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Parenting Spoiled Children (article)


Runningmom80
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I doubt all in that group find it difficult to engage in physical work.  You made a generalization about people who don't engage in physical work with regards to their profession.  Someone not liking housework does not mean they find it difficult.  I do not find it difficult.

 

I don't understand why it's such an issue when someone says they don't like housework and they don't make a big deal out of it.  I don't care if other people like housework or give high priority to it, but to claim a child will be spoiled without long lists of chores I find pretty doubtful.  I did not have long lists of chores and I know for a fact I was not a spoiled child.  I barely had my needs met as a child. 

 

What else would you like to call them?  I'm in that group myself - I find it hard to be engaged in physical work.  It includes all kinds of people and jobs so i can't really think of a less general kind of designation.

 

I suppose it is romantic in a way - the Romantics were actually really interested in the value of labour, that's why you get things like the arts and crafts movement coming out of it.  I think it's an important part of our human person - we are physical beings as well as mental, and while we might be more inclined one way or another a balance is important - and maybe we have to work a little harder when it isn't our natural inclination.  It's a bit, I think, like being disengaged from nature - it tends to have bad effects.

 

I think there is some interesting things to be said on it from a sort of social perspective as well.  I seem to recall having mentioned Ivan Illych on the boards a few days ago in some context or another. He talked about our attitude towards work, and what he called machine slavery - the idea that we pass on a lot of our low level work to machines rather than human slaves.  He said that even though it isn't quite the same as enslaving a person, it can have similar kinds of effects on the masters, particularly in their attitude to, and sense of the value of, work.  Work that is turned over to slaves, of whatever kind, becomes work that is without dignity. 

 

This disengages us from the work, and ultimately from ourselves who need the work done to live - and it can also tend to disengage us from people who do that kind of work.  If housework is not really fulfilling work that someone can take pride in, what does this say about people who do that kind of work?  Isn't this why traditional women's work for example has so consistently, and still is, less valued than other kinds of work?  Today women who do fulfilling work do "men's" work and people who work in those jobs - child-care or cleaning or elder-care - are still seen, treated, and paid as if their work is somehow compromised.

 

I don't think anyone would doubt that it would be bad for children if people continued to provide all their personal care as they grew - it would very likely affect most in all kinds of negative ways if they were dressed and had their teeth brushed for them and so on.  But living in community, and the family is just our first community, is not really different - we need to contribute to it to grow into our role there, and while there will likely be some separation of activity there are some tasks - like laundry or setting table or whatever  - that are just an extension of basic personal care, and they should generally be distributed among the people who are capable of doing them.

 

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I think there is some interesting things to be said on it from a sort of social perspective as well.  I seem to recall having mentioned Ivan Illych on the boards a few days ago in some context or another. He talked about our attitude towards work, and what he called machine slavery - the idea that we pass on a lot of our low level work to machines rather than human slaves.  He said that even though it isn't quite the same as enslaving a person, it can have similar kinds of effects on the masters, particularly in their attitude to, and sense of the value of, work.  Work that is turned over to slaves, of whatever kind, becomes work that is without dignity. 

 

This disengages us from the work, and ultimately from ourselves who need the work done to live - and it can also tend to disengage us from people who do that kind of work.  If housework is not really fulfilling work that someone can take pride in, what does this say about people who do that kind of work?  Isn't this why traditional women's work for example has so consistently, and still is, less valued than other kinds of work?  Today women who do fulfilling work do "men's" work and people who work in those jobs - child-care or cleaning or elder-care - are still seen, treated, and paid as if their work is somehow compromised.

 

You lost me here completely. How does having a machine do the laundry make doing laundry a work "without dignity"? I have lived without a washing machine for several years, and hand washing clothes in a tub is a pain and time consuming (and gets less good results), but not any more dignified.

 

I would see much more of a danger of becoming disengaged from real life if I outsourced household tasks and paid another person to do them for me. Cleaning up their own mess instead of hiring a maid, yes, I think that keeps people grounded.

 

The reason I don't find household work "really fulfilling" is because it's no big deal:  it is easy, does not take much time, and millions of people who hold full time jobs manage it in a bit of their spare time. I do not dislike housework. And I'm pretty good and efficient at it. But I don't take particular "pride" in brushing my teeth or showering, and I see swiffing my living room floor or doing laundry as on the same level: they are life tasks. (Now, cooking a particularly nice meal, I can see that as an accomplishment, but the day-to-day cooking barely registers.)

I see a very big distinction between housework and child care; these two should not be conflated for the purpose of this discussion.

And I am referring to housework in a regular household, not running a farm.

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I do understand the disengaged comment (I think).  I think the argument is that some tasks have been simplified so much that they really are extremely mundane and boring.  I haven't heard that argument so much used with housework, but for example, it used to require a bit of brain work to ring out groceries.  You had to make change.  It required more effort overall.  Now it's been reduce to something that requires almost no brain power whatsoever.  So what's there to enjoy about that or take pride in?

But again, I have not really heard this argument used with housework.  I don't think I'd enjoy laundry better if I had to go down to the river to beat my clothes on a rock. 

I don't say any of this to make fun of people who do laundry for a living.  There may be some people who do enjoy it, but I bet a lot of people who do that probably don't enjoy it and would like to do something else.  And if they love it, great.  That's a real bonus when you love what you do for a living. 

