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Chores and future resentment?


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This morning I started wondering if my son's chores might cause long term damage.

 

Do you think having your children do chores will cause resentment in their adult life?

 

When I was a child I had to do the dishes after dinner by hand. I hated it. It started when I was 9 and went on until I moved at around 14 (long story). As an adult, I absolutely hated doing dishes. So much so that it took me a week to wash the ones my family used. I knew it was gross, but hated doing them. After 15 years, we finally got a house with a dishwasher and now I don't mind putting the dishes in there it at all.

 

When my husband was a child, he had to do his own laundry. To this day, he has never done the laundry in our house. He lets his clothes pile up until I do it. This goes with mowing the lawn too.

 

I could come up with more examples from other people I know.

 

Now I have a friend that never had to do chores. They were taught how to the necessary tasks, but it wasn't a daily mandatory activity. As adults, they don't mind any household chores.

 

Is this coincidence?

 

All the professional child-rearing advice tells the benefits of chores, but really, does teaching the children how to do something and then requiring them to do it daily necessary? Does it create unconscious long term resentment? Couldn't they just learn how and then do it occasionally?

 

Any thoughts?

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Wow, interesting post.

 

I know one of my weekly chores as a kid was dusting the whole house. To this day, I loathe dusting. So much so that I just hardly ever do it. In fact, so much so that my dh sometimes dusts. And he does NOT do housework. I keep my house fairly well, I like to think. I just really have a hard time with dusting.

 

But, I had other weekly chores, too. I had to clean the bathroom and vacuum the whole house. Those things don't bother me to do now at all.

 

But, now that I'm remembering...

 

Saturday was 'chore day' growing up. I spent a good portion of my day every. single. Saturday doing chores. My parents owned their own business, so Every Saturday we got up by 8, and I babysat my sisters and cleaned the house for hours while they went to work. I remember hating that. I was upset that so many of my friends looked forward to the weekend as a break from school, while I felt like I didn't look forward to it at all. In fact, when I moved out when I was 17, it took me a good long while to adjust my thinking to look forward to weekends like 'normal' people. :D

 

So, all that to say, I'm not sure. My kids have minimal chores. I've always just assumed that's a combination of baggage from my childhood mixed with feelings of 'I'm a stay at home mom, housework is part of *my job, and if I ask others to do it, I'm not doing my job well'. I think I have a lot of baggage. :D

 

I'll be interested to see what others say.

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Honestly, if an adult feels resentful for chores he or she had to do as a child, I would really doubt the maturity of the adult. In my world, all members of the family help the family and reap the benefits of the family. I've never understood the idea of children just reaping all of the benefits and adults doing all of the work.

 

I had chores growing up, and I don't resent doing any of the same things today. I began dusting my house when I was so short that I couldn't reach the top of my Dad's chest of drawers without a stool. I did this on my own accord.

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When I was a child, I had an extensive list of household chored that took roughly 2-3 hours per day, including daily cleaning of bathrooms, dishes, laundry, cleaning the dog poo up, and much more.

 

I hate doing all those things today. I struggle with cleaning the house. I also struggle with asking my dc to do chores or other things with me.

 

However, I don't think that I would like to do them more if I hadn't been required to do them as a child.;)

 

Chores in our home are not about teaching responsibility. Honestly, outside of farmwork or some other income producing or family sustaining activity, I don't know how regular chores teach responsibility. If you don't take the trash out, nothing hugely detrimental will happen.:tongue_smilie:

 

Chores have to be done by everyone in the house because it shouldn't fall on one person. Each dc has a few things they have to do, but mostly we just all pitch in when there is a job to do. For example, I needed an empty laundry basket yesterday to take our potluck dishes to Scouts, so I had my 11yo fold the clothes in the basket since I was making pies and the 8yo was loading the dishwasher.

 

So, in our home, chores are not to teach them how to do things for the future (how hard is housework really?) They aren't about teaching responsibility (because I don't think they do.) They are about Mom not being the maid so everyone pitches in to get it done.

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I had very few chores as a child. My mom did just about everything and didn't seem to mind. I don't know how she did it! I actually wish we had more responsibilities as kids because that was a hard lesson to learn once I was married and had my own home to maintain. I didn't know where to start!

 

I do remember helping my mom pick vegetables from our garden and staying up late to help her with the freezing. It was a lot of work but that was fun for me. I suppose if I had to wash dishes but my mom was in the kitchen with me I wouldn't have minded. I don't like doing dishes now but if someone is in the kitchen with me helping, I don't mind doing it. My 6 yo is responsible for unloading the dishwasher every morning. Most days she likes it. Her 3 yo sister does the silverware and they seem to have fun working together. Maybe working with someone is the key?

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My mother never made me clean house, do dishes, cook, or do my own laundry...and now 32 years into my marriage...I still dislike doing every one of those things. I wish I'd had early training in just doing them quickly, efficiently, and cheerfully.

 

My husband grew up on a farm...milk cows before breakfast, ride a tractor all summer, gather eggs from mean chickens, never get to sleep in, work cattle....and he is the hardest working man I know.

 

I believe in hard work. If the children of the household aren't helping out, then do they get a ride to baseball practice or to music lessons?

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I had chores as a child, but they were not individual ones, we did things as a group. Like everyone pitched in on Saturdays to clean the house, my parents would crank some tunes, it was a family thing. My brother and I had to hand-wash dishes for years, but we had to do it together and I still remember all the poking and horsing around.

 

My kids have chores, but I either have them do it together (bring in laundry, wash dishes) and I can hear them out there giggling and whatnot; or I do it with them, we have a clean-the-house day and listen to different stuff on the iPod and tease each other.

 

I don't love doing chores, but I'm not resentful about it either.

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Honestly, if an adult feels resentful for chores he or she had to do as a child, I would really doubt the maturity of the adult.

 

:leaving:

 

In my world, all members of the family help the family and reap the benefits of the family. I've never understood the idea of children just reaping all of the benefits and adults doing all of the work.

 

But we all have different 'worlds', don't we?

 

Growing up, my stepmother worked, oh, probably 20-30 hours a week at the business she owned with my dad. Never, NEVER more than 40 hours a week.

