. But she wont do anything unless told to. So this article helped fire up some ideas thank you and if anyone has anything else please let me know.
Jennifer, perhaps your daughter just needs an adjustment in the instructions Break the “clean the living room” into smaller, more explicit chores. Like tidy the magazines, bring dishes into the kitchen etc
Yes you need to be very specific with kids of all ages. You can’t just say “Clean your room” you need to say “Pick all your toys and put them in the toy chest, put your dirty clothes in the hamper.” etc. If you say clean your room in their mind if they pick up one toy and put it away they have cleaned their room.
Great topic and it’s never too late to teach children how to clean, do laundry, cook (unless they’ve moved out!). Son mows the lawn (learned when he was 12 and he saw both his mom and dad pushing that mower, weeding, etc) and knows that he can earn $ for this instead of hiring a gardner. Teen daughter helps to clean house, will shop for groceries with a list from Mom and does a great job with laundry too.
When kids were 8 and 9, I turned on the radio, tossed the clothes on the bed and said let’s see how many clothes we can fold in 1 song! It became fun and made light work.
By 6th grade, they were doing their own laundry. I left notes on the washer and dryer (“whites with whites, don’t stuff the tub, etc.). I figured, they can work an iPod, they can run a washing machine.
They earned allowance money for chores. They also had to do their chores on Sat morning BEFORE they went to a friends, watched a movie, played on the computer.
I switched the chores so that my daughter learned to mow and my son learned to wash dishes. I didn’t want my kids growing up thinking “that’s woman’s work or that’s a man’s job.
Jennifer there is a book by a Christian father called “Have a New Kid by Friday.” The author is Kevin Leman. It is very funny and gives great tips on how to get kids motivated.
He is good Bea. We got to see him speak once and he is a crack up.
Jill I never got to see Kevin Leman, but heard him on Christian radio’s ‘Focus on the Family”, and he is really funny. He does get stubborn unmotivated kids to behave well with his tactics. He must be a scream as a husband and father.
Thank you Bea i will check that out i am actually going to the library today so thank you very much.
You’re welcome Jennifer. Hope you find the book.
I had no parenting growing up and had 3 children.(they were raised by 2 immature adults) Now they are all struggling to make it as I have. Now at 59 I am still learning abut how to do things that I should have known years ago. Anyway, when I see my grown kids struggle as I have I try to teach them now what I myself am learning. I am keeping close to my grandchildren and already showing them at a young age what I had to learn the hard way.One time my son in law sent my daughter out to grocery shop and he told me she came back with “goodies” no food of substance. Who knew.
I loved this article. I have an 11-year-old son, and he has chores he has to do each day because everybody helps out in our house. He has had to take complete care of his cat (including the litter box) from the day we got the cat when he was six, bring the recycling out to the bin and keep his room clean. He is not allowed to turn on the TV until his chores are finished to my satisfaction – no shortcuts. He will mow the lawn or wash my car for a few extra dollars, but he does not get paid for his daily chores. I still struggle to get him to do them from time to time (just this morning I took away all screen time for not doing his chores). Now that he is going into middle school, he will be responsible for his own laundry. He also can make simple meals for himself.
When it comes to learning to manage money, I am open with him about how much things cost, so he is aware that we can not do all the things we may want to do because we have to pay x-amount of dollars each week for the mortgage, etc. He understands the value of a dollar much better than many children his age, and knows that when the money is gone, there is no more spending. (The government should learn this lesson!) He has to pay his own cell phone bill each month and knows that he has to keep that much money aside or he will not have a phone to use. When he wanted expensive brand-name sneakers, I paid a portion that I considered a reasonable amount and he had to pay for the balance. He looked on the computer to find the store with the best price, and we went there for the shoes. I find he is much more careful when he is spending his own money than when he is spending mine. ;)
we have nine children and live on a farm. We could not possibly do all that needs to be done if only my husband and I did the work. We also homeschool. So many people have asked me “how do you do it?” Well, for one, I don’t send my kids away from home for eight hours a day once they get old enough to be a real help around the house :) Teaching responsibility through chores is as necessary for my children and society as academics.
Would the book ” a new kid by Friday” have ways of dealing with children who have ADD? I was interested in his fun approach. Although a grandparent, I would like to be informed and able to share this info.