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I do understand the disengaged comment (I think).  I think the argument is that some tasks have been simplified so much that they really are extremely mundane and boring.  I haven't heard that argument so much used with housework, but for example, it used to require a bit of brain work to ring out groceries.  You had to make change.  It required more effort overall.  Now it's been reduce to something that requires almost no brain power whatsoever.  So what's there to enjoy about that or take pride in?

 

See, I do value our checkers at my store. They are friendly, they are fast and efficient, and even though they don't have to make change, I can see who does quality work and appreciate it.

 

But again, I have not really heard this argument used with housework.  I don't think I'd enjoy laundry better if I had to go down to the river to beat my clothes on a rock. 

I don't say any of this to make fun of people who do laundry for a living.  There may be some people who do enjoy it, but I bet a lot of people who do that probably don't enjoy it and would like to do something else.  And if they love it, great.  That's a real bonus when you love what you do for a living. 

 

I see a difference in work that I do for myself because it is part of my life, and work somebody does for others. A friend of mine cleans houses. She is meticulous, works very hard, her clients are very happy with her. She does her work with dignity and integrity. She actually likes her job and takes pride in it - but the difference is: she works many hours cleaning other people's homes. To me, that's not quite the same as doing my own housework. For one thing, it's a lot more than caring for a single home. Just like I don't think cooking for my own family is a big deal - but running a restaurant or a catering business is work of a completely different magnitude. It's not about the individual task, but the entirety of the job.

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I doubt all in that group find it difficult to engage in physical work.  You made a generalization about people who don't engage in physical work with regards to their profession.  Someone not liking housework does not mean they find it difficult.  I do not find it difficult.

 

I don't understand why it's such an issue when someone says they don't like housework and they don't make a big deal out of it.  I don't care if other people like housework or give high priority to it, but to claim a child will be spoiled without long lists of chores I find pretty doubtful.  I did not have long lists of chores and I know for a fact I was not a spoiled child.  I barely had my needs met as a child. 

 

No, I made a statement about people who are more inclined to abstractions than practical life.  People who are like that often go into professions that are less practical, and their other activities may be of that type as well.  Some people do both, and enjoy both.  It wasn't really a generalization in the way you are saying since it doesn't include people who aren't like that, but what if it is?  Generalizations are one kind of noticing of patterns - the whole systematic study of populations in every fields is about making generalizations.

 

I also did not say they find the work itself difficult - most people probably don't - rather, they may find it more difficult to be mindful of or really engaged in that work, or they see it as throw-away.  That isn't really quite the same thing as enjoying it - though I think when approached in the right way many tasks that are in themselves dull become less so, they can have almost a meditative function or become acts of love or mindfulness. 

 

Of course no one thing is going to determine everything about a person, and I wouldn't frame participation in the work of living as something to prevent spoiled children.  I would characterize it as a way to be integrated or more fully connected to not only our families and communities, but ourselves and our needs as biological beings.  This is what it takes to make a body run, this is what it takes to make a family run, this is what it takes to make a community run.  We are a very wealthy society, and many families have kids where not only are their needs met, they have a huge amount of family resources and time focused on them.  We don't any longer have many natural ways for children to be contributors to the family or community, where they can really participate in the daily work of the community, in fact for many people that has been pushed back all the way into their 20's.  It seems a little foolish to overlook what is probably one of the simplest ways for them to do so on a daily basis.

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I feel the same. 

When I went to the culinary school and had to cook large quantities of food for other people, that felt very different than cooking at home.  For one thing it's a hell of a lot more work. 

 

I don't know. I really am baffled when people have long lists of household chores.  I feel like I don't have enough to make a list.  I just git er done so I can get on with what I really want to do.  If other people like lists and want to be meticulous, that's fine with me.  I just don't see what this has to do with a kid growing up spoiled or entitled or whatever. 

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No, I made a statement about people who are more inclined to abstractions than practical life.  People who are like that often go into professions that are less practical, and their other activities may be of that type as well.  Some people do both, and enjoy both.  It wasn't really a generalization in the way you are saying since it doesn't include people who aren't like that, but what if it is?  Generalizations are one kind of noticing of patterns - the whole systematic study of populations in every fields is about making generalizations.

 

I also did not say they find the work itself difficult - most people probably don't - rather, they may find it more difficult to be mindful of or really engaged in that work, or they see it as throw-away.  That isn't really quite the same thing as enjoying it - though I think when approached in the right way many tasks that are in themselves dull become less so, they can have almost a meditative function or become acts of love or mindfulness. 

 

Of course no one thing is going to determine everything about a person, and I wouldn't frame participation in the work of living as something to prevent spoiled children.  I would characterize it as a way to be integrated or more fully connected to not only our families and communities, but ourselves and our needs as biological beings.  This is what it takes to make a body run, this is what it takes to make a family run, this is what it takes to make a community run.  We are a very wealthy society, and many families have kids where not only are their needs met, they have a huge amount of family resources and time focused on them.  We don't any longer have many natural ways for children to be contributors to the family or community, where they can really participate in the daily work of the community, in fact for many people that has been pushed back all the way into their 20's.  It seems a little foolish to overlook what is probably one of the simplest ways for them to do so on a daily basis.

 

Frankly, I do not really understand what you are saying.  I hear, "Different strokes for different folks."  Again, what does this have to do with children NEEDING task lists for household chores so that they don't grow up spoiled and lacking in a sense of accomplishment? 

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The reason I don't find household work "really fulfilling" is because it's no big deal: 

 

I am clearly doing something wrong!!! lol.

