Is there value in giving children chores? Maybe a small task around the house or should children concern themselves with little more than play?
Our parenting styles are all different. There are; attachment, nurturing, concerted cultivation, helicopter, strict, slow, punishment/reward, Christian and aware styles, and of course, like most parents we combined a number of these styles to make our own. The main categories are: authoritative, authoritarian, neglectful and indulgent parenting styles and most loosely fall under them and are self-explanatory.
Attachment parenting style is gained through strong bonds through a holistic understanding of your child, similar to the awareness style where the child’s feelings are at the forefront of teaching and discipline.
Nurturing parenting style is a family model that lets the child explore the world under the watchful eye of the family. This reminds me of the Montessori method, creating boundaries and letting them explore within.
Some parents choose to give their children a strict environment where the rules are clearly laid out. While others choose a more friendly approach that is based on sharing their emotions when conflict occurs. In this form talking to the children like adults or friends is the key factor.
Concerted cultivation parenting style caught my attention, as it is a North American parenting style I am all too familiar with. These are the families running from one extracurricular activity to the next, trying to foster their child’s talent. We were sucked into this parenting style when living in Canada, and realized it was not helping our two foster any talents except complete exhaustion, and it left little time to just be a family.
The helicopter mom (or dad) micromanages each and every action, clearing a path before the child, trying to control and save them from any bad experience. Many may have witnesses this behaviour. Imagine a student from your child’s class receiving his or her first report card, and the mother is shocked that the teacher does not understand the true value of the child and marches back into the class to make the teacher understand. In the end the teacher changes the grade thinking it is only kindergarten after all. And the ability to count to ten should not cause this much angst.
Slow parenting style gives children less structured activity, instead focuses on the child’s natural ability to learn allowing children to be children and explore their environment at their own pace. These parents let the children determine what they want to learn in the home environment, organically following the child. The children lead the learning process.
Slow and nurturing yet holding true to a strict environment are our family’s parenting styles of choice. We have resorted to a vast combination of all the styles at different times depending on the situation and the severity of our children’s behaviour. Daniel and Angelina do best when the rules are clear, the consequences are consistent and they have the power to make their own decisions. For instance, if the kids can manage their time to fit in something that is important to them, I have no problem changing our day around. It matters not if homework is done later or earlier, or if dinner is later or earlier, what matters most to me is that the family is a cohesive unit, listening to everyone’s needs. The same goes if I have plans or a meeting and need to change things around. I want the family to have the ability to handle change, and easily maneuver around problems to find solutions.
No matter what your style, or what name you give it, giving them chores may have a positive outcome.
While Alfonz was away during the fall break in Hungary, Daniel and Angelina helped me around the house. I noticed a pride that developed in both children being able to fill in the gap my husband left behind. Both kids brought in firewood, helped set and clear the table for each meal, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher as well as their normal chores: feeding the cat, cleaning their rooms, making their beds and putting their clothes away after I launder them. If I ask them to do something around the house, they do it. Sometimes hesitantly, but they do it.
Daniel stepped up on his own accord, when he noticed I was too busy taking apart and fixing the washing machine after it broke. He took the initiative and made us lunch. After that he simply asked if he could take on the lunch task as his own. It made him feel big and important to help me out when needed and I guess he liked my reaction to his help and continues to do it.
One morning, after a rare lay-in with a head cold, I came down stairs and caught my daughter cleaning the kitchen. Being so short, she managed to clean the fascia of the bottom cupboard doors with a sponge and soapy water until they shined. She also tidied up the living room, putting away anything out of place which is normally done before bed but was too sick to do the night before. They pick up where I left off.
Not everything we try works and there can be conflict. Our home has a strict set up where the rules are clear as to what the children are and are not allowed to do but within that structure the children are able to roam freely and question everything as well as push those boundaries. We create a safe environment for them to learn and as they grow their freedom increases as do their chores.
Our family expectation is that everyone has a part in the running of the house. We help each other in the daily functions and take care of the things we have, respecting our home and getting things done.
What I did not expect is that the children would take initiative when there are holes in the system. Acting as a team, the children naturally took it upon themselves to complete the tasks that were not completed, for whatever reason. It was never asked of them it just happened.
What do you think? Should children be part of the daily chores of the house, or concern themselves with their own tasks?
I would love to know what parenting style your family has developed over the years?