Here's the reality, and American society's dirty little secret-many kids don't learn how to wash their clothes, cook a meal, mow a lawn, make a bed, or even effectively wash a dish until they've moved out of the house. (In other words, you're not the only one with a demanding slug for a child!) Yet, most people agree that kids do benefit from having a role in the daily operations of the family.
Figuring out the right amount of responsibility is a balancing act. Kids work very hard. Between schoolwork, learning to deal with social situations, and, for many kids, their many extracurricular involvements, kids have very little “down” time. They need a chance to play, relax, daydream, nap. At the same time, teaching children life skills (and I'm talking kids of both sexes here, by the way) has a number of benefits:
It's a Good Idea!
Think about the benefits of family responsibilities as more than just learning survival skills. It's the participation that matters. Participating in family responsibilities helps a child develop essential social skills.
- A person who enters college, or an independent living situation, with life skills will have a far easier time living with roommates.
- Family responsibilities teach basic discipline.
- The skills learned from having family responsibilities include time management, prioritizing tasks, and general organizational abilities.
- With family participation, the parents don't have to slave their life away serving the royal offspring.
- Most importantly, the child understands that he is part of a community (your family) and that as a member of the community, he needs to share responsibilities to keep the community going.