Want To Prevent Raising Entitled Kids? Don’t Pay Them For Chores
There is a big mistake parents make, identified by sociologists...
Our kids belong to a privileged generation. They do not know what hunger is. They only need to go to a shop and say, “Mummy, I want this”, and it’s theirs for the taking. Hard work (and we’re not talking about school work) is usually a foreign concept. But when they grow up and encounter the challenges of the “real world”, these kids are at a loss. And no parent wants this for their children. This begs the question how not to raise entitled kids?
One sociologist believes she has the answer.
How not to raise entitled kids: Accept your children’s help
Heather Beth Johnson, sociologist at Lehigh University, believes that when mums and dads pay their kids for something they ought to be doing as part of the family, that sends a message of entitlement.
The sociologist, who studies families and wealth inequality, says these kids, especially from upper middle class families, will soon expect rewards for the most menial of tasks. Instead, parents should teach their kids to help around the house as they are part of the “household team” and need to contribute to the family.
David Lancy, former Professor of Anthropology at Utah State University, studied how families schedule chores worldwide. He finds that that all around the world, children are eager to help around the house at 18 months old. Some cultures already have children doing age-appropriate chores because they want to contribute to the family, without an allowance.
On the other hand, he observes that some parents do everything for their kids, denying them the chance to help. For instance, doing chores while they sleep, or scheduling activity after activity for them. This makes kids feel that helping is a “burden”.
By the time they get old enough, they don’t even bother to offer any help anymore.
Tying chores to money confuses kids
She stresses that when a child has chores to do around the house, they learn family responsibility. It’s also an indicator of how your son or daughter will excel in their career. Chores makes your child a team player.
Paying your children for taking out the garbage, washing the plates or cleaning their room has no real benefits, she says.
Having said that, she feels that it’s alright for children to earn an allowance if they do additional chores at home, or if its a weekly/monthly allowance that’s completely unrelated to the chores they do.
How to get your kids to help with household chores
It’s never too young for your kids to help out around the house – especially if they’re volunteering to help. They will be asking plenty of questions, so you need to be patient. Take the time to explain how and why you do the things you do around the house.
Be willing to settle for less. Their bed might be made with wrinkles all over, clothes folded won’t look perfect and books will be shelved in all sorts of directions. But it’s a start, and you should praise their efforts.
Task your kids to make their bed after waking up. They can also learn to use the vacuum and dust furniture. Additionally, they should always be putting away their toys when they’re done playing with them.
When preparing food, your kids can help wash fruits and vegetables, and set the table for dinner. When the family is done eating, ask your children to help put away unbreakable, safe items on the dining table. After a weekly trip to NTUC, your kids can also help put away the groceries.
Teach your kids how to sort laundry into different piles – one for whites, one for colours. After the clothes have been washed and dried, they can also help match socks, fold underwear, napkins and towels, and deliver the clothes to family members.
Don’t forget to praise your child for a job well done. Teaching your children the value of a strong work ethic will help them throughout their lifetime as they grow up into proactive adults.