 

With three kids, two adults and two big dogs at home all day, every day, I feel like the house work required just to keep the place reasonably presentable is quite a commitment. If I did not have my kids and DH helping out with regular chores I could spend all day just picking up, cooking meals, doing dishes, collecting, washing, hanging and folding laundry, vacuuming dog hair, wiping muddy footprints off the tile floor (what idiot puts white tile on a kitchen floor???), sorting mail, paying bills, cleaning cat litter, cleaning bathrooms...

 

Maybe it's a homeschooling thing, especially with younger and middle aged kids. The art projects, history projects, Bravewriter wild words taped all over the house, pendulums swinging from the doorways and science projects on the kitchen counter, piles of library books, lego creations..... I could continue endlessly.

 

If there is a secret to getting all this done in a few spare moments I would love get in on in. Put the FlyLady out of business. 

 

I took the kids to visit their grandparents in May. My DH was home by himself for a week. He said the best part was that he cleaned the house thoroughly for three hours the morning we left (we left at 4am), and it stayed clean all week! So in some situations, I can see that housework is no big deal. But you should have seen the inside of the car by the time we completed the 13 hour drive to TN!!!!

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I am clearly doing something wrong!!! lol.

 

With three kids, two adults and two big dogs at home all day, every day, I feel like the house work required just to keep the place reasonably presentable is quite a commitment. If I did not have my kids and DH helping out with regular chores I could spend all day just picking up, cooking meals, doing dishes, collecting, washing, hanging and folding laundry, vacuuming dog hair, wiping muddy footprints off the tile floor (what idiot puts white tile on a kitchen floor???), sorting mail, paying bills, cleaning cat litter, cleaning bathrooms...

 

Maybe it's a homeschooling thing, especially with younger and middle aged kids. The art projects, history projects, Bravewriter wild words taped all over the house, pendulums swinging from the doorways and science projects on the kitchen counter, piles of library books, lego creations..... I could continue endlessly.

 

If there is a secret to getting all this done in a few spare moments I would love get in on in. Put the FlyLady out of business. 

 

I took the kids to visit their grandparents in May. My DH was home by himself for a week. He said the best part was that he cleaned the house thoroughly for three hours the morning we left (we left at 4am), and it stayed clean all week! So in some situations, I can see that housework is no big deal. But you should have seen the inside of the car by the time we completed the 13 hour drive to TN!!!!

 

That's understandable.  You are home most of the time with three kids.  Not everyone is.  And yes that is an accomplishment for sure.

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I am clearly doing something wrong!!! lol.

 

With three kids, two adults and two big dogs at home all day, every day, I feel like the house work required just to keep the place reasonably presentable is quite a commitment. If I did not have my kids and DH helping out with regular chores I could spend all day just picking up, cooking meals, doing dishes, collecting, washing, hanging and folding laundry, vacuuming dog hair, wiping muddy footprints off the tile floor (what idiot puts white tile on a kitchen floor???), sorting mail, paying bills, cleaning cat litter, cleaning bathrooms...

 

Maybe it's a homeschooling thing, especially with younger and middle aged kids. The art projects, history projects, Bravewriter wild words taped all over the house, pendulums swinging from the doorways and science projects on the kitchen counter, piles of library books, lego creations..... I could continue endlessly.

 

If there is a secret to getting all this done in a few spare moments I would love get in on in. Put the FlyLady out of business. 

 

I took the kids to visit their grandparents in May. My DH was home by himself for a week. He said the best part was that he cleaned the house thoroughly for three hours the morning we left (we left at 4am), and it stayed clean all week! So in some situations, I can see that housework is no big deal. But you should have seen the inside of the car by the time we completed the 13 hour drive to TN!!!!

 

We are two kids, two adults and a cat. Shoes are not worn inside the house. Food is eaten at the dining table only (I relaxed the rule when the kids were teens and capable of eating without making a mess). My kids were never into "projects". Homeschooling involved lots of books and paper, and those are stored in the kids' rooms. Playmobil and toys could remain set up in the basement; that was the play zone and got cleaned up periodically and did not require daily attention. Hardwood floors are easy to clean; we have little furniture and no decorative end tables etc. We have no clutter.

Cat goes outside to do her business, so no litter box. Bills are paid online. Opening mail takes one minute. We rewear clothing multiple times.

 

ETA: I work outside the home. Housework is streamlined for maximum efficiency.

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I do understand the disengaged comment (I think).  I think the argument is that some tasks have been simplified so much that they really are extremely mundane and boring.  I haven't heard that argument so much used with housework, but for example, it used to require a bit of brain work to ring out groceries.  You had to make change.  It required more effort overall.  Now it's been reduce to something that requires almost no brain power whatsoever.  So what's there to enjoy about that or take pride in?

 

Pride in working efficiently. 

Pride in earning an honest paycheck. 

Pride in meeting performance goals. 

Pride in offering an encouraging smile. 

Pride in providing a service to their community. 

Pride in being part of a team. 

Pride in their ability to handle difficult customers. 

 

I'm sure there are many more things a cashier at a grocery store can take pride in. You can also substitute  "enjoyment" in the place of "pride" in each of those statements. 

 

I'm still not quite getting what the original comment meant, either. 

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Pride in working efficiently. 

Pride in earning an honest paycheck. 

Pride in meeting performance goals. 

Pride in offering an encouraging smile. 

Pride in providing a service to their community. 

Pride in being part of a team. 

Pride in their ability to handle difficult customers. 

 

I'm sure there are many more things a cashier at a grocery store can take pride in. You can also substitute  "enjoyment" in the place of "pride" in each of those statements. 

 

I'm still not quite getting what the original comment meant, either. 

