I can’t believe that I am writing about chores again….
However, it is August and we have totally slacked at keeping up with our “family work” routine and expectations this summer.
So it shouldn't have been such a big shock today when I hit the wall. I looked around at all the clutter, thought about all the times this summer when I nonchalantly asked the kids to help out with something extra, and how they responded with moans and groans, and felt myself on the verge of freak-out.
I recently interviewed Amy McCready on the Joyful Courage Parenting Podcast after reading her new book, The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic: A Step By Step Guide To Raising Capable Grateful Kids In An Over-Entitled World and I have become HYPER SENSITIVE to the entitlement seed that exists in my kids.
Yes, I take full responsibility.
Being a Positive Discipline Trainer, I know that using routines to teach and not doing things for my kids that they could be doing for themselves, is key for them to develop all the skills they need to feel a sense of belonging and significance. And for them to also be developing gratitude and generosity.
Knowing this and practicing this are two different things.
I have created monsters.
No, not really. My kids are all sorts of awesome, and I recognize where we could all use some work.
So, what’s a mom to do?
Today I said, “I think we should suspend allowance until you guys are back in the routine of helping out…”
I am not totally comfortable with this statement, but boy did it get them moving!
The daughter popped up and vacuumed the whole upstairs (something her dad had asked her to do a few days ago), and the boy quickly moved into the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher.
We don’t pay our kids for chores. We see their weekly allowance as money management practice, and an out for when they want something, “Do you have any money?”
I also believe that the fact they get a weekly stipend is a privilege. And privileges are earned through responsibility. So, while we aren’t paying them to do chores, we are recognizing the responsibility they display through contributing in the home.
It’s slippery though… The memory of my then fiver year old son looking at me with solemn eyes while stating, “It’s ok mom, you don’t have to pay me…. I don’t want to clean my room.” Remains fresh in my mind…
I remember thinking all those years ago, that’s why I don’t pay for chores – because it makes them negotiable…
AND, the fact that my kids receive an allowance is a privilege.
And it's not tied to chores.
But is it tied to responsibility? Everything in my body says yes.
Hmmmm… This is one I am going to continue to play with.
And I will keep in touch about how it goes…
In the meantime, we will be revisiting routines during our next few Family Meetings (another routine that has fallen to the wayside in during the summer months). I will share how I am feeling and request help. The kids will be encouraged to give ideas and we will make a new plan for contributing to the work of keeping up with the house and taking care of ourselves.
What are your thoughts about this?? Leave a comment and let me know!