 

I cooked dinner for the family almost every night. All household chores were divided up between me and my sisters. My stepmother did not do housework. At. All. She would come home from work, eat the dinner I had made, then lay on the couch for hours and watch tv until bedtime. If she wanted so much as a glass of water, she would call one of us children to get it for her. I am not exaggerating. I imagine *that is why I struggle with giving my kids chores and/or have some resentment about chores as a child. Not because I'm imature; because I have baggage.

 

Don't most people have some sort of baggage attached to their childhood in some way or another? Does that make everyone immature? I tend to think not...

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This morning I started wondering if my son's chores might cause long term damage.

 

Do you think having your children do chores will cause resentment in their adult life?

 

When I was a child I had to do the dishes after dinner by hand. I hated it. It started when I was 9 and went on until I moved at around 14 (long story). As an adult, I absolutely hated doing dishes. So much so that it took me a week to wash the ones my family used. I knew it was gross, but hated doing them. After 15 years, we finally got a house with a dishwasher and now I don't mind putting the dishes in there it at all.

 

When my husband was a child, he had to do his own laundry. To this day, he has never done the laundry in our house. He lets his clothes pile up until I do it. This goes with mowing the lawn too.

 

I could come up with more examples from other people I know.

 

Now I have a friend that never had to do chores. They were taught how to the necessary tasks, but it wasn't a daily mandatory activity. As adults, they don't mind any household chores.

 

Is this coincidence?

 

All the professional child-rearing advice tells the benefits of chores, but really, does teaching the children how to do something and then requiring them to do it daily necessary? Does it create unconscious long term resentment? Couldn't they just learn how and then do it occasionally?

 

Any thoughts?

 

I was never assigned daily chores as a kid except for cleaning my room. I rarely did it, and my mom would get disgusted by it long before I would and would tidy it while I was at school.

 

I frequently asked how to cook, but was never taught. (I could microwave a mean bag of popcorn, though. :D ) I was asked to do things like weeding, dusting, vacuuming, etc. periodically, but I complained the whole time. School was considered my job, and taking care of the house was my mom's job.

 

Two weeks after I got married, I called my mom to ask her how to clean the toilet. I had no idea how to do it or what to use. My dh had no required chores when he was a kid, either, so our apartment was a disaster because we knew how to do *nothing*. I eventually taught myself how to cook, but daily household maintenance baffles me. I know *how* to do many things now in theory but have no idea how to accomplish them daily so they don't become overwhelming.

 

My dh is a full-time student and works part-time. I have two daycare kids and work from home. My kids have to have daily chores (as do me and my dh) or our house would completely fall apart. It is not as clean as I would like it, but it functions fairly well otherwise.

 

I think having daily or regular chores as a kid and learning to enjoy (or at least tolerate) work that I don't find particularly pleasant would have been really helpful for me, so I am trying to give my kids what I didn't have. I think chores can be dangerous (that's too strong a word, but I can't think of a better one) only if parents assign their kids a ton of chores so that they themselves can just sit around and entertain themselves. But if everyone in the family is working for the good of everyone else, I think regluar chores are very beneficial. They don't have to be the same chores day after day. I think rotating is fine (our kids rotate chores weekly) and allows the child to learn various skills. A chore chart of some kind isn't even necessary; just having a child do something when asked is great, but I think it is important that he be asked regularly to help out.

 

HTH

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You'd be surprised! I've met people who were astonished that when sweeping the kitchen floor, I push the broom all the way to the underneath of the cabinets/the shoe moulding and not just keep the broom in the center of the floor.

 

Well, I guess it seems easy to me because I was raised by a perfectionist who required a spotless house at all times!:D

 

Maybe I will have to thank her for that.;)

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The things I enjoy the MOST today are the chores I did regularly as a kid. I remember my Mom talking about how much those things helped her (putting away clean dishes, washing silverware, organizing the pantry). I think the key here is that Mom voiced her approval and appreciation. I felt like a valuable contributing member of the family.

 

There are very few jobs I hate, but I wish I had been given more responsibility as a child. Now it is hard for me to sustain attention and work quickly. It is a huge effort to get things done like washing windows, mopping floors, and other less regular chores. I was allowed tons of time to read book after book as a kid and I'm so programmed to have "down time" that it's hard to break that mold and be mostly active all day.

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My mother never made me clean house, do dishes, cook, or do my own laundry...and now 32 years into my marriage...I still dislike doing every one of those things. I wish I'd had early training in just doing them quickly, efficiently, and cheerfully.

 

My husband grew up on a farm...milk cows before breakfast, ride a tractor all summer, gather eggs from mean chickens, never get to sleep in, work cattle....and he is the hardest working man I know.

 

I believe in hard work. If the children of the household aren't helping out, then do they get a ride to baseball practice or to music lessons?

 

That was me too. I never had to do anything as a child. My mom would rather do it herself than teach. I never really learned how to cook either. And I hate housework, my dh "trained" me how to clean.

 

My dh is naturally neat and had to learn to clean as a child, mom was widowed and worked full time. He and his two older sisters did all the housework.

 

Ds does chores, he doesn't like them, but he does them. He is not overburdened, it takes about an hour on Saturday and helping throughout the week. I really hope he doesn't become resentful because we're teaching him how to maintain a household. I think it is best taught by doing, not just watching, because I sure didn't learn that way.

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My mother never made me clean house, do dishes, cook, or do my own laundry...and now 32 years into my marriage...I still dislike doing every one of those things. I wish I'd had early training in just doing them quickly, efficiently, and cheerfully.

 

My husband grew up on a farm...milk cows before breakfast, ride a tractor all summer, gather eggs from mean chickens, never get to sleep in, work cattle....and he is the hardest working man I know.

 

I believe in hard work. If the children of the household aren't helping out, then do they get a ride to baseball practice or to music lessons?

 

I envy your dh.:D When we had our farm (or mini-farm or whatever) my dc had a very different outlook on life. They struggle with working now because they have so little REAL responsibility! My 16yo, OTOH, who spent his "formative" years working hard is a very hard worker according to people he has done work for. He'll dig ditches or do other nasty jobs and he does a good job. One of my big regrets is that we don't have that for my other children.

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From the example posted, I thought we were discussing normal chores -- not childhood enslavement. The OP mentioned washing dishes, not raising parents.