 

Yeah I don't get the sense that many take pride in it.  I've done it myself and it was hell. 

 

Working efficiently....there is always someone who doesn't think you are are working efficiently enough for them

earning an honest paycheck....that is so low you can't pay your bills with it

meeting performance goals....that are always unrealistic and involve things completely out of your control

team?  Hah...never felt like I was on any team.... from one week to the next there were people who quit and were hired because most felt like I did about the place 

 

I want to work at the grocery store that has all of that.  I haven't found one.

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Believe me, I've had enough of these jobs in my life to say what they are like.  Most of these places want someone smart enough to do the job, but dumb enough not to question it.  I never felt valued.  I never felt like I was treated fairly.  The one time I worked in store that was unionized I was force to pay them money for getting absolutely nothing out of it. 

 

 

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I'd ROFL if my kids walked into someone else's 1600 sq ft house and asked "where is the rest of the house?" (what some kids said according to the author). Of course, 1600 sq ft is twice our house size, but w/e.

 

The tooth fairy here pays 25 cents per tooth, if she remembers (I think the tooth fairy may have some executive functioning issues). I did look around online what the current going rate is for teeth, saw too many crazy numbers, and ended up just inflation-adjusting my own tooth fairy (25 guilder cents back then = about 25 dollar cents now).

 

The household fairy also has EF issues... I wish taking care of the household came as easily to me as regentrude describes. The only chores I had as a kid were setting or clearing the table (alternated with my brother). It seems like every single time I get on top of cleaning the house I get another cold or flu and the house is wrecked in 2 days or less. Household chores are quite unfulfilling that way. They're a "can't win" situation.

 

In honor of the article I had my 7yo take out the trash for the first time. He said it was "kinda fun", especially the swinging the trash bag into the trash can part. Of course, he also said emptying the dishwasher was fun when he did that for the first time a year and a half ago or so. He doesn't think it's so much fun now.

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We are two kids, two adults and a cat. Shoes are not worn inside the house. Food is eaten at the dining table only (I relaxed the rule when the kids were teens and capable of eating without making a mess). My kids were never into "projects". Homeschooling involved lots of books and paper, and those are stored in the kids' rooms. Playmobil and toys could remain set up in the basement; that was the play zone and got cleaned up periodically and did not require daily attention. Hardwood floors are easy to clean; we have little furniture and no decorative end tables etc.

Cat is an outside cat with no litter box. Bills are paid online. Opening mail takes one minute. We rewear clothing multiple times.

 

I think you are missing my point. I do not question your lived reality. You were not homeschooling when your kids were younger, you have a different style, you have different family customs and traditions. I really do believe you that you do not think housework is a big deal.

 

It also appears that you have cultivated a series of customs or traditions that are not really that different than daily chores. Place your shoes neatly by the door, only eat at the table, only play in designated areas, homeschool is focused on books and papers rather than projects. These are all habits of care. Another family may have a different culture and may prefer to have the children participate in the regular chores of cleaning up rather than prohibiting the mess in the first place. I have some very expressive, creative kids. But, I do think it is important that they participate in cleaning up the messes. It is very easy for kids to be completely unaware of the amount of time and effort that goes into daily tasks. I am not all that interested in whether they feel a sense of accomplishment from doing dishes, or fixing their own meals, or cleaning their bathroom. What I do care about is that they do not take the dirty, messy, material tasks of life for granted - that they understand how these things get done and that someone does them. That someone may be Mom or Dad or the janitor at the train station, or the food worker in the school cafeteria. 

 

The thing is, I agree that these are tasks that are, for the most part, not self-fulfilling. But, that, in itself is what makes them so important for kids. It is, IMO, important to do things in life that are not just about your own self-fulfillment. Yes, perhaps I could have my kids spend all that "wasted" time doing housework preparing themselves to be spectacularly high achievers, creating a more impressive resume for their college application, or lost in their own passion or medieval literature or fashion design. But, to spend all their time focused on their own self-actualization, and to have parents as unrelenting cheerleaders in that singular, egoistic focus (and I think this is more of the cultural trend that the author of the article was trying to get to, if in a perhaps less than elegant way), misses an important part of life. Even though we may not require the same amount of manual labor to support our existence as we did years ago, there is still quite a bit of work that goes into making a comfortable life. I do think it is a moral argument to not make those tasks invisible (and the people who do them invisible).  

 

It's also important to recognize that one person's lived reality is not the same as another's. So, the blanket statement that modern housework is no big deal only reflects one particular lived reality. Just as the blanket statement that a fourth grader ought to be able to spell "x" word only reflects the lived reality of a neuro-typical fourth grader of average or above average intelligence who has been reading rather fluently for about three years. A neuro-exceptional nine year old who has only been reading fluently for six months might have an entirely different lived reality. Just food for thought.

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I think I get where Bluegoat is coming from.

 

During my working years, I worked two jobs where the company was owned by a very wealthy family.  At the first job, the woman there had very little respect for the guys who did the manual labor.  She made quite a few comments about them "not being smart enough to choose the right career" or "they shouldn't feel bad that it is hard work, because they chose it."  UGH.

 

At my other job, the owner really valued the guys who did the manual labor.  He valued that the work was hard, and they put in the effort to do it well.  During the time the owner's kids were teens, he had them work at the business.  The boys worked with the manual laborers.  The girl did that, plus, she also cleaned the office, including the "shop bathroom" which was not a pretty job!  The girl told me later (as an adult) that cleaning not only gave her incentive to go to college (because she REALLY didn't like cleaning!) but also respect for the people that do that job. That it was a hard job, and she respected them.  One of the boys later became our manager.  And a great one!  He was humble, listened to others, and respected those in lower positions.  When the economy tanked, this guy did not take his own bonus, but made sure that our shop guys got theirs... "because they make less and it's more important to them".  

