Archive for the ‘Raising Able: how chores cultivate capable confident young people’ category

Chores are the anti-spoiler

September 20, 2010
Chores are the anti-spoiler. It's impossible to be entitled if you clean toilets, sweep the floor and do dishes. Chores are good for the child and family because the family works as a team. The parents can retire as the house servants. Children feel like they belong and they gain self-esteem, skill and confidence.

Bree stretches to set the table. It's good for kids to stretch to do complex and high chores.

Some 94 percent of children are spoiled reports Richard Bromfield, a psychologist who works at Harvard Medical School and author of a new book, “How to unspoil your child” written up in the Boston Globe yesterday.

Here’s my favorite quote in the article: Q: “What’s one simple strategy to unspoil a child?” A: “Give and do less. Only by sometimes not getting does a child learn gratitude. Only by waiting does a child learn patience.”

That is a wonderful concise simple concept.

When parents give and do less, children have to give and do more, which means they can start setting the table before they can reach the table, like Bree. They can do the dishes every night, empty the dishwasher, cooking and doing yard work as a family, light housekeeping and as the children mature, take on bigger family projects together.

The daily ritual and responsibility of doing dishes every night is a way for children to do more. It benefits them and their family because children will feel connected to their families, and family connection is critical according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

One of the key ways to insure healthy teens is for them to feel connected to family and school, according to that  long-term comprehensive study of 15,000 students in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

Parents flex what I call the TripleEe — empowerment, expectation and encouragement — when children do chores. Chores empower children by giving them self-confidence, self-discipline and responsibility. Expecting and encouraging children to do chores is the most effective and peaceful way to involve children in family housework.

To get your family going on chores start with a family meeting. See my free Tip Sheets on family meetings and “Give me a job.” Parents have the added benefit of being able to retire as the house servant when they unspoil and empower children with chores.

It’s fun to work together and many hands make light work, even if the hands are little and it takes extra time to include them. It’s well worth the investment.

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Calling photos of children — even you — doing chores. Win $50.

August 31, 2010

Little kids ADORE chores. This is me at age 4 or 5 ironing. I couldn't wait until I got a pillowcase or handkerchief to iron. Chore make children feel good about themselves. Chores nurture self esteem. Chores teach responsibility.

That's me ironing at age 5 in about 1963. I eagerly waited for handerchiefs, dresser scarves and pillowcases to iron.

This photo says so much about how my parents raised their nine children. We all had chores and those chores taught us self-discipline and nurtured our self-esteem because we contributed to the family. Today, most of us are in business for ourselves. We’re very self-directed and I attribute that to doing dishes regularly.

Do you have a photo of YOU doing chores? Or of your children doing chores? Post it on my Raise Able Young People Facebook page. While you’re there, vote (LIKE) for your favorite photo of a little person working. The winner – to be determined by Sept. 7, 2010, will win a $50 gift card.

Chores are the anti-brat remedy. It’s impossible to be entitled when you take out the trash, scoop dog poop and sweep floors. Chores teach children about life. Sometimes we have to do things whether we want to or not.

Some of my best memories growing up are doing dishes with my brothers and sisters. It was fun to rake leaves, clean out the garage and paint the house together. I felt important.

I loved when I was old enough to paint a radiator while my older brothers painted the walls. They carefully instructed me, “Watch out for drips!” I didn’t know that painting radiators was boring and time-consuming. I relished being part of the action. Painting the radiator was challenging. Instead of bugging them or tagging along with them, I was helping.

By the way, today I don’t iron very much. I got into the Zen of Ironing then. The skill has transferred to other areas of my life ūüôā

Motivate without money

May 26, 2010
This is thankless work, requiring high motivation. Daniel Pink has written a book called "Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us." Encouragement is really important, and he also identifies master, autonomy and purpose. I had to have all three to motivate me to do this thankless task.

I'm putting nets around Purple Loosestrife to grow beetles to kill other loosestrife.

I just read “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” by Daniel Pink. I was so impressed by the book that I included¬†some of his ideas ¬†in the next edition of my book, “Raising Able: How to retire as the family servant,” about how childhood chores are a valuable teaching tool.

Pink says money is the LEAST motivating factor, even though it is the most commonly offered reward to influence the behavior of others.

Mastery, autonomy and purpose are the strongest motivators of people and primates, according to research, Pink reported.

Researchers were astounded to find monkeys puzzling over puzzles long after the rewards were consumed — for the sheer challenge of figuring out the puzzles.

It’s the same with motivating children, spouses, employees, co-workers and friends and neighbors. People want to work for mastery, autonomy and purpose. When people are given the freedom [autonomy] to do a job right [mastery], they can connect to the purpose behind the task, according to Pink.

So it is with children, who also like to contribute to the family good because it proves their family depends on them, they are important and they belong.

You’re asking, “Why the loosestrife photo?”¬†It was a thankless job with several complex steps to grow a crop of beetles on it [hence the nets] that will reproduce. In six weeks, I’ll deliver the next crop of beetles from under the nets to a waterway clogged with loosestrife and I’ll have done my part to eliminate this invasive species.

What motivated me? Mastery — it was complex; autonomy — no one was making me do it; and¬†purpose — I’m helping the environment. Now I need a glass of iced tea and an hour in the hammock.

The importance of a mother’s acceptance

May 14, 2010

A smashing book launch party

May 13, 2010

The book launch party was a success because of my support crew. So many people came from so many areas of my life, it was like a big birthday party for me. I really appreciated the love, support and encouragement. The dog started reading the book and had some comments.

The kitchen sink faucet broke 15 minutes before the party started and stayed broken even though Bob tried to fix it. NO WORRIES! It was a wonderful party and launched the marketing efforts of “Raising Able: how chores cultivate capable confident young people.”

I really appreciated my daughter Casey’s contributions as official party helper. It made the party much more fun and less stressful. I felt supported and loved. My son Noah came to the party and I forgot to give him a chore. Oh well, he would have if I asked. I was happy he came.

Gonzo is reading my recently published book, "Raising Able: how chores cultivate capable confident young people." Gonzo is learning about how to get teenagers, teens, children and toddlers to behave, without praise, pay, punishment or reward. They only get allowances when they contribute the welfare of the family. Why not retire from being the house servant?

I'm not motivated by money, either.

Casey and Bob support me in getting ready for the party. A key element to reducing stress in families is ASKING FOR HELP. CAsey is making cookies for the book launch party and Bob is fixing the broken spigot. They are my support system. It takes a village to raise a child.

My support system for the book launch party. My eldest daughter Casey is making chocolate chip cookies and my husband, Reliable Bob, is fixing the faucet that broke 15 minutes before the party started.

Radical idea for family meetings

May 5, 2010

This tip for family meetings comes from deborah@fiveminuteparent.com.

“I know of several families who hold their meetings at places that cater to their favorite hobbies. For instance, one family conducts their meeting at a bowling alley. Once the meeting is over, they enjoy bowling together. Another family combines their gathering with their love of books, by meeting at a caf√© in their favorite bookstore. And yet another family I know holds their weekly meeting after a joyful round of put-put golf. This option combines family communication and fun.”

I love it. It adds spice to family meetings and gives everyone something to look forward to. It builds family fun into the meeting. Having a family meeting somewhere fun is like an off-site business meeting that puts everyone into a jovial mood.

Where would you have your ideal family meeting?

Where are you going to schedule your next family meeting?