 

It's like starting a thread asking if requiring children to learn to read, write and do math cause them to be resentful toward reading, writing and learning later in life.

 

My mom had a hard life. Her mom died of cancer when she was 12. Her dad became an alcoholic. Her youngest sister and niece became polio victims, handicapped forever. She was practically raised by her elder sister. She worked on a farm after school to help bring home money for her family. She had to help out around the house a lot. I've never seen a hint of resentment from either my aunt or my mom, and they're two of the hardest working women I've ever seen. I think children who have one thing to do and then resent it the rest of their lives are showing signs of too cushy a life. I want my children to grow up to be thankful that they had a home in which to help out, a family to help and to remember that they never went hungry, etc.

 

:leaving:

 

 

 

But we all have different 'worlds', don't we?

 

Growing up, my stepmother worked, oh, probably 20-30 hours a week at the business she owned with my dad. Never, NEVER more than 40 hours a week.

 

I cooked dinner for the family almost every night. All household chores were divided up between me and my sisters. My stepmother did not do housework. At. All. She would come home from work, eat the dinner I had made, then lay on the couch for hours and watch tv until bedtime. If she wanted so much as a glass of water, she would call one of us children to get it for her. I am not exaggerating. I imagine *that is why I struggle with giving my kids chores and/or have some resentment about chores as a child. Not because I'm imature; because I have baggage.

 

Don't most people have some sort of baggage attached to their childhood in some way or another? Does that make everyone immature? I tend to think not...

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Well, I guess it seems easy to me because I was raised by a perfectionist who required a spotless house at all times!:D

 

Maybe I will have to thank her for that.;)

 

I was never specifically taught how to clean anything either, but I too am a perfectionist. I just figured, like you, that cleaning isn't hard, but I've since learned that some people do struggle with it. I don't understand it, but I've seen it with my own eyes.

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:leaving:

 

 

 

But we all have different 'worlds', don't we?

 

Growing up, my stepmother worked, oh, probably 20-30 hours a week at the business she owned with my dad. Never, NEVER more than 40 hours a week.

 

I cooked dinner for the family almost every night. All household chores were divided up between me and my sisters. My stepmother did not do housework. At. All. She would come home from work, eat the dinner I had made, then lay on the couch for hours and watch tv until bedtime. If she wanted so much as a glass of water, she would call one of us children to get it for her. I am not exaggerating. I imagine *that is why I struggle with giving my kids chores and/or have some resentment about chores as a child. Not because I'm imature; because I have baggage.

 

Don't most people have some sort of baggage attached to their childhood in some way or another? Does that make everyone immature? I tend to think not...

 

This was how our house worked, too. I didn't cook dinner, but I didn't have any close in age siblings to help with the housework, either. It isn't about immaturity and it is probably hard for someone who didn't have that kind of childhood to understand how hard it is to overcome that.

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I was never specifically taught how to clean anything either, but I too am a perfectionist. I just figured, like you, that cleaning isn't hard, but I've since learned that some people do struggle with it. I don't understand it, but I've seen it with my own eyes.

 

I was also raised by a perfectionist, thus why she never taught me how to clean anything. I guess she thought I'd mess it up. :D

 

I am also a perfectionist, but housework totally baffles me. My house tends to be messy because if I can't clean the house perfectly, I just don't start. Adding kids to the mix just made things more difficult... they make more mess, interrupt cleaning and projects, and need to be trained (very difficult when I don't know what I am doing, myself).

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From the example posted, I thought we were discussing normal chores -- not childhood enslavement. The OP mentioned washing dishes, not raising parents.

 

It's like starting a thread asking if requiring children to learn to read, write and do math cause them to be resentful toward reading, writing and learning later in life.

 

My mom had a hard life. Her mom died of cancer when she was 12. Her dad became an alcoholic. Her youngest sister and niece became polio victims, handicapped forever. She was practically raised by her elder sister. She worked on a farm after school to help bring home money for her family. She had to help out around the house a lot. I've never seen a hint of resentment from either my aunt or my mom, and they're two of the hardest working women I've ever seen. I think children who have one thing to do and then resent it the rest of their lives are showing signs of too cushy a life. I want my children to grow up to be thankful that they had a home in which to help out, a family to help and to remember that they never went hungry, etc.

 

Having a purpose for things makes a big difference in how it is perceived later in life. Your mother's life was hard and she had to work hard, but she wasn't working hard while the other people in the home were laying around snapping their fingers, KWIM?

 

I could have my dc do everything around here - the 11, 8, 7, and 5yo's could handle all the housework. There would be no purpose to that other than to allow me to lay around all day.:tongue_smilie: When we had the farm, however, it wasn't a big deal because they knew that it took all of us and that there was a real purpose to the work.

 

My 11yo would work afterschool on a farm (or anywhere else for that matter) to earn money for the family if he could and not resent it. That's because he knows that life is tough right now and his Daddy is working 10-11 hour days already. If we made him work and took his money even though we didn't need to, he would be justifiably resentful.

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I think it is not so much whether or not we had chores as kids but rather the balance of things in the family as a whole. Like a few pp I took care of 90% of the household work starting at age 9, I also was to make sure teh coffee was ready for my parents before they got up(which is how I ended up with a coffee pot exploding in my hand at age 8 and have scars all over from it). From age 9 in addition to all the chores I also had a huge responsibilty caring for my siblings, and then started working daily everyday after school at age 11, first as a volunteer then into a paid position at 15. After work I would come home and do the housework then my homework. I never got to join extracurrics and while my parents took my siblings to their sports etc I did more housework.

 

To this day I absolutely despise all housework. I do it because I have to but I put it off too much for the most part. I am trying hard to overcome that mind set as it is related to baggage from my childhood not the chores themselves. Up until recently I never asked my kids to do chores beyond little things, like taking the trash out to the alley. I do think kids learning that everyone in a family pitches in to work together in a family is important, but it is up to the parents to ensure they are not foisting their own responsibilites onto the child, that is where the resentments come in.

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All the professional child-rearing advice tells the benefits of chores, but really, does teaching the children how to do something and then requiring them to do it daily necessary? Does it create unconscious long term resentment? Couldn't they just learn how and then do it occasionally?