 

I don't know that this guy would have had the same perspective if when he was a teenager, his dad had him work with the sales people rather than the manual laborers.  Those experiences benefited and shaped him.  This family also got used but reliable cars for their kids, when all their kid's friends got brand new cars at 16.  It was a big deal to each of those kids when they got their first new car, purchased with their own money.  

 

It is easy when you have never worked hard physically or done a less-than-appealing job to not respect or have understanding for those who do.  

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It also appears that you have cultivated a series of customs or traditions that are not really that different than daily chores. Place your shoes neatly by the door, only eat at the table, only play in designated area

 

And then we could have some fun by having an argument about how it's spoiling kids to even have a designated area for them to play in. Oh, the luxury! 

 

:D

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I'd ROFL if my kids walked into someone else's 1600 sq ft house and asked "where is the rest of the house?" (what some kids said according to the author). Of course, 1600 sq ft is twice our house size, but w/e.

 

 

It seems to me that a lot of kids don't really get hung up on the same details we do.  I remember going to friend's homes and encountering things that were very different from my personal experiences, but mostly shrugging that off.  I noticed, but I didn't really care.  Not even enough to mention it to anyone. 

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And then we could have some fun by having an argument about how it's spoiling kids to even have a designated area for them to play in. Oh, the luxury! 

 

:D

 

A luxury in my book is a kid having their own room.  I didn't have my own room ever.  My kids have always had their own room, and I think that's awesome.  Sometimes it's not possible and that's not a big deal, but I don't consider my kids spoiled for it. 

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I am not all that interested in whether they feel a sense of accomplishment from doing dishes, or fixing their own meals, or cleaning their bathroom. What I do care about is that they do not take the dirty, messy, material tasks of life for granted - that they understand how these things get done and that someone does them. That someone may be Mom or Dad or the janitor at the train station, or the food worker in the school cafeteria. 

 

The thing is, I agree that these are tasks that are, for the most part, not self-fulfilling. But, that, in itself is what makes them so important for kids. It is, IMO, important to do things in life that are not just about your own self-fulfillment. 

 

Hepatica, this whole post was very well worded and expressed.  Thank you!

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A luxury in my book is a kid having their own room.  I didn't have my own room ever.  My kids have always had their own room, and I think that's awesome.  Sometimes it's not possible and that's not a big deal, but I don't consider my kids spoiled for it. 

 

I had my own room growing up (and so did my brother), but I agree that's a luxury. Now that we have kids, before we moved to NY, we all shared one bedroom. It's a luxury for the kids to not sleep in our bedroom, a very welcome luxury though. :) Now the kids share an 80 sq ft or so bedroom. As a result, the "designated play area" is pretty much anywhere in the house... I wish I could just make them keep their toys and Pokémon cards in one designated play room (heck, I wish they'd keep the Pokémon cards out of the bathroom and kitchen).

 

I agree though that having your own room (or designated play area) is not likely to spoil kids. My post about designated play areas being a luxury that spoils kids was meant as a joke, in case that wasn't obvious. Luxuries don't automatically spoil kids. They do impact ease of housekeeping though.

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I had my own room growing up (and so did my brother), but I agree that's a luxury. Now that we have kids, before we moved to NY, we all shared one bedroom. It's a luxury for the kids to not sleep in our bedroom, a very welcome luxury though. :) Now the kids share an 80 sq ft or so bedroom. As a result, the "designated play area" is pretty much anywhere in the house... I wish I could just make them keep their toys and Pokémon cards in one designated play room (heck, I wish they'd keep the Pokémon cards out of the bathroom and kitchen).

 

I agree though that having your own room (or designated play area) is not likely to spoil kids. My post about designated play areas being a luxury that spoils kids was meant as a joke, in case that wasn't obvious. Luxuries don't automatically spoil kids. They do impact ease of housekeeping though.

 

I've had designated play areas.  It didn't matter.  Toys were still everywhere.  The bathroom, kitchen, pantry, our bedroom, etc.  It did.not.matter.  But that time is already past.  It goes by fast.  One of mine hasn't really played with toys in years.  The other still a little bit, but he has far fewer toys.

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So, it comes down to the name on the piece of paper for you? That's it? The car my son drives is not in his name, it is in our name because we paid for it. We actually paid for it ten years ago, then I drove it for ten years and now he is driving it. It is assigned to him from a practical standpoint as well as an insurance standpoint.

 

I actually have never heard of anyone buying a car for a teen and putting their name on the title. A teen can't enter into a contract legally - how would they get insurance? I don't see how an insurance company would allow the car to be added to the parents' policy, the parents would have no financial interest in the vehicle, therefore the insurance company wouldn't want it on their policy, I don't think. I'm sure in some states this can happen, laws vary so widely, but the issue of not being able to enter into a legal contract for insurance purposes would remain no matter what state they reside in.

No, not the piece of paper. I think it's the idea of ownership in that practical sense that is off to me. "When Scott turned 16 I got myself a new car and gave him the old one". Like I said , do what you like , I am not a mommy wars type. I just don't see the value in giving kids exceptionally expensive material goods.It's my car, it's my insurance, it's my responsibility. She'd have to drive safely and keep it clean no matter whose car it is, obviously.

