Have you ever seen a mother of grown children running around like a chicken with her head cut off? The one that does everything for them but bathe them? If these first two sentences have annoyed you, you might be a guilty “mother-maid”. A mom’s job is to teach and nurture her child however, she must also teach them how to do for themselves. Removing responsibility from your child’s grasp is disabling them for life. They will tend to think that one, their mom will always save them and two, others are for their hire. They will never know the meaning of the burden of responsibility. You are not here to serve your child, nor they you but rather to equip them. All must work together to contribute to the success of the family.
Your child is never too young to start with a chore. For example, making their bed and picking up toys as soon as they are able to mess it up, is a good place to begin. Not only is this teaching them to be conscientious but also how to value and take pride in their environment. As they get older the obvious progression would be to washing dishes, sweep and moping the floors, taking out the garbage or for those who have yards, to have your child cut the grass. From your child’s point of view, they would probably consider this child labor, but it’s ok, they’ll get over it.
Another great idea for families of mixed gender siblings is to have them alternate the chores so that they each have a chance to do them all. Nothing is worse then a little boy saying that cleaning the house is “woman’s work”. It should be stressed that the pristine environment that your son has grown accustomed to is not because of his mother or sister. It is not a woman’s duty to keep the house together, but rather the responsibility of everyone living in the home.
Allowing your child to have a pet is also another way to make them accountable. Basically, if you can take care of a pet, you can take care of a child. There are many lessons to learn from caring for an animal: how to be gentle, how to be kind, how to be delicate, being empathetic, how to listen (when the pet is in need). These are great starters especially for smaller children.
In case you’ve missed our common theme over the past few weeks, parenthood is about molding your child to be a self sufficient, successful adult. Who they are later is who you allow them to be now.
Written by: Joyanne Lawrence, Staff Writer, Modern Domestic