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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I don't know about you, but as I grew up, my mother kept me busy after school and on weekends with chores. It was expected of my sister and I to "earn our keep" as mom and grandma used to constantly remind us. Every day before school our beds were made and our room was tidy, and after school I was responsible for dusting, washing all the dishes (my sister dried them), and taking care of the dog, BEFORE homework.  Weekly, laundry had to be done and the vacuuming.  After a trip to the grocery store, I had to put everything away (this chore I never minded doing!).   On weekends, I had to earn any time off by cleaning the entire kitchen and the bathroom.  After a satisfactory inspection, I could go play.

I wasn't always happy about this arrangement, I assure you.  I missed a lot of fun activities because chores came first and that was that.  And, there was no moping or whining about it allowed either.  When I got older, a small allowance (and I do mean SMALL) was SOMETIMES given, but it was not to be expected or counted on.

While I complained bitterly as a kid, I now know that it taught me a lot - discipline, neatness, delayed gratification - to name a few things.

Today, as I visit home after home, I find that the majority of kids don't have to do ANYTHING remotely resembling chores.  Either mom or the housekeeper does it, or it just doesn't get done at all.  Yet they have so much stuff and most of it is just strewn around their rooms like so much junk.   Everything is replaceable and anything desired is gotten.  When one of my young clients casually tossed an IPOD into the trash because they had been given a newer model, it was very hard for me to keep quiet.

My adult clients complain about their kids bad habits, but don't seem to associate them with the lack of chores and/or earning some of the non-essential things they get so freely.  So, parents, wise up -  bring back the chores and make your kids EARN their rewards.

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