Because I Said So!

Many parents today are of the opinion that chores are something that everyone in the home should do. They feel that kids need to know how to contribute to the household. That they should learn how to work hard and earn their keep in the home. Here is a post from Cafe Mom that speaks to this approach.

Anyway, I ended up deciding the whole concept of giving my kids money when I already buy all their stuff was pretty much bull****. Plus, I was fed up with having a reward system for things I just expect them to do. For instance: you live in my house, you make your bed in the morning. Full stop. You don’t get paid for doing so, and if you don’t do it — see, there IS no “not doing it.” Not doing it isn’t an option. Not doing it doesn’t mean you don’t get your $2, it means you get sent back to your room to do it.

Read the rest of the post here.

As parents we want our kids to help out around the house. And we want them to do it without a reward being their only motivation. So the thoughts expressed by the blog post are far from terrible. It might be how you were raised or how you raised your children today. But what it leaves out is how powerful positive reinforcement can be.

Some children might not need it, but most do. The reward for the job well done. And if they’re just little ones, a reward for the job just BEING done.

We don’t want to raise entitled brats, but when you dig your heels in and demand your kids to work around the house, but they refuse, gridlock ensues. It can quickly become a case of who can be more stubborn. Sometimes that approach can work, but when there is something to work towards, your chances of avoiding gridlock and the work getting done increase dramatically.

When you just expect young children to pull their weight, it not only makes your home tense and can result in yelling, anger, and tears — but it also typically takes longer for the chore to be completed. And if you lose the stubborn contest, nobody wins.

What is worse, a home where you motivate your children to pitch in around the house with rewards or a home where there is constant nagging, tension, and arguing?

I know, a reward system isn’t a guarantee to make all the nagging end. Trust me, even using ChoreMonster does not wipe it all away. We still have to figure out the balance of rewarding kids for hard work, while not dangling a carrot of cash in front of them in order for them to eat one bite of broccoli.

You have to decide what works in your home for your kids because every house and every child is different. But I do know one thing, a flat out, “do it because you live here” approach is not an effective long term strategy, regardless of your level of frustration.

Photo credit: jasonbolonski / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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