 

 

I think it depends on how you view your children and their place in the family. I view my kids as integral parts in the functioning of our family unit. We all work together for the smooth flow of life. We also get to play together. I don't see it as I do all the work and they do all the play. I wasn't raised with that idea, either. I helped my parents and, even if I didn't always enjoy doing chores, I appreciated the feeling that I was necessary and helpful.

 

Tara

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I envy your dh.:D When we had our farm (or mini-farm or whatever) my dc had a very different outlook on life. They struggle with working now because they have so little REAL responsibility! My 16yo, OTOH, who spent his "formative" years working hard is a very hard worker according to people he has done work for. He'll dig ditches or do other nasty jobs and he does a good job. One of my big regrets is that we don't have that for my other children.

 

I regret that for MY children, too! We moved to town so dh could fly big airplanes. Although my sons got to mow the lawn and unload the dishwasher, there simply wasn't a lot of hard, physical, challenging chores. I also was of the mind to live and let live a lot....and these days? My adult sons have a hard time finding and keeping jobs. It's sad. If I could go back in time, my sons would work much, much, much harder than they did.

 

Then, if they were resentful, so be it. I'm the one who's resentful these days.

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I haven't read the other replies, but I can't even imagine resenting being part of a family, helping out, being part of a team.

 

I learned how to be a parent. I learned to clean messes I hadn't made. I learned that some things just need doing regardless of whether you like it or not. I learned that many hands make for light work. I learned that one never HAS to be bored. I learned that when one person drops the ball others suffer for it.

 

No, I don't resent having had chores as a child.

 

I tell you what, I think I would resent NOT having had chores.

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I don't think normal things that are seen as keeping the family running. In fact, I do think they are beneficial because they are tangible evidence that the children do things that others actually value. I think it's a bit unusual for an adult to refuse to do things like clean up after him/herself by doing laundry or dishes or whatever. It is an important part of being able to take care of oneself, EVEN IF someone else normally does it for you.

 

However, I don't think chores should be used as punishment, or a conscious effort to upset children by picking nasty chores or things that they would find unusually difficult (giving a child with limited breathing capacity chores that involve many foul odors or something).

 

I started doing my own laundry when I was about 9. I wanted to do it; other people mixed all my colors together and put things I didn't want in the dryer, in the dryer. I still wash my own clothes in laundry machines most of the time; others don't usually wash my clothes. I will admit that when there is no machine, I rarely do my own clothes, and others have so far been willing or paid to help me.

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I loved reading these. Such wonderful and diverse replies!

So much honesty and a lot to think about.

 

Perhaps it just comes down to the 2 things then:

 

1. Personality of adult/child

2. Baggage caused by parents or Appreciation given by parents

 

Thanks so much!

I'll go tell him he has to do the recycling and put the trash out now. :D

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Honestly, if an adult feels resentful for chores he or she had to do as a child, I would really doubt the maturity of the adult. In my world, all members of the family help the family and reap the benefits of the family. I've never understood the idea of children just reaping all of the benefits and adults doing all of the work.

 

I had chores growing up, and I don't resent doing any of the same things today. I began dusting my house when I was so short that I couldn't reach the top of my Dad's chest of drawers without a stool. I did this on my own accord.

 

 

This is what I was thinking, that it is a sign of their maturity or lack thereof. Life is full of things we don't like to do, but we do them because they must be done. My kids have chores now and they will when they are adults. The difference is, as adults they can choose what days and hours they will do them, based on their schedule. For now, they are on my schedule. My kids are well aware that the world doesn't revolve around them or that they aren't the only people living in our house. We all do our part so we can all enjoy our home and each other.

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I can't imagine why on earth making your kids do chores would foster resentment. Teaching your kids that they don't have to contribute to the well-being of the family or take care of their own things--how will that make them happier, more productive adults? Giving kids the idea that one or two people are responsible for the maintenance of the entire home teaches disrespect--the idea that I can leave my dishes on the counter and someone else will take care of it, someone whose time matters less than mine.

 

I think you'll meet people from all different circumstances who respond to them in all different ways. Some kids who were forced to do all the housework grow up to be hard workers, others grow up hating housework. Some kids whose parents did everything grow up being willing to do everything, others grow up not being willing to do anything. The point isn't how my kids feel about what I'm asking them to do, the point is that they learn to do the right thing.

 

Cleaning up after yourself is the right thing to do. It teaches you to take care of your things and to respect the time and comfort of those you live with. Contributing to the maintenance of the home is the right thing to do. It gives you a sense of ownership and connectedness to the place you're caring for.

 

Resentment is a separate issue. I tend to think it is the result of abuse/being required to do more than is reasonable or ingratitude (or a perceived sense of injustice) when it comes to chores. Someone who is truly grateful for what they have and the people they live with isn't going to be resentful of taking a small amount of time to care for it/them in a normal family where no one is required to do an unreasonable share of the load.

 

Now, I know that everyone has chores that they hate doing, I think that is natural as we all have personal preferences. My mom ironed Catholic school uniforms for herself and her 7 siblings, and her dad's work shirts, every Saturday morning for years. She hates ironing. But I don't think she harbors anger over having to do it--her whole family contributed on Saturday mornings.

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I think that doing chores teaches a lot of things.

 

1. It teaches how to do those specific tasks by repetition of doing the task. This is enhanced if the person is actually taught how to do the task as well.

 

2. It teaches the concept of teamwork. We are all part of a family and we all contribute.

 

3. It teaches us to care for others. We don't wear all the clothes in the laundry pile but Dad is sure thankful for having clean socks and underwear!

 

4. I think it is one way to teach responsibility (although it isn't the only way). We own this house and we are responsible to maintain it.

 

5. You can build resentment in your heart toward a lot of things. I've told my dd8 (who has a bit of a Cinderella complex) that she can harbor resentment and I can't do anything about it. But I am asking her to do age appropriate things for short periods of time each day.

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:leaving:

 

 

 

But we all have different 'worlds', don't we?

 

Growing up, my stepmother worked, oh, probably 20-30 hours a week at the business she owned with my dad. Never, NEVER more than 40 hours a week.

 

I cooked dinner for the family almost every night. All household chores were divided up between me and my sisters. My stepmother did not do housework. At. All. She would come home from work, eat the dinner I had made, then lay on the couch for hours and watch tv until bedtime. If she wanted so much as a glass of water, she would call one of us children to get it for her. I am not exaggerating. I imagine *that is why I struggle with giving my kids chores and/or have some resentment about chores as a child. Not because I'm imature; because I have baggage.

