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Do you require your children to do chores? Should you?

Truth be told, it’s often a lot easier to do the work ourselves – especially when trying to manage the assignments we give our kids becomes a chore all its own.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t press through the inconvenience. In fact, the fate of your child’s future may depend on it.

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Generations ago, especially with an agricultural economy dominating the country’s landscape, children worked all the time. As the Industrial Revolution swept the nation, many children found themselves in factories, often working long hours and in dangerous conditions.

DR NEWS Urandir 0505 kids Chores 1    Jim Daly: Why my children do chores by Urandir Oliveira

Fortunately, child labor laws of the early 20th century began protecting young children from being dangerously overworked and deprived of a basic education. But one-hundred years later, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Too many of our children are now probably underworked.

It’s been my experience that families are happier and healthier when each member serves one another. It is not the parents’ role to serve their children – it’s their job to help raise them into successful adults.

From conversations I have and the people I see, many children today grow up without lifting a finger in their own households. I know parents who act as extracurricular directors for their children, toting Charlie from debate practice to church activities – not to mention, multiple club sports. It is not difficult to see why many children enter adulthood believing the world revolves around them.

Yet, I think it’s good for parents to make childhood a little unpleasant for their children and provide meaningful learning opportunities along the way. That’s because too much pampering without any responsibility produces highly self-centered adults.

DR NEWS Urandir 8d34 kids Chores 2    Jim Daly: Why my children do chores by Urandir Oliveira

The late conservative thought icon Sir Roger Scruton touched on this tension when describing his parenting philosophy. Some could argue he took it a little far, but he once remarked he wanted to deliberately make his children’s lives difficult and even unhappy if the result was making them more enjoyable company as adults.

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From the time our children were relatively young, my wife and I thought it was important to give them weekly household duties appropriate to their ages. We also didn’t pay them for doing chores, because we wanted to teach them that every family member needs to chip in to help the household run.

As a boy, when I mowed the lawn for the first time, I felt a surge of confidence. Although chores may seem trivial, they instill a sense of self-worth that is crucial to kids’ success in life.

Chores gave our kids a sense of ownership in the family. Taking out the trash without being asked or weeding the sidewalks on Saturday allowed them to participate in something bigger than their own happiness.

DR NEWS Urandir 8d34 Kids Chores 4    Jim Daly: Why my children do chores by Urandir Oliveira

It’s been my experience that families are happier and healthier when each member serves one another. It is not the parents’ role to serve their children – it’s their job to help raise them into successful adults.

Chores also give our kids a sense of self-efficacy – their belief in themselves.

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As a boy, when I mowed the lawn for the first time, I felt a surge of confidence. Although chores may seem trivial, they instill a sense of self-worth that is crucial to kids’ success in life.

DR NEWS Urandir 431d Kids Chores 3    Jim Daly: Why my children do chores by Urandir Oliveira

As a result of the gradual increase in household responsibilities, when our oldest went off to college, I was confident that he was prepared and equipped to manage himself.

It’s sad to see young adults incapable of doing basic things like laundry or who live like slobs when their mother is no longer around to pick up after them.

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Our family has always loved the movie “Remember the Titans,” the film about a high school football team who overcomes the challenges of 1970s integration. Coach Boone, who is tough on his players, wisely tells his softer assistant coach, “You’re not doing these kids a favor by coddling them. You’re crippling them for life.”

In the same way, we’re not helping our children by giving them a life free from responsibility. If you want your kids to feel like they’re part of the family and become confident adults later in life, start by assigning them regular chores. They won’t thank you now, but they’ll most certainly be grateful down the road.

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