I’m Not ‘Lucky’ My Daughter Does Chores — I Raised Her That Way

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I started my daughter off easy, with small chores like emptying the guest bathroom trash. Little things that she was excited to help with (and things her younger siblings are starting to do now). Eventually she graduated to more complex chores like drying, and then washing the dishes, and I have her take the trash out every evening.

I think people forget that 100 years ago kids were working in factories. Obviously I’m not calling those times “the good old days,” but children are way more capable than many parents give them credit for. When I was my oldest daughter’s age, I knew how to work the stove. I knew this because someone took the time to show me, instead of doing it for me and treating me like a invalid (or a little empress).

I’m not saying it’s always easy. My oldest child is a tween. She resists all the time, but there are consequences to that (no video games, earlier bed time, no friends over after school, etc.) Yeah, sometimes it would be easier to just do the work myself. But what lesson would that be instilling in my kids?

The most important factor is limits. Well, that and I’m not offering beyond a candy bar or three when needed. Seriously though, kids need structure and limitations. Your toddler shouldn’t be running amok in a restaurant (unless you want to get the stink eye of doom from your fellow patrons), and your tween shouldn’t be sitting on their butts watching “Dragon Ball Z” while you clean up the mounds of garbage around them.

My dad always told me that he wanted me to feel deserving, not entitled, and that’s what I want for my kids. I want to teach them the value of things (both physical and not physical), just as my father did with me. Giving my kids chores to do around the house is part of that goal. We’re all in this together.

There is an episode of the television show “Roseanne” where she is discussing how she is raising her kids compared to how she was raised. She said something that stays with me to this day:

“I always felt that it was our responsibility as parents to improve the lives of our children by 50 percent over our own. And we did. We didn’t hit our children as we were hit, we didn’t demand their unquestioning silence, and we didn’t teach our daughters to sacrifice more than our sons.”

tumblr_mf38vx8jYs1qktg83I think this hits the nail on the head. The way I see it, my job isn’t to keep my kids constantly entertained. My job as a parent is to mold them into competent adults and good people. They need to contribute to society, and that means a sense of responsibility. My ultimate goal as a mother is to raise three little people who will make the world just a little bit better by being in it.

And that starts with washing the dishes and taking out the trash.

(photo: drjeeeol)

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