 

Don't most people have some sort of baggage attached to their childhood in some way or another? Does that make everyone immature? I tend to think not...

 

Oh no!! Maybe I'm this Step-Mother. I was just thinking... I need to show evidence of working while my kids (and steps that we have half time) do "chores".

 

I had already stopped thinking of Christmas Break as a "Scrooge" Christmas... chores wise. To me... it's a "Let's get going on what's skipped all year".... And, of course, that's a scroogie.... though possibly cleaner and neater.. way of thinking.

 

So... We have to do the Laundry folding... That will take maybe 2 hrs.... and my Step 17 year old is great at that.... And our rooms and the hall upstairs.

 

Other than that... I spent yesterday straightening our front room..... for about 8 or so hours... maybe more... (It's the room with our bookshelves.... I think I have enough for a small school:-)

 

All these posts are making me think... Balance and helping. I want my children to know how to work.. and what to do.... But not resent me if possible.

 

This year... I'm going to have them pick fun ways to work... Pick Dinners to make.... Cookies to Bake... and to balance it... Clean all of our rooms together.

 

I was talking about the school teachers who need to take a sabbatical because their attitude needs adjusting!! I realized that it was me...

 

My goal is to have a Cheery Christmas this Year...

 

Carrie :D

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Again, these are great responses, as long as they refrain from becoming judgemental against people and stick to sharing personal experiences.

 

I can't believe any one would be judgmental against others on this issue to the point of name calling and accusations!

 

Sheesh!

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I agree with a few other posters--I think so much of it is in the attitude with which the parent assigns the chores. Dishes were my semi-regular chore growing up. They were just assigned to me. No one ever discussed with me about many hands making light work, everyone pitching in, we're a team, etc. My parents didn't teach me to do them or make the chore rewarding in any way (no real appreciation, etc.). When I didn't do them, I was yelled at (my mom was a yeller). I don't blame my parents, because they did what they knew. So yes, to this day, I loathe washing dishes.

 

I'm trying to do things differently with my girls. I'm a perfectionist, but I'm trying to let that go, and I'm trying to teach them that chores are part of our teamwork. I tell them when they've done a good job. I give them opportunities to help with the things they want to help with. I'm not doing it perfectly, and this thread has definitely given me some new ideas. But I can totally see where the "You'll do it because I said so" method of chore training might breed resentment.

 

And Bethany :grouphug: My mom and her siblings have the exact same issues with my grandmother. To this day, she treats them all like slaves (but in a very subtle, manipulative way--she acts dimwitted and helpless), and my mom can barely stand to be in the same room with her. Her other children have moved away. I know my mom struggled with not giving me chores because she didn't want to treat me like her mom treated them, but also wanting to give me chores as a part of normal family responsibility, but without really knowing how to do it. There's a middle ground, of course! But it takes a lot of soul searching to find it, I think.

Edited by melissel
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And Bethany :grouphug: My mom and her siblings have the exact same issues with my grandmother. To this day, she treats them all like slaves (but in a very subtle, manipulative way--she acts dimwitted and helpless), and my mom can barely stand to be in the same room with her. Her other children have moved away. I know my mom struggled with not giving me chores because she didn't want to treat me like her mom treated them, but also wanting to give me chores as a part of normal family responsibility, but without really knowing how to do it. There's a middle ground, of course! But it takes a lot of soul searching to find it, I think.

 

It is very hard for me to give my kids chores. In fact, about a year ago, my dsd asked me why she has no chores at our house. At their mother's, dsd and dss have a lot of chores (their mother was single her whole life until a few months ago when she got married for the first time; the kids HAD to have a lot of chores). Anyway, this gave me a good opportunity to talk with her about *my childhood, and my hang up with giving chores to the kids. Now she just looks for ways to help and does them. She always helps me clean up after dinner without my asking, and just this weekend she put away the dishes on her own. I think it's helped her become more observant of the world around her.

 

About six months ago, I gave Zee the chore of changing the bathroom towel every morning when he brushes his teeth. Silly, I know, but he does it gladly, and it has helped me a tiny bit with my fear of giving chores to the kids. Dss takes the trash out to the curb every Thursday, and takes it from inside to outside whenever it's full and dh or I ask him to. All the kids are expected to keep their rooms neat, or at the very least to clean up their rooms when I ask them to without complaining. Dss and dsd know how to vacuum, clean bathrooms, dust, and cook. But that's all thanks to their mom. I want my kids to know how to do chores, and to do them happily when asked. I guess sometimes I just feel stuck in how to implement that.

 

Does anyone have any books or other resources to help me figure out what is 'normal' to expect at different ages? It's just that I always felt there was too much expect of me as a kid, so I've swung too far in the other direction with my kids.

 

And just as a note, I don't hate chores now (except dusting; I just can't get on board with that for some reason). I actally enjoy cleaning; or at least the end result of keeping my home well.

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I had lots of chores growing up. I don't have problems with doing these same tasks now.

 

BUT.....when I was 9, my mom had to go back to work suddenly to support the family and I was "assigned" the chore of cooking dinner each night. She would leave written instructions and I would try to follow them. It was a disaster. And the worst part was that my family would sit around the dinner table each night critisizing the cooking - informing me of how terrible each part was. This went on until I was in high school and got a job so I was out of the house every evening.

 

Yeah - I know - dysfuntional family I'm sure. But I still hate cooking and to this day I am a lousy cook. But not because it was a "chore", but because of the negative feedback I recieved. Today, I give my kids chores, but I try not to couple it with negative experiences. If something isn't done quite right, we fix it together - no big deal.

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She was the oldest of 4 girls. #3 was wheelchair-bound and mentally disabled, so she was unable to help around the house. The girls did everything. I mean, everything. Their mother is severely bipolar and has never gotten help for it. She sat on the couch while her daughters did it all. The majority of the responsibility fell on my friend, as the oldest.

 

As an adult, my friend runs her home beautifully. It's almost always clean. She shows absolutely no resentment for her household "duties". Interestingly (and maybe understandably), though, she refuses to have her children do any chores other than have them pick up after themselves.

