Thursday, October 30, 2008

Autumn asks: Do your children do chores?

I used to think that everybody did chores while growing up. I mean, my parents explained to me how it was the way that families worked together. It's a shared responsibility on taking care of the home we live in, sleep in, eat in, etc. Kind of like being at work...everyone does there job. If someone sat around and did nothing would that be fair?

And of course we knew that our dad grew up on a farm with a father that was less than helpful at times. From a young age he was the one out in the fields plowing, weeding, watering, etc. At least we didn't have to do that! We had it easy! A kitchen, a bathroom, laundry (inside with a washer and dryer), vacuuming and dusting were really not that hard.

So we have our first child and start teaching him to do chores. He did little things until the age of 9 or 10, then he was given big chores. Big, like washing dishes. Big, like learning to help mow or edge the lawn. Big, like cleaning one of the bathrooms. Big, like keeping his room clean.
And as he hit teenage years we started having problems. Now, its not like these chores were done cheerfully or well. We had to stay on him and keep teaching. Every time. It wasn't fun. It would have been much easier to just do it myself.

Anyways, back to having problems. Bones friends did not do chores. ALL of them. No chores. Now, my son is attracted to "strays" (gets it from his mom) so all these friends were the products of broken homes and had moms that were working long hours, more often than not 2 jobs, and had strange schedules. Now throw visitation in there - assuming the ex even gave a hoot and wanted to see the kids. So mom is tired. I understand that. I'm sure when you are that beat down you really don't want to spend your time with your kids making them do chores...and re-do chores when they aren't done right.

So we had many a fight with our teenager over chores. It wasn't fun. NOBODY else does them! And then I would point out that NOBODY else will be able to take care of themselves or even go to college because they can't even be bothered to do are they going to make it through school???

So my son moved out and lives at college. He can do his own laundry. He is capable of cleaning every room in his apartment (I haven't gone in there so I don't know that he does - I'm thinking not). He can cook like you wouldn't believe. And do you know the kinds of things that went into that apartment with him? A rice cooker. A crockpot. A George Forman Grill. Dishes. Pots and pans. He was set. And he knows how to use every one of those things.

His friends? Well, one has gone to college and is still living at home while he does so. He works and is doing well. ALL THE OTHERS? Still live at home, work fast food and are pretty much exactly what we said they would be. AND ITS A WASTE. They are good kids. But no one taught them how to work, or why they should. Mom's were over-worked and dad's weren't dads.

And we have a candidate that is going to tax the workers to help support these people now? Good political lesson for my son - except I can't get the bonehead to register to vote and give a hoot. There is my big FAIL as a parent. JUST VOTE kid! I don't care for who! But his buds that are going they are voting...and know who they'd vote for.

How did this turn political? Moving on....

So now I have another teen and we are repeating the pattern. Lots of strays and then some friends that are second marriage or late in life babies that are very well taken care of. Mostly, no chores. And our daughter is MUCH WORSE about doing chores correctly, dragging her feet and being a big brat about the whole thing. But, so be it. I hate it, but it is necessary. She needs to be able to take care of herself and her home. Whether she actually does it or not is not my focus...its that she is able. Because she HAS been taught. And teaching is my job. What she does with the teaching is hers.

So I encourage those that haven't started teaching chores to consider it. It effects a lot more than just your house. It gives skills and confidence. It actually helps teach work ethic. It is worth the extra gray hair. And it teaches that mom is not a doormat to wipe your feet on -- she's someone to help out or work along side. You are teaching your sons respect for his future partner. You are teaching your daughters how to bless their families.

God bless the mother's that teach their children the daily chores of life. God bless the father's that teach their son's to work in the yard, carve a turkey and work on cars (even if that means teaching how often to take the car for an oil change and how to change a tire and check pressure only). And for all of you that haven't hit the teenage years yet, BE PREPARED. The world is working against you.


  1. Amen! I teach my kids that part of being a family is working together to keep the household running smoothly. Even Cakes has her own little chores, though she's easily distracted and never finishes. But the important thing is that she's learning!

  2. yeah, what heather said!

    My kids feed animals, unload dishwashers, dryers, fold clothing, clean their rooms, do litterboxes, mow, and lots more! I want them to know how much work goes into a household. They see us doing just as much too with cooking, laundry, vacuuming, etc.


  3. Yes, mine do. Little M - 4 - is good at getting her room picked up when I ask (note: I did not say keeping it picked up!) and Baby J will push the mini-vac around which actually helps. They do a few others things and it actually does help out some. I'm not very good at housework, so maybe I can train them, then lay back and enjoy. Well, one can dream...