In this day and age, it does seem like kids don’t have as much responsibility as they once had when the older generations were growing up. While there are still exceptions to this, it is quite concerning for a number of reasons.
Parenting doesn’t come with any kind of instructions and for some, it can be a lot more to handle than expected. While most parents are just doing the best they can, there are some areas we all need to be aware of so that improvements can be made. That in itself is the area of responsibility. You’re not ruining your children’s childhoods by giving them responsibilities to manage, keep that in mind as you move through this article.
Instead of making our kids get outside and mow the grass once every few weeks, we’re letting them sit inside and waste away on their cell phones and tablets. We’re allowing them far too much screen time and depending on the household, not enough chores. When I was growing up I didn’t have a ton of chores but I did have responsibilities to take care of and those things I took very seriously.
While I didn’t want to clean my room once a week, I did it because my mother made me do it and on a daily basis I took care of our dogs and helped with the dishes. This might not sound like a lot to those who grew up with chores but some kids in this day and age would be mind-blown if asked to do something as small as those things.
Being a child and from a younger age being given responsibilities teaches you that you have to work in life and that things are not just handed to you. It helps you to feel more grown-up and gives you a sense of purpose in more ways than most tend to realize. When we take out many of things that can enrich our children’s lives and allow them to merely sit by a screen all the time, we are holding them back perhaps without even realizing it. This also instills a sense of entitlement, and they never truly learn to do for themselves instead, expecting others to do it for them.
That’s a problem. For starters, chores are good for kids. Being a part of the routine work of running a household helps children develop an awareness of the needs of others, while at the same time contributing to their emotional well-being. Children who consider themselves necessary to the family are less likely to feel adrift in a world where everyone wants to feel needed.
One small longitudinal study, done over a period of 25 years, found that the best predictor for young adults’ success in their mid-20s was whether they participated in household tasks at age 3 or 4. Those early shared responsibilities extended to a sense of responsibility in other areas of their lives.
I don’t want to make too much of a small study, and there’s really no need. All that the research in this area does is confirm what we already know.
Children who help more at home feel a larger sense of obligation and connectedness to their parents, and that connection helps them weather life’s stressful moments — in other words, it helps them be happier. Their help, even when it’s less than gracious, helps their parents be happier, too.
But for all that their help matters, to us and to them, few kids are doing much around the house at all. In a survey of 1,001 American adults, 75 percent said they believed regular chores made kids “more responsible” and 63 percent said chores teach kids “important life lessons.” Yet while 82 percent reported having had regular chores growing up, only 56 percent of those with children said they required them to do chores.
We believe in chores. We talk a good game. But when we look honestly at who’s doing what in our kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms, many of us (including me) struggle to do what it takes to get kids to help at home.
While as parents we will have to repeat ourselves over and over to get our children to follow through with their chores and that not all will be willing to dive into them as readily as we would like for them to be but making sure they do their chores is good for their overall wellbeing as they grow in this world. While the whole concept might be hard for some to grasp the sooner you start making your kids be responsible within reason. Spending too much time on social media has been proven to be detrimental to our children especially regarding their mental health.
Kids should be doing chores more and pushed to get away from the screens and really find other ways to play. As parents, we need to be proactive in our children’s lives. The more disconnected you are from your kids the worse off they’re going to end up feeling, kids need their parents’ guidance and you need to be sure you’re guiding them well.
Image by Eric Leslie (Creative Commons) Via Flickr