 

Me? I never had regular chores. We would clean as a family when things needed it. I do remember having to clean the kitchen, but have no lasting resentment of it. However, I'm a terrible housekeeper. Not sure what that means.

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BUT.....when I was 9, my mom had to go back to work suddenly to support the family and I was "assigned" the chore of cooking dinner each night. She would leave written instructions and I would try to follow them. It was a disaster. And the worst part was that my family would sit around the dinner table each night critisizing the cooking - informing me of how terrible each part was. This went on until I was in high school and got a job so I was out of the house every evening.

 

Oh my great goodness, how terrible for you! When you were NINE?! I can't even imagine...

 

:grouphug:

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Now she just looks for ways to help and does them. She always helps me clean up after dinner without my asking, and just this weekend she put away the dishes on her own. I think it's helped her become more observant of the world around her.

 

Well, that is just the sweetest thing, it made me tear up. It's so nice to hear about a step relationship that's not adversarial. And I think that's exactly the kind of thing that prevents the resentment we're talking about.

 

I want my kids to know how to do chores, and to do them happily when asked. I guess sometimes I just feel stuck in how to implement that.

 

I have the same problem for the opposite reason--because my parents didn't know how to make the work a positive thing, the chores they assigned me and the enforcement of them always became something negative. If my mom didn't do her chores growing up, she was screamed at and punished physically. So I either had no chores at all or I had surprise chores that I resented, didn't do, and got yelled at. I'm looking for the middle ground too. I think the key is in attitude and in calm, steadfast reinforcement. Unfortunately, calm and steadfast are not two of my strongest qualities, as you can probably imagine :lol:

 

This thread has been so helpful to me today. I've been contemplating this a lot lately myself, and I've been wanting to make a fun chore chart. I need to get back on that.

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I had lots of chores growing up. I don't have problems with doing these same tasks now.

 

BUT.....when I was 9, my mom had to go back to work suddenly to support the family and I was "assigned" the chore of cooking dinner each night. She would leave written instructions and I would try to follow them. It was a disaster. And the worst part was that my family would sit around the dinner table each night critisizing the cooking - informing me of how terrible each part was. This went on until I was in high school and got a job so I was out of the house every evening.

 

Yeah - I know - dysfuntional family I'm sure. But I still hate cooking and to this day I am a lousy cook. But not because it was a "chore", but because of the negative feedback I recieved. Today, I give my kids chores, but I try not to couple it with negative experiences. If something isn't done quite right, we fix it together - no big deal.

 

:( My heart breaks for your little nine-year-old self. What an awful thing to do to a child :grouphug:

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I think it depends on the family 'culture'. Are chores seen as part of helping each maintain a home, or are children used as free labor? There's a big difference.

 

In the end, few people love doing housework. One might enjoy a clean home, one might get great satisfaction from a job well done, but the actual doing is rather difficult at times. Adults who had basically decent parents who were just trying to get things done in a busy household by assigning chores might want to reconsider their resentment and/or the belief that their parents should have been perfect. Your own kids will have some of their own not-so-great memories, so it's better to cut good people (even if they are your mother) some slack for past parenting weaknesses.

Edited by LibraryLover
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:iagree::iagree:

 

 

Dd (12) has quite a few daily chores, which she does happily because she knows help is important in keeping our household running smoothly and our animals healthy and happy. Also, Dh, myself and my mom (who lives with us) are always quick and sincere in thanking her for her help and praising (but authentically, not superficially) her efforts. We all pitch in to get the work done; that's how communities function.

 

Most of her friends have few if any chores. Maybe it works for them, but we have a different philosophy, I guess.

 

astrid

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This morning I started wondering if my son's chores might cause long term damage.

 

Do you think having your children do chores will cause resentment in their adult life?

 

When I was a child I had to do the dishes after dinner by hand. I hated it. It started when I was 9 and went on until I moved at around 14 (long story). As an adult, I absolutely hated doing dishes. So much so that it took me a week to wash the ones my family used. I knew it was gross, but hated doing them. After 15 years, we finally got a house with a dishwasher and now I don't mind putting the dishes in there it at all.

 

When my husband was a child, he had to do his own laundry. To this day, he has never done the laundry in our house. He lets his clothes pile up until I do it. This goes with mowing the lawn too.

 

I could come up with more examples from other people I know.

 

Now I have a friend that never had to do chores. They were taught how to the necessary tasks, but it wasn't a daily mandatory activity. As adults, they don't mind any household chores.

 

Is this coincidence?

 

All the professional child-rearing advice tells the benefits of chores, but really, does teaching the children how to do something and then requiring them to do it daily necessary? Does it create unconscious long term resentment? Couldn't they just learn how and then do it occasionally?

 

Any thoughts?

 

I haven't read the other posts but I would have to say that the problem wasn't so much the doing dishes but the fact that they waited until you were 9yo to start making you do them. The ideal time to start having them do chores is when they are toddlers. Ideally, they should never remember a time when they were not expected to help out around the house. I can totally see a difference in attitude between my oldest three who weren't really assigned chores until the last year or two and my young ones who were toddlers/infants when we started chores. My oldest three will moan and groan and often have to be held accountable for their chores and attitudes. My little ones, now 3yo and 1yo, want to know what they can do to help. When my toddler sees us doing chores he starts yelling, "Help! Help!" He wants to be included and I allow him to be included.

 

I was never made to do chores growing up. I was shooed away and told to go play even when I showed an interest in helping. My mother even cleaned my room for me. When I got out on my own, I was clueless. No idea how to clean or cook. I am a bit resentful about that because it was embarrassing to admit as a adult that I didn't know how to do the simplest chores. Thankfully I found a couple of good friends who unassumingly helped me and taught me a lot. I'm still not a very good housekeeper but I can keep it reasonably clean now. No, I don't like doing them. I think my parent's thinking was that I would be successful enough in life to hire someone to do these things for me so I should concentrate on my schooling and not be bothered with such mundane tasks. :confused: Unfortunately, we can't afford to hire such help but I would gladly hire out some of it if we could. I can't see how anyone can know where or what a child will be doing as an adult, so better to over prepare them than under prepare them, I think.

 

I do think chores are necessary and healthy. A child who does not start them early is not going to do they as cheerfully as one who has always done them but they are life skills and necessary whether you like them or not.