Excellent article. I have noticed that many children are not being taught to work at home. When my sister and were 4 and 5, we stood on a kitchen chair to wash the lunch dishes. There were seven children, and we all had to do chores, including weeding the large garden, cleaning and preparing the vegetables once they were ready to can and freeze. There were many children in our neighborhood who just wandered around and wanted to play all day. We could not play until the chores were done. Period.
Now I see teenagers who don’t have much responsibility, either. They graduate from college never having had a job, and some parents even say they don’t want their children to work that last summer before college because they want them to “have fun”. I say this is irresponsible. These kids will not have developed a work ethic once they graduate from college, yet they demand a good wage for their degree. And they will be running things one day. Should we trust these kids to take care of their parents in old age?
Even in the Garden of Eden, a perfect environment, Adam had responsibilities. Work is God’s idea, and man was made for work.
My husband told the kids they didn’t have to do their chores: they were whining and he thought they shouldn’t have to do it. Well, guess what happened, never again could I get their help without a major fight EVER SINGLE TIME. Yea, I made them do it anyway. They know how to take care of themselves. One is launched and can vegetable garden and take care of her home. It works. Now 2 adults living at home; do they help, NO. This post is meant as a warning. NEVER, EVER, GIVE IN. Work alongside, happily teaching, doing chores until they can do it on their own. Teach them anyway. Be glad, the end result is well worth the process.
I had two step-daughters that came to live with us eight years ago at ages 10 and 13. I was raised where we did work around the house my brothers included. Needless to say, my step-daughters were never made to do anything so it was quiet a shock when they came to live with their dad and I. I told them what their chores would be and the 13 year was ok with it but the 10 year old who was spoiled would not do them and it was always a constant fight. The dad was no help in the matter so she grew to hate me and that was ok by me. Now, at the age of 18 she still doesn’t know how to clean her room right or her bathroom and by this time I have had it. I told her she might appreciate what I have done for her if she got out on her own and just see what life is really like so she moved in with her boyfriend. It’s amazing how she seems to think everyone should do for her and take care of her financially and while she does what she wants. I tried that’s all I can say and I thank God that my own children were not like her.
Years ago, I had a wonderful neighbour who was a devoted mother and homemaker. However, she tended to do all the household chores, all the time, in the mistaken notion that she was being very loving by doing so. One day, she came over and told me about a relative of hers, who was in her early 40’s, had a husband and two pre-teen boys. Tragically, my neighbour’s relative died suddenly in a tragic motorcycle accident. Not only was the family struggling with the loss of their wife/mother, but the whole painful process was greatly complicated because the rest of the family didn’t have the first clue about completing any domestic chore,as the mother had done it all. They didn’t know how to operate a clothes washer, kitchen range, or how to shop, or manage a household budget. It made for an an excruciating grieving process. The incident was a wake-up call for my neighbour, and she told me that starting that day, she was going to start teaching her children domestic life skills. Hearing her story also prompted me to teach my oldest child, who was 6,(and the others), how to load and turn on the wash machine.
I think some of the best advice in this article was in the “How lack of practical training affects children” section
I also told both of my sons that they needed to know how to cook and clean as they may not get married or need to keep the home going because their wife would be working. Proof that all need to know their way around the kitchen. My son was sharing an apartment with a friend while in college. He was at work and the roommate decided he wanted some fried potatoes, unfortunately this resulted in a kitchen fire! My son had been the one doing the cooking and this young man had no idea. Moral to story, it could actually be dangerous to not teach your children their way around the kitchen.
So true. People don’t realize these things are life skills everyone really needs to know like swimming, basic first aid, basic hygiene etc. They can help maybe save your child or someone else’s life literally. Many parents get very hung up on some life skills like brushing teeth, taking a shower but forget many others.
When I left home I had never done chores. I didn’t know how to boil an egg! it’s not rocket science though. Didn’t take me two minutes to work out how to use a brush, wash dishes, use a washing machine. I’ve now spent forty years cleaning, cooking, housekeeping & working. Didn’t make a jot of difference.
With some it does make a difference because they may be adjusting to a whole new and harder life and to try to learn basic life skills can put them over the edge. For example it is better to know how to tie your shoes before you start to run a race instead of trying to figure out how to tie them after the gun has gone off to start the race. For some it puts them way behind.