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My kids are about to go from sharing a tiny room with a tiny closet (they sleep together on a single bed), to each having their own brand-new, good-sized bedroom.  Their own furniture, their own closet.  They are a little freaked out by the idea.  LOL.  We are also building a new bathroom that will be mostly used by them.  (Terrible, terrible, I know.  A whole toilet just for 2 kids!  What kind of messages I must be sending....)

 

But you know who's excited?  ME!  No more stuffing a hundred outfits into 3' wide closet, and all the rest of their clothes into one 3-drawer dresser.  No more dreading laundry day because that means all the T-shirts will be clean and need space in the drawer.  No more having to sift through their stuff weekly to make room for any new thing they acquire.  Gosh, what will I do with my free time?

 

The scary part is that now the girls will be "responsible" for their own rooms.  Anyone know the number for the Hoarders' hotline?

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We are also building a new bathroom that will be mostly used by them.  (Terrible, terrible, I know.  A whole toilet just for 2 kids!  What kind of messages I must be sending....)

 

Well, they'll be taking turns cleaning their own bathroom, right? :)

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It also appears that you have cultivated a series of customs or traditions that are not really that different than daily chores. Place your shoes neatly by the door, only eat at the table, only play in designated areas, homeschool is focused on books and papers rather than projects. These are all habits of care. Another family may have a different culture and may prefer to have the children participate in the regular chores of cleaning up rather than prohibiting the mess in the first place. I have some very expressive, creative kids. But, I do think it is important that they participate in cleaning up the messes. It is very easy for kids to be completely unaware of the amount of time and effort that goes into daily tasks. I am not all that interested in whether they feel a sense of accomplishment from doing dishes, or fixing their own meals, or cleaning their bathroom. What I do care about is that they do not take the dirty, messy, material tasks of life for granted - that they understand how these things get done and that someone does them. That someone may be Mom or Dad or the janitor at the train station, or the food worker in the school cafeteria. 

 

The thing is, I agree that these are tasks that are, for the most part, not self-fulfilling. But, that, in itself is what makes them so important for kids. It is, IMO, important to do things in life that are not just about your own self-fulfillment. Yes, perhaps I could have my kids spend all that "wasted" time doing housework preparing themselves to be spectacularly high achievers, creating a more impressive resume for their college application, or lost in their own passion or medieval literature or fashion design. But, to spend all their time focused on their own self-actualization, and to have parents as unrelenting cheerleaders in that singular, egoistic focus (and I think this is more of the cultural trend that the author of the article was trying to get to, if in a perhaps less than elegant way), misses an important part of life. Even though we may not require the same amount of manual labor to support our existence as we did years ago, there is still quite a bit of work that goes into making a comfortable life. I do think it is a moral argument to not make those tasks invisible (and the people who do them invisible).  

 

??? I have never said that I prohibit my kids from making a mess or that they did not have to participate in cleaning up. They are aware of, and capable to, and required to perform, household tasks. i am just not elevating those household tasks  to something they are, in my opinion, not. They are necessary and get done, end of story.

(ETA: They got to play everywhere, but having a space where they did not have to clean up every day (which I realize is a luxury) made life easier for everybody involved. )

 

It's also important to recognize that one person's lived reality is not the same as another's. So, the blanket statement that modern housework is no big deal only reflects one particular lived reality.

 

I compare it with the housework growing up and when I was a young adult. Carrying coal buckets three floors up and carrying ash buckets down in order to have heating. Heating a coal fired water heater once a week for Sunday night baths. Mom boiling diapers in a pot on the stove. And the endless dirt from all the coal dust and ash!

Compared to that, modern housework simply is easy, far easier than housework was for previous generations. I remember the first time I moved into an apartment with central heating, just before DD was born. It was warm through turning a thermostat, no coal, no hours of waiting for a ceramic stove to give of some warmth. It was pure luxury and so incredibly simple. And hot water available 24 hours a day.

 

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And then we could have some fun by having an argument about how it's spoiling kids to even have a designated area for them to play in. Oh, the luxury! 

 

Oh, I agree - having a typical American house is a huge luxury. We have much more space than in the 700 sq ft apartment we had back home.

Having their own rooms is a luxury I did not have as a kid until I moved into the wet basement at age 16.

Having a space where a toy castle can remain set up for days since it is in nobody's way is a luxury.

But so are many things about modern life. I don't think kids are automatically spoiled because they don't grow up in a  one room shack with an earthen floor.

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I think I get where Bluegoat is coming from.

 

Maybe you can explain it to me. She mentioned that labor is "an important part of our human person - we are physical beings as well as mental, and while we might be more inclined one way or another a balance is important..." All good, makes sense (whatever "balance" looks like to any individual). But then she went on to compare passing on "low level work" to machines rather than human slaves and the effects that has on people. Historically speaking, there were a great number of people who were articulate, passionate, educated, and outspoken in their advocating the benefits of slave labor. There doesn't seem to be a general effect of unbalance for those who have been born and raised and lived their entire lives in cultures in which slave labor was just part of The Way Things Are. So right there, the argument is suspect. But then she brings it around to housework.  

 

"If housework is not really fulfilling work that someone can take pride in, what does this say about people who do that kind of work?"

 

I think the two are unconnected. Do people take advantage of cheap labor and underestimate the value of their house cleaners? No doubt. I'm sure it happens all the time. But that's not universal by any means. Hiring someone else to clean a home doesn't say anything more than they can afford to outsource this job. 