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I'll add my 2 cents, not knowing how helpful it may or may not be.

 

My mother was a perfectionist. You could eat off the floors of our house if you chose to do so. I'm not sure she ever sat down,she had so much energy; clean, cook, bake, sew, iron, weed flowers, hoe garden, can produce, etc. etc.

 

When I was a child, I had to dust my own room. Mom would hide coins (dimes, nickels and quarters) around the room in places she thought needed the most dusting work. The 'easy' places to dust had the nickels, the 'medium' places to dust had the dimes and the 'difficult' places to dust had the quarters.

 

This kept us kids motivated to dust our rooms and it trained us where and how. I never felt resentment for dusting. As we got older, she did this in other rooms of the house (her bedroom, the living room, etc.) By the time we were teens, dusting each Saturday was the norm and we no longer needed the 'incentive' coins, and we knew how to do the job right.

 

We also cleared the table after supper, and were taught how to stack the dished properly in the sink. When we were older, we were taught to wash and dry the dishes, but we only had to do it once a week.

 

Same with bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, ironing, etc. Mom wanted us to know how to do it, but didn't believe it was our 'job', so we only did these chores maybe once a month or when Mom had to go somewhere and needed our help.

 

She firmly believed, and told us often, that school was our work, and reading, and just being a kid. She told us that we would be adults and have to do these things in our own homes soon enough, so she wanted us to just be kids while we could. I remember her spending the entire week on her feet canning garden produce, and sometimes we would help her, but then she would tell us to go read a book. She loved to see us sitting in a chair reading a book. We would feel guilty and ask if maybe we shouldn't help her?,but she would say to keep reading....soon enough we would have our own families and not have time for reading books.

 

She was right!

 

I don't feel resentment for any chore we had to do, EXCEPT for picking strawberries! We went to my uncle's farm every year to pick strawberries for Mom to can jell....and I hated strawberries! My reasoning said that since I didn't like them and didn't eat them, that I shouldn't have to pick them. I still feel that way. Mom, however, needed all hands and wouldn't excuse me from this one. So as an adult, I refuse to pick strawberries, LOL.

 

I'm following the same example Mom set with my own dc. So far, so good. I think. You never really know what your kids will do/say/think about any of your parenting decisions when they are older.

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I think it depends on the family 'culture'. Are chores seen as part of helping each maintain a home, or are children used as free labor? There's a big difference.

 

I think that this statement sums up a lot of issues that come up on this board.

 

As long as you're treating your children with love and respect (even small children need a form of respect), then a lot of the issues that come up could be resolved. Or if you had been treated with love and respect either now or in your past, then a lot of our adult issues would be resolved.

 

I come from a gentle, loving family and I married into one of the same. Everyone in the family is kind and loving to each other. So, the threads about evil mil's or hateful mothers seem so foreign to me. And I find myself wanting to give advice, but then realizing that saying, "I'm sure your mil doesn't mean to be mean. It must be a misunderstanding" is very naive. Just because my mil is sweet and would never knowingly be mean, doesn't mean that there aren't mean mil's out there.

 

Back to the OP: if my mother made me do chores, and I could sense bitterness in her toward me, or if she was just giving me chores to load me up with work while she lounged on the couch--yeah, I'd have issues!

 

But when my mother, who rarely raised her voice to me, made me do a chore, I knew that she needed my help, even though I'd have rather read a book. So I did the chores, but I don't hate them now or resent her.

 

It's most certainly the attitude and culture of the family that drives a lot of these issues and the advice we give each other.

 

Like when I asked for advice about my mil once--I'll never do THAT again! My mil is a sweetie and I wanted to know a gentle way to deal with her and lots of people posted that I would have to cut ties with her, or put her in her place, blah blah. They interpreted my question through their own experiences with mil's, which were negative. It was totally inappropriate for my sweetie-pie mil, who is also (honestly) my best friend.

 

You have to take all the opinions and advice with a big pinch of salt on the internet. We all come from very diverse backgrounds.

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I was never assigned ANY chores growing up (I was an only child, spoiled, and had an extremely lenient mom & dad). Yet there are things I loathe today now that I have my own family & house - laundry and handwashing dishes...which is odd because when I was little I remember LOVING handwashing dishes on the occasions mom let me do them. I think there are just some things we hate doing no matter what. I hate doing laundry so much that I would rather clean 10 filthy toilets if I had someone to do the laundry for me!!!

 

I did have an extremely HARD time making that transition from home life with mom & dad to home life with a husband (married at 23...lived at home during college so I moved strait from my childhood home into my married home). I'm still working through "learning" what all comes with managing a home although I'm 180 degrees from what I was 4 years ago.

 

My husband was adopted and his adopted family had 2 biological children (a boy 8 years older and a girl the same age as my husband). From stories I hear from family friends and from my husband's tales, he was the only child expected to do LOTS of chores. Hand dishwashing all the dishes was a daily expectation. To this day he hates hand dishwashing. For the first 6 months of our marriage (before I knew how much he hated it), we were both working full time and I would cook the evening meal and expect him to do clean up.

 

For my birthday that year he bought me a dishwasher. hahaha :lol:

 

I definitely think that expecting a child to do the same thing over and over and over without letting them have input into it can cause longterm damage. Our son is only 19 months old now, but we already plan on rotating chores in the future and we'll definitely be (slyly!!) fine tuning them to his interests. There's a fineline there to walk between teaching responsibility (and the need to do things you do not like in life) versus not badgering them to death with something they TRULY dispise.

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I think the difference is when kids have chores that contribute to the running of the house versus when kids are responsible for the running of the house.

 

When I was a child, I remember spending all day Saturday with my sister cleaning. She's a lot older than me and by the time I was 10, she was gone to college. At that point, all of her chores fell on to me as well as all the ones I was already responsible for. So...at age 10, I was responsible for washing/drying/folding/ironing/hanging all the laundry for the family, for making dinner every night...down to making the menu for the week, cleaning up from dinner/washing the dishes (by hand, which left huge hives every night from my elbows down since I was allergic to the dish soap), vacuuming, dusting, mopping, etc. Meanwhile my parents did nothing...but they did discipline us for not doing a good enough job at any one of our chores.

