There are usually two sides to the chore debate: those that pay for chores, and those that don’t. I am on the “don’t pay for chores” side and I would like to tell you why.
Why My Children Don’t Get Paid for Chores
They Live Here Too – We are family, we all live in the same house. We all contribute to the dust, dirt, grime, clutter, etc. Therefore we will all work to clean it up. So when I ask someone to vacuum and they protest, I say, “Did you spend time in this room this week? Then you contributed to the dirt and you can contribute to cleaning it.”
Teamwork and Community – Learning to pitch in and help is teaching good teamwork and community skills. Working for the greater good and not just because you made the mess is an important skill to cultivate.
Someday They Will Move Out – Someday our kids will move out of our house and have to manage a place of their own. That means they will need to know how to dust, what cleaning products to use for what job, how to sort and fold laundry, etc.
It Isn’t About The Money – If I am paying my children to do chores it becomes about the money, and that isn’t what I want the focus to be. I want them to learn to be diligent workers, even when no one is looking! I want them to learn the value of cleaning up after oneself so the mess doesn’t get out of hand.
In the end I want them to learn about hard work, teamwork, and the value of doing a good job. I will often hear moms talk about how they make their kids lunches and prepare their snacks at night, how they are always picking up after them and doing all the housework. For just a moment I will feel twinge of guilt that my children make their own lunches and prepare their snacks, and then I realize that I am creating capable human beings, ones that will grow up knowing how to care for themselves and help maintain a household. It is then that I don’t feel guilty anymore.
I am a pessimist and a perfectionist and while I can usually keep this to myself, sometimes I struggle with projecting this onto my kids. My problem? Kids need their buckets filled up and not emptied. They need positive, encouraging words. Now I am not saying that they should be praised at every turn, but instead that we should look for the good, point it out, and encourage our children in this way.
20 Positive Things to Say to Your Kids
In case you are like me and sometimes focus too much on the “no” or the negative, I would like to give you some ideas of things to say that are positive and encouraging, without overly praising. Using positive and encouraging words in a natural and organic manner helps build your children up and creates a loving and supportive relationship between you and your kids.
- I’m grateful for you.
- You make me proud.
- You have great ideas.
- I love being your parent.
- You don’t have to be perfect to be great.
- You are important.
- I believe in you.
- You were right.
- We can try it your way.
- You are helpful.
- Don’t be afraid to be you.
- Being around you is fun.
- That’s a great question.
- I’m so glad you’re here.
- We all make mistakes.
- Not everyone will like you, and that is o.k.
- I love you.
- You are very good at that!
- Yes, me too!
- That was a really great choice.
I think it is a good thing I wasn’t just handed a teenager to parent! Learning to navigate the emotional teen waters and keep lines of communication open can be difficult. I had a friend that assured me when I had my first and I worried about these things, that I would learn and grow with my child and in turn be more equipped to handle each stage as it came. She was right.
Ways to Improve Communication With Your Teen
While I certainly don’t even come close to knowing everything, or am fabulous and handling all situations, I do feel as though I have grown and changed as she has, and just that has helped me feel less anxious and more equipped.
- Don’t Be Emotional – I find that the “A” number one thing I can do oh so badly is keep my emotions in check. If you are running off raging about something they did or didn’t do, or get all weepy and sad, or even if you are too enthusiastic, you can send your teen running for their rooms!
- Listen – This a tough one for me as I like to talk and I tend to be the alpha in everything. I work hard to stop what I am doing when my teen is talking, even if it doesn’t seem all that important. YOUR ATTENTION MATTERS! They still want to be heard and counted and loved.
- Pick Your Battles – Sometimes it just isn’t worth it. You can nit pick at every little thing. They won’t do everything the way you do, nor should they have to. For instance, I can’t see my daughter’s bedroom floor. She actually calls her floor “the closet”. UGH! But in the grand scheme of things I have learn to let this go as a daily battle and instead save my stance for something more important, like the treatment of her siblings.
- Try To See It Through Their Eyes – While you don’t have to condone or agree with the things your teen may say or do, try to see it from their perspective. Giving them even a little element and understanding, a recognition of their feelings, can go a long way.