 

From where does the idea come that outsourcing work one doesn't personally find fulfilling, can afford to outsource, and doesn't require lots of specialized skills, changes a person in the same way profiting from slave labor changes one? It's like plucking two different ideas out of the air and holding them both in one's hands and saying, "See? They're related because I mentioned them at the same time."  

 

Sparkly shared that she doesn't find housework fulfilling. I have to agree. While there are times I do feel a sense of accomplishment or pride in getting a big job done, like organizing the garage, dusting for the third time in a week is so mundane *for me* that if I don't have the tv on, I just won't do it. Dust be damned. I can't stand there and look at my blinds on more minute with nothing to distract my mind. That doesn't *say* anything about me other than I enjoy doing about a billion things more than dusting. Or sweeping. Or folding laundry. My mother in law was the exact opposite. Housework doesn't *say* anything about either of us, but I suspect how we approached housework is inspired by all kinds of ideas, beliefs, memories, ideals that people develop throughout their lives. 

 

So this idea that not finding "low level work" fulfilling is somehow disengaging between me and nature, or makes me off balance, or that if I were to hire someone to do this job [quicker, more efficiently, and I contribute to someone's paycheck], I would be changed in the same way slave owners were changed (a concept that is suspect), is confusing. I don't understand the connection. 

 

It is easy when you have never worked hard physically or done a less-than-appealing job to not respect or have understanding for those who do.  

 

This makes sense, but I didn't get that from her post. I got some equation about labor and nature and balance between the two. 

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Well I'm going to just jump in...

 

I don't think chores have diddly to do with work ethic and not being spoiled.

 

And I have always worked hard from a very young age and every person in my household has chores, but they all have less than I or dh ever did.

 

Chores in and of themselves do not create thoughtful appreciative character any more than academics in and of itself makes people critical thinkers or smarter.

 

It's the relationship and motivation and purpose to the thing that embeds those qualities over time.

 

And some people just never "get it".

 

If all it boiled down to was needing more dirty chores, I'm pretty sure we would have stamped out this tendency in humans generations ago when life was a heck of a lot more drudgery even for the wealthy.

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I think overall, I'm sheltered by mostly socializing with people of a similar socio-economic group of my own.  This isn't by conscious choice or anything.  I'm sure it's just a product of the neighborhood being pretty similar in that regard.  The Y has a wider range of people - some in a much lower socio-economic group and some much higher but we see each other at the Y, not in each other's homes.  The people in my group (lower middle class) tend to have similar financial struggles and while we can afford some small luxuries, we can't afford the more extravagant (from my perspective) luxuries mentioned in the article.  Obviously we all have different priorities in how we use our money but we tend to have about the same amount of money initially to allocate to those different priorities.  Without a shifting of priorities to allow for maid service by skimping in other areas, most people in my socio-economic group tend to have to be DIYers at some level.  

 

I do remember visiting some of my dh's relatives.  Part of this was a different culture, different country thing, but it was also a different socioeconomic class thing.  Some young (to me, they were in their early 30's) relatives were complaining that they did not know what to cook for dinner.  I helpfully (or so I thought) made some suggestions and offered to help out in the kitchen.  Dh leaned over and said, "They aren't talking about this in the way you think they are.  They are wondering what to have the cook make for tonight."    Oh!  On the other hand, they too had a bit of a shock trying to understand my life.  They could not believe that I had to wash our own laundry even it is just sticking it in a washing machine.  (They had the machines but a maid to do the laundry in the machines.)  

 

I don't feel either superior to them because I do my own labor or less superior to them because I can't hire someone to do the labor.  They had struggles in their lives even if they might look a bit different than mine.  They had a strong work ethic even if they were able to devote that work ethic to different tasks since they had someone else to do the tasks I tend to do.  I think each socio-economic bracket probably has it's own challenges and moral pitfalls.  But how people navigate all that is so individual.  

 

 

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I feel the same. 

When I went to the culinary school and had to cook large quantities of food for other people, that felt very different than cooking at home.  For one thing it's a hell of a lot more work. 

 

I don't know. I really am baffled when people have long lists of household chores.  I feel like I don't have enough to make a list.  I just git er done so I can get on with what I really want to do.  If other people like lists and want to be meticulous, that's fine with me.  I just don't see what this has to do with a kid growing up spoiled or entitled or whatever. 

Well I must be doing housework wrong, because I never have enough time to keep up with it.  It takes a long time to get anything done.  I keep seeing people saying how it is so easy and takes no time at all etc, but that is not my experience at all.  Then again I am hardly home it seems and when I am I am teaching kids or studying my own homework.  But housework seems to be something that is actually challenging to me.  

 

As for growing up spoiled by not doing chores.  I don't know.  I have seen many kids who never have to lift a finger to help at home, not even things like put their own backpack away when they get home from school.  And while it may not make them a spoiled brat it does make them someone challenging to live with as adults.  Look at how many times we see posts from people frustrated that their husbands don't help around the house ever because growing up they never had to, their mother did everything for them.  Yes some grow up and figure it out, but many have no clue HOW to do the chores until they are on their own and suddenly their apartment or dorm room looks like a sty, or they find someone else to do it for them.  So yeah it may not be what many consider spoiled, but it certainly is not an independent adult that contributes to the cleanliness of the home either.  

 

 

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In my day (did I really just type that?lol) the teen got the cheapest, crappiest car possible. Sometimes it was a family car on its last leg, sometimes it was a car the parents found at a really low price. I'm glad we've moved past that attitude. I want my teen/young adult in a safe, reliable vehicle. That might not, actually probably won't, translate to luxury car in our family, but he's not going to get a piece of scrap metal. I want to know that every time he drives away, we've at least made sure the vehicle he's in will get him where he's going and keep him as safe as possible.

 

:iagree:   Definitely this.  Dd has a used 2007 Jeep that we bought her senior year in high school.  It's not the newest "best" car in our family (that would be a lease and we are not paying the insurance rates for a young driver to drive a lease) but it's not the worse (2002 Suburban that dh drives).  Even in high school she was driving long distances either in heavy traffic or on secluded roads late at night.  Now she drives in urban areas very late at night while she's at school.  I want her in something that is going to get her where she needs to be and not leave her stranded on the side of the road.

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No it's not "I'm mad some kids have nicer cars than me" sour grapes. It is purchasing an extremely expensive gift for a person with no income that .... Is not the parenting chouce I would make. My 7 year old enjoys playing on the iPad. I have 2 and I often let her borrow one. I see no reason why she should own one. Same with cars . If the family needs 3 fine, I will purchase an additional car. In my name.

 

Other parents do it other ways - whatever . I didn't say it was a horrible choice or a mistake. I am just surprised to hear how common it as, almost as a default. If I saw a teen with a BMW my assumption would be it was his family's car, not his. I don't really see..... The value I guess? Unless the term is paying for has and insurance and maintenance. But unless the kid is a gear head , that's not how is want my kid to focus her energy or income from.

 

Long answer because it's late and I'm tired, not because I am super passionate on this topic.

 

My dd's car is in dh's name.   That doesn't change the fact that it's "her" car.  She drives it 99% of the time, doesn't have to ask for permission to use it.  It's hers to take to school and work.  

 

This seems like semantics.  If it's in her name it's wrong, if it's in our name it's okay.  What's the difference?

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We are also building a new bathroom that will be mostly used by them. (Terrible, terrible, I know. A whole toilet just for 2 kids! What kind of messages I must be sending....)

Awwww man! I'd love that arrangement!

 

Somehow having one bathroom for five people has not automatically made my children grateful, humble, meek, and mild individuals who really understand the value of a dollar and hardwork. Obviously I have been doing something wrong. I totally should have had them grow up using an outhouse. Silly me!

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Awwww man! I'd love that arrangement!

 

Somehow having one bathroom for five people has not automatically made my children grateful, humble, meek, and mild individuals who really understand the value of a dollar and hardwork. Obviously I have been doing something wrong. I totally should have had them grow up using an outhouse. Silly me!

It may not have made them grateful, humble, meek, or mild, but I'll bet it has taught them to "hold it" for long periods of time. ;)

 

This valuable ability will be incredibly useful to them as they grow up, particularly when they attend public events involving porta-potties. Being able to say, "I'll just wait until I get home" will be something that others will envy. :D

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I have siblings who did chores and still grew up to be irresponsible slobs as far as housekeeping goes.  I think some people are just born more organized than others.

 

I remember when my kids were wee tots.  Miss E would crawl from place to place pulling stuff out and making a mess.  Miss A would follow behind her and put things back.  LOL.  Not much has changed over the years, except that Miss A has learned to tolerate Miss E's messes, for better or worse.  :P

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My dd's car is in dh's name. That doesn't change the fact that it's "her" car. She drives it 99% of the time, doesn't have to ask for permission to use it. It's hers to take to school and work.

 

This seems like semantics. If it's in her name it's wrong, if it's in our name it's okay. What's the difference?

I am having trouble understanding that, as well. I feel like poppy is explaining what she means, but I'm missing something.

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Agreeing with Sparkly Unicorn about the lack of correlation between endless childhood chores and character. (Sorry, quote feature not working for me on this device right now.) She said she didn't have a lot of chores and her needs were barely met.

 

I had the proscribed endless chilldhood chores, in spades, and my needs were barely met. In fact, I left home while still a minor in an attempt to finally meet my own d@mn needs...

 

if being made to serve the family for one's whole childhood is THE path to the BEST character, I should be Mother Teresa. Really what I am is a person of strong character who still only gets turned on by housework if I'm the only one at home while I do it and I think my work will actually stand until past the next mealtime. Other than that, housework is just the next thing to do. It's neutral.

 

I like decorating, cooking, being productive, and living squalor-free. Those preferences are not the same as feeling spiritually charged and religiously renewed by housework, although I do the housework...my identity and my calling are as a mother and a teacher.

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I am having trouble understanding that, as well. I feel like poppy is explaining what she means, but I'm missing something.

I don't know, I guess I think of getting a car as a milestone, like getting a first apartment. Something to be earned and to feel like an accomplishment. Not just a practical thing like medical bills, tutoring , extracurriculars which parents pay for by default. I grew up relatively well off in a working class area that was very very class conscious and perhaps that influences my view. That extravagant gifts are a big deal, and that there is virtue in waiting for the big stuff.

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What is the difference between saying "my kid has her own room" vs. "my kid has her own car"?

Ha. No one here has their own room. Or their own car. Or even their own closet. Much less bathrooms.

 

We all live here and yet somehow we don't hate each other bc we don't have our own personal whatever.

 

I do have a problem with the concept that someone is somehow deprived if they not only don't have ___, but have their own with no obligation to others in their use of it.

 

I think it is self centered, often wasteful, and makes it hard for them to learn how to gladly sacrifice for others or even delay their own gratification for a higher cause.

 

I'm not pointing at anyone and saying this is them, but I will admit I see it frequently in various forms and I do think it somewhat permeates social justice issues too. But that's all probably another topic.

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