 

 

Meanwhile, my DH had chores as a child. His were, what I consider, much more reasonable. His parents thanked him for doing his chores (mine never had anything positive to say about it). As an adult, there's not a chore that he minds doing - and he does help out around the house.

 

As an adult, the thought of washing dishes makes me want to cry. I have put dishes in our dishwasher, but my DH usually takes care of the dirty dishes because he knows how I feel about it. And he says it's his way of saying thanks for making such a good dinner every night. I do most of the other chores around the house still since I'm a SAHM and I have more time to do them than anyone else.

 

FWIW, our kids do have chores. But they are nothing like and will not ever be anything like the chores I had as a child. I want them to feel like they help out with the running of our house just as much as DH and I do. I don't want them to feel like they are solely responsible for the running of our house. And I make sure to thank them for what they do, just like I thank DH for washing the dishes, and he thanks me for giving him a clean home to come home to every night.

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I do resent the chores that I had as a child. Not because of the chores themselves, but because I felt taken advantage of. I was assigned 95% of the chores because I was the oldest. I didnt have to mow the lawn though as that was my brothers job. I also had to take care of my younger siblings. They resented this as they wanted mommy, so they made me pay for it. They threw things at me, broke things on purpose, and lied a lot to get me in trouble. My responsibilities started very young. At 4yo I could make lunch, change my brothers diaper, and keep him out of trouble. At 9 I was watching 3 kids most of the time after school...I actually do not resent this year, my mother was hurt and it was needed and I was treated respectfully for it. By the time I was 11 is when it really went down hill again. Both parents worked, and I shouldered most of the responsibility with little help or respect. Even when they were home, they were "tired", so they watched TV while I hand washed the dishes and other chores. Only to sit down to homework after all that!

 

My mom was also a yeller, so if anything was not what she wanted it was usually me she would direct her yelling at because after all "you are the oldest and therefore responsible to keep the house going while I am away!" So if my brother and sisters refused to do their homework...my fault, if a chore didn't get done...my fault, if something got broken...my fault etc. All this while I was unable to get an outside job to save money for college, do extra curricular activities, or barely go to a friends house. I was not allowed to do hardly anything, and the rare occasion they could "spare" me, I was punished for my outing by getting extra chores when I got home. So ya, I resented my chores and I do struggle with doing them now even though I understand as an adult that my parents went about it wrong, it wasn't really the chores.

 

Later I went to college and lived in a dorm. I got to see just what it is like to be around people who had mothers that did everything for them. I had to do laundry lessons on Sat for my door sisters who didnt even know to sort their clothes. I thought this was ridiculous! I had been doing laundry since I could reach the buttons from a stool!

 

So I do give my kids chores, but I also allow them to do fun things, be kids, and do not make them a 3rd parent. I am to run the house, they are to help it run. They should never run it themselves unless there is a crisis. I think that and the respect and encouragement that they recieve will make them feel like they are a team rather than a slave.

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My mom resented the fact that she had so many chores as a child so she went the other way with us and didn't give us any. I resent the fact that we weren't given chores because my brother and I didn't know how to do much when we got out on our own. I think some parents go over-board an the amount of chores and the expectations of how well those chores are done (which was the case with my mom when she was growing up) but I do feel a few age-appropriate chores are reasonable and will help build responsibility and family unity.

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I think it may depend on how the chores are presented. When I was growing up, chores were always a source of yelling and strife, so I hated doing them. I could never do them up to my mom's satisfaction and I was never taught how to do it right, but just yelled at for doing it wrong or not timely enough. I vowed to be different.

 

I think kids doing chores is a good thing. They make the messes, they help clean it up. I consider part of living in a family is doing chores, helping out. If I had to do everything, I would not be able to homeschool and I would definitely resent motherhood. Children can be taught at young ages to do chores with supervision. We made games out of picking up toys. We made doing dishes more enjoyable by blowing some of the suds at eachother and using it as a time to chat. The spray bottle is my friend - the kids loved it when they were little. The timer is my friend. We play beat the clock. We have lots of company's coming drills (because we are generally a messy bunch - not dirty, but we are not always cognizant of putting things away right away.)

 

It does not have to be something they hate. Also, letting the children have some say in what chores they do can go a long way toward a cooperative attitude. We have a chore chart and the kids get to sign up for chores.

 

Dh did lots of chores growing up (probably more than me) and he has never shirked a chore as an adult - he actually helps me a lot, especially with cooking and laundry. I have an autoimmune disorder and I simply don't have the energy to get everything done. He has not complained once.

 

I consider chores to be the price of living with us:). They don't have to like it, but I do what I can to make it a more pleasant experience.

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So I do give my kids chores, but I also allow them to do fun things, be kids, and do not make them a 3rd parent. I am to run the house, they are to help it run. They should never run it themselves unless there is a crisis. I think that and the respect and encouragement that they recieve will make them feel like they are a team rather than a slave.

 

Since you posted this in reply to my post, I'm not sure whether or not you were replying directly to my statements or not, but I feel like I need to clarify--- Molly is absolutely allowed "to do fun things and be a kid." She is absolutely NOT a "third parent." Though as the only child, the only ones left to "parent" are the dogs, cats and chickens. She does NOT "run the house." But she does do chores, and is expected to pitch in. She is very much a kid, and does typical kid things every day. I don't see her daily household responsibilities as psychologically damaging in any way. I certainly hope she doesn't grow up to be resentful of me, dh and the chores she performed as a child, but I guess time will tell. I was responsible for a lot of chores growing up, and I don't resent that a bit.

 

 

 

astrid

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If you don't teach your children, on a regular basis, how to care for a home, how will they know when they grow up? I had some chores as a child. I hated them. I hate chores now. It's no deep seeded psychological thing. It's more of a "who in their right mind would really loves washing someone else's dirty underwear?" I mean, really. Are we reading too much in to this? Yes, some people may enjoy certain tasks of housework, but most of housework is gross. Cleaning toilets... yuck! Mopping floors - I hate it, can't find a decent way to do it. But, it has to be done. I don't complain, I don't think about how much I hate it, I don't resent my mom of making me clean my room, do the dishes, etc. as a child. I just do it and expect the kids to do their part and that's just the way life is. We need to live in a clean environment and order is important to the body and the mind.

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