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Teaching your child house chores

By - JOHN MUTURI | October 13th 2012

Denying a child the chance to cook, wash and clean for themselves keeps them dependent on you, writes JOHN MUTURI

Many parents complain they have difficulty getting their children to pick up their rooms, help out around the house, or even take care of their own stuff.

Most of these parents took too long before teaching children about taking some responsibility. They made their children think that they had no responsibilities, often responding to every request or complaint offered by their children.

They wrongly assumed that their children would eventually ‘get it’ when they hit their teenage years.

No wonder mothers have endless arguments with their teenagers about the tidiness of rooms and the cleanliness of clothes. She is permanently screaming about the mess, and they are in a permanent sulk at mum’s ‘nagging’.

To stop this, a mother needs to change her view of her role as a mother. You need to relinquish responsibility for their territory. Let their room become their preserve, and it’s tidiness or cleanliness is their business unless this does not spill over into the rest of the house. Of course, if clothes are not excavated from the heap and brought to you, they can’t be washed. If the bed is not stripped, they will sleep on dirty sheets. Soon enough, he/she will start to see the personal benefits of a certain amount of order. They will never do so, however, as long as you continue to do the work for them.

Sharing chores

There is one way of keeping your child dependent on you; by keeping them incapable of looking after themselves or denying them the ability to wash, cook and clean for him or herself.

Many parents complain of being taken for granted, not recognising that it is their own actions that have set up this apparent selfishness. If you insist on being the only one to do house chores, how can you expect your youngsters to see it as anything other than your job and their right?

If the sharing of chores is not something that has happened in your home since their childhood, introducing it later on might need careful discussion and preparation. But if you want to prepare your teenager for a happy future, start soon.

Giving them some responsibility for running your home is a form of rite of passage. You recognise that they are capable of being included in some important aspects of adult life and are a valuable part of the family and also feel free to confide in you.

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