Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Child Support

That is...support from children....There are a number of things concerning parenting about which I have some very old fashioned, some would say quaint, ideas. That children should be quiet when they are being spoken to, that they need to eat what is put in front of them, that not everything is open to discussion and debate, and that No is a complete sentence.

An old fashioned notion that we are putting into practice here in Abington is the idea that kids should help maintain the household. Now if I had a yard my oldest boy would cut the grass. I don't (that's a battle for my ex wife to wage) but there are things around here with which they are starting to help...and they are not complaining at all about it.

How did I do this you might ask?

Easy...I tricked them.

It started innocently enough...or so they thought. One evening while I was making dinner I asked Oliver to unload the dishwasher. He did so without complaint. Because the kitchen island is next to the dishwasher and I put out a plate of cheese and fruit I was able to lure my 13 year old into the kitchen area to get him to unload the dishwasher. Now, every night before dinner, there is a fruit and cheese plate out in the island and every night Oliver unloads the dishwasher.

Aidan and Fiona are not motivated by plates of healthy food (although I think the promise of jellybeans would get Aidan to do almost anything) so I have to pick my spots with them. They will typically set the table and haul stuff out of the fridge for me.

I confess...I am motivated more by the desire/need to make life easier for me at dinnertime than I am by anything else at this point. But I am mystified by those parents who appear to think that kids are not capable of making a sandwich for themselves...I mean...we are not asking them to operate an atomic super collider...for crying out loud...all it is are two pieces of bread with something between them. I am not at all above telling my kids to make themselves a sandwich or heat up soup for themselves.

Get it yourself...another fashioned idea we are working on around here....Get it for me is up next.


  1. my kids have been helping since they were little. We are all part of a family, and we are all responsible for helping nurture each other. All my kids have their own jobs based on skill level. My little one takes down the recycling, the second oldest takes pride in cleaning the bathrooms, they all love to cook supper once in a while. They ALL fold the laundry together. And, yes, it does make my life easier, but it also teaches them that they are part of a team.

  2. This has been a big debate within my circle of friends recently. My 9 year old empties the dishwasher every day and sorts laundry. 4 year old puts dishes on the counter after dinner. 22 month old is chore free for now. I have friends with two 12 year olds and a 9 year old who say "But our kids won't do chores." Really? They have an option? It is parents like you who are raising a generation of self-indulgent, lazy, entitled children. It frustrates me so much when parents let their children run the household!