Why Won't My Kids Do Their Chores?
© by Jennifer McLeod writing as jenjen0703, all rights reserved.
A Little R&R
Chillaxin' After Work
..."Today has been such a long day. Eight hours on my feet at work, at least a hundred trips up and down the stairs at work, and I still have at least three hours of homework to do when I get home, as well as dinner to cook. It's alright, because it's summer break, and the kids have been home all day, so I'm sure their chores are done. Hopefully my workload will be minimal when I return home."
As parents, how many of us have thought these same words, made the same wish, or had the same hopes? Our wonderful children, who mind us so well, who do not give us any troubles, will be angels all day while we are at work.
Then, I arrive home, and reality sets in like a head-on collision as soon as I walk through the door. Not only was the house not picked up according to the chore list I left my kids that morning, but it was messier than it was when I left for work. Why is it so difficult for my children to complete their chores?
After seeing the appearance of the living room, I venture through the house to the dining room, as a football and remote control car become weapons meant for me to trip and fall over. Alright, now I have made it to the kitchen. Oh my gosh, it looks like a bomb went off! Where are the kids and what are they doing? I follow a trail to the kids' room, and there they are, right where I left them nine hours ago, playing video games.
At this point, I am ready to pull my hair out of my head. But, I love my long, blonde hair, so instead, I choose to shut the power off on my children in the middle of whatever they are doing. I do not care about "save points" or "I need to finish my mission!" It has officially become a "you are grounded from all electronics" type of day. Of course, the kids are now mad at me, too, as they have to surrender their video game controllers for an indefinite confiscation.
So much for "chillaxing" when I return home from work...
Getting Out of Doing Chores
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I have news for you: raising children today is not what it was like in generations prior to ours. What happened to the belief that is spoken in the Bible, "Spare the rod, spoil the child." But, what is the "rod?" In literal terms, I believe the word "rod" would imply a pole of some type, or it could be a wooden stick used for the whippings or beatings of others.
So, does this mean we are supposed to beat our children with "rods" to make them listen to us? No, that is not what it means. RULE OF THUMB, if you beat your children with rods, you could have your child taken away by Child Protective Services. I believe the word "rod" is used in a metaphorical manner, meaning it represents something else. The "rod" is the discipline a parent uses to raise and train their children. I am not opposed to spanking a child, but the manner in which you approach that child and deal with him or her will make a difference in the outcome of the spanking for the child. In my home, stealing and lying are automatic spankings. I have told my children that since they were toddlers. I do not beat my children with rods, and honestly, I cannot tell you the last time I have had to spank one of my children, maybe four months ago? (If anyone knew my youngest son, four months without a spanking is impressive, as he suffers from ADHD and ODD and is a handful to manage).
Another way to look at the word "rod" could mean the consistency parents need to use with their kids. Some parents spend so much time yelling at their children every day for the same thing, instead of handling the situation. A confrontation with a teenager can intimidate some parents. My step-son is now about 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds. Spanking him was impossible by the time he reached 11 years old, but by this age, children shouldn't be getting spanked much anymore.
Accountability and Consistency
I think the best ways to manage children, now, are through holding them accountable for their actions and being consistent with the methods you use to discipline them. Accountability is not a value many children and teenagers hold today, but they need to. Life as an adult is no fun if you lie your way through life. Being consistent in discipline is important. Children should not be able to "get away" with things at certain times and punished for them at other times.
How did I cure the summer chore problem? It took about a week to get the kids' full cooperation, because they were still mad at me for grounding them. For example, this summer I taught my 9-year old how to wash dishes and stack them neatly in the dish drainer. Initially, he thought he could rinse the dishes in soapy water without washing them and put them into the dish drainer to dry. I was mean, I will admit it. When he was almost done with the dishes, I decided to check them. So many of them were still dirty. How did I handle it? I dumped all the dishes back into the dishwater and told him to start over. I have only had to do that with him twice, as he learned quickly that he could be washing dishes in a short amount of time, or he could wash dishes all day long. The bottom line is IT WAS HIS CHOICE.
Another rule in the our home in the summertime is that the kids cannot play video games until their chores are completed. It is like a miracle day to hear my 10-year old ask me what his chores are for the day, 20 minutes after he wakes up (he has to eat as soon as he crawls out of bed). The first time he did it, I pinched myself to see if I was really awake. But, surprisingly, he maintained this behavior all summer.
Alternative Discipline Method
Consider this idea the next time your child or teenager is in trouble and you decide to ground him or her. This idea only works if the children involved are close to each other in age. Take away your child's favorite "toy" and give it to a sibling to enjoy during the grounding period. You may find out that your child will stop getting into trouble. It is one thing to ground a child, but to give his or her siblings their property to use? This is unthinkable to most children, so I consider this discipline method twice as effective than grounding them alone.
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