Chores: why do a lot of parents withhold this instructive ‘right of passage’ from their children?!?

Before Dr. Spock, it seems that kids were pretty much beaten into submission (generally speaking). Dr. Spock introduced the radical notion that parents should be more flexible and affectionate with their children.

My dad was a bit of a pre-Dr. Spock father, typically employing ominous threats of severe punishment to get us working around the house. I remember waking up Saturday mornings and racing to the TV to catch Scooby Doo and Justice League (you know, the one with the Wonder Twins and the weird monkey). Well, I’d be greeted by my dad holding a long list of chores for me to do.

Let’s define chores. For the purpose of this discussion, I am not talking about a child clearing his/her ‘place’ after dinner or cleaning his/her bedroom. I am referring to the day-to-day household chores and weekend projects where some help. Emptying the dishwasher, taking out trash, helping to rake leaves; these are the kind of chores I’m talking about.


As parents in today’s society, we seem to have over-done the Dr. Spock approach. Perhaps some of us are compensating because of a childhood full of grueling chores? However, one must draw a line if you want to have self-sufficient kids instead of spoiled or overly sensitive kids, in my opinion.

Out of both my kids’ classes, only 2 or 3 other parents make their kids do chores?!? I just don’t get it. At the risk of offending parents, why don’t you have your kids do chores?

It seems to be there are about six explanations for this. Like most things in life, it’s probably not just one but a combination of reasons from the list below:

  1. You are too busy to notice your kids are complete free-loaders.
  2. You have a LOT of free time and enjoy picking up after your kids in addition to all of the other stuff you have to do.
  3. You believe it’s a cruel and unusual punishment to make a child do chores
  4. Your child is a nightmare, and the mere thought of trying to make them do chores is both exhausting and dreadful.
  5. You are wealthy, so you have have plenty of domestic help to clean up after your children.

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