should kids be held accountable for doing chores around the house
Debate Rounds (3)
I started realizing how entitled my children were becoming when my middle daughter, age 5, would berate ME for forgetting to pack HER library book for school! I had obviously taught her that packing her belongings was my job and not hers. My oldest son, age 7, would lie on the couch watching TV and ask me to pass him the remote control! I knew something had to change.
So here are my top 5 reasons our children should help out around the house:
1. Helping at home teaches children important life skills (such as doing laundry, cooking and cleaning).
2. Children who pitch in around the house become better team players, co-workers, and eventually life partners. (Thank goodness my husband grew up doing chores as he now shares the housework with me.)
3. Kids actually love to help out, as it empowers them and bolsters their self-esteem. They take pride in feeling needed and important within the family.
4. Enabling kids to do things for themselves (such as pack their own knapsack for school) fosters personal responsibility and independence.
5. When your children help out, it reduces Mommy"s work load of tedious tasks, and frees up more time for families to do the fun stuff!
HI.kitten forfeited this round.
Parents don"t always promote accountability, and that"s where the flaw is.
Another factor that has to be acknowledged is that kids love stimulation. And the fact is that most responsibilities are not stimulating"they"re boring and time consuming. Let"s face it: if work was fun, you"d have to pay your employer. So, kids seek excitement and gravitate away from boring things like, "Clean your room. Make your bed. Put your books away. Do your homework." These are not things that stimulate people. These are things that stifle them, and as we all know, kids do not like that feeling. And by the way, it takes a lot of discipline and maturity to learn how to manage those mood states and stay on task.
Do parents simply forget to teach responsibility? Every parent I"ve ever met, no matter what other qualities they had, knew enough to tell their kids to wash and get dressed, that it was time to go to school or clean their room. But it"s not about saying the words; it"s about how parents react when their child doesn"t wash or go to school or clean his room. In other words, parents don"t always promote accountability, and that"s where the flaw is. You have to hold kids accountable for not meeting their responsibilities. Being held accountable requires that the parent make the consequence for not meeting the responsibility less pleasant than if the child had completed the task in the first place. And that act of being held accountable promotes a willingness to meet the responsibilities next time.
Many parents either don"t hold their kids accountable or don"t follow through on the consequences once they set them. I have to say that that just promotes more irresponsibility. Once again, the child learns that his excuses and lies and justifications work for him in his effort not to take responsibility for himself or his behavior. He also learns that things don"t have to be earned, and that society, as represented by his parents, doesn"t follow through. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Despite the lack of accountability kids see rock stars, politicians or actors as having, for most of us, our nose is kept to the grindstone, both inside and outside of work.
So it"s vital to teach kids how to be responsible and follow through, and if they don"t, hold them accountable. But how can you do it effectively?
6 Ways to Teach Responsibility Today
Start as early as possible: As early as you can in your child"s life, start having them take responsibility for the things with which they"re involved. For instance, have your child pick up his toys before he goes to bed. Now, if he has a hard time concentrating on that because he"s young, get down on the floor and pick them up with him. But don"t do it for him. Even if you do "I"ll do one then you do one," he learns to take care of his responsibilities. I also think you should give kids mild alarm clocks early in life. This helps them learn the responsibility of setting the clock at night and then getting up and shutting it off. What you"re doing is teaching them from a young age that they"re an individual and that they have their own individual responsibilities.
Identify responsibilities and use responsible language: When your child completes a task, tell them, "Nice way to follow through on your responsibility." "I like the way you took care of that responsibility." "You know, it"s your responsibility to do that and I like that you did it." Use language like that. Say, "You know, I"m rewarding you because you met your responsibility." In other words, the more you identify it, the more conscious your child becomes of it. I think it"s important for them to understand they"re getting rewarded for completing their responsibility, not for being cute, loveable or chummy. The earlier you connect the reward to the responsibility, the more clearly that becomes associated in your child"s mind.
The Power of Example: It"s important as a parent to meet your own responsibilities on a consistent basis, and to label it when you do. So you can say, "My responsibility is to go to work and I"m doing it today." If your child asks, "Where are you going, Mommy?" Say, "I"m going to work. That"s my responsibility." Or if they ask, "Where are you going, Dad?" Say, "I"m going grocery shopping. That"s my responsibility." The idea is that you"re modeling the right behavior. You"re a prime example. As a parent, when you tell your child you"re going to do something, it becomes your responsibility to do it. So, don"t make promises you can"t keep. Be a prime example to your child when meeting responsibilities and be sure to use that language.
Teach and Coach Responsibility: I think it"s important to sit down and explain to children what responsibility means. Responsibilities are like commitments or promises"they"re the things you have to do, the things that are your job, and the things you"re involved in, where other people are depending on you. So if you play with your toys, it"s your responsibility to put them away. Or with an older child, you can say "If you make a sandwich for yourself, it"s your responsibility to put the dishes in the dishwasher."
Coach your child into meeting their responsibilities. I think it"s very important that kids be coached and not just lectured to. A coach doesn"t just go out and shoot the basketball shots for you. During the course of the game he says, "Great shot. Good shot. No, you gotta try harder. Do it this way." And he coaches instead of criticizes. In the same way, I think it"s important to coach kids about their responsibilities.
By the way, criticism has a place in life. But in this situation with kids, it only makes them defensive when you start to scold them about something that didn"t get done right.
Accountability: Responsibility should be associated with both rewards and consequences. "This is your reward for doing your schoolwork and homework." "This is your reward for keeping your room neat all day." "You"re getting this reward because you cleaned the car." And by the same token, "This is the consequence for not finishing your homework." "This is the consequence for not doing your chores this morning." "You"re getting this consequence because you didn"t clean your room."
It"s sometimes helpful for parents to sit with their kids and draw up a list of consequences. How can you hold kids accountable? What do you have? You can withhold things like electronics. You can assign extra chores or extra work. You can give them task-oriented consequences. Associate a task with the time that the consequence is in play. And at the same time, come up with a list of rewards. We call this a "rewards menu." Ask them, "What do they like to do?" This shouldn"t only involve spending money or buying things. Does your child like to take walks? Do they like to go to the park? Do they like to go down by the river or the ocean? Do they like to play catch? Do they like to swing? It"s fine to say to your child, "You know, you did really well today. I"m going to take you down and swing you in the swings." And that"s the reward. Rewards don"t have to be expensive"you just have to use your imagination. For older kids, you can go hiking, go downtown, go by the river, go to the park. That is why they shouldn't.
HI.kitten forfeited this round.
andrewz61 forfeited this round.
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