Saturday, April 20, 2013

Unschooling, Part 3: Chores

This was one I reacted to before I read any information. I felt like kids SHOULD absolutely help around the house (the amount should increase as they get older). The suggestion that they shouldn't have to do anything and their parents should be the maids that cleans up behind them is crazy. But. . .

After actually reading the thinking behind this, I've had a major change of heart. First, there's no saying kids won't clean; it's just that parents shouldn't force them to clean. The recommendation being you ask the kids to help and they do or don't. If they do, thank them sincerely for any help and if they don't, let it go.

A lot of things struck me about this. One, the immediate reaction I had speaks to a sort of prejudice I think the vast majority of parents have about kids: that they are inherently bad. I don't think anyone really thinks it outright but people say kids will take advantage/run wild if you don't control them. When they make bad choices, we see it as what they want to do (as in they make a thought out choice to hit or call a name). I feel like I'm not explaining this well but my point is just that I have that prejudice too. And I had mostly let go of it for babies (ie, babies will manipulate you to get you pick them up/you'll spoil kids by picking them up too much) but not kids.

Maggie WANTS to be good and helpful and kind. If I give her the chance, she will do those things. I can't think of a single time I've asked her (nicely) to help me and she hasn't (not saying it hasn't happened). I can think of a million times when I've asked her to help me with something and she runs to help. Or when I start and ask her to join in and she does without a thought.

Part of it too is not making arbitrary chores. When I was still planning on giving her chores, I WAS having to kind of make up things so she'd have chores. Like making her bed. Who cares? I make my bed sometimes but just because I like it.

A really good point that I read on this site is that you are damaging your relationship every time you force/nag/yell at your kids to clean something. They might do it but at what cost. And who wants to help when they're being treated like that. Again, Maggie almost always helps IF I ask her nicely and thank her.

No comments: