Ninety percent of mothers have this very problem with their kids. We are worried, tired, and frustrated because of this behavior. When our children never do anything at home, not only are they becoming extremely dependent on you, but also somehow, everything becomes your responsibility. Moreover, children start taking you for granted.
The situation is definitely disturbing, and it is time you act upon it. As parents, our job is not to cater to each and every requirement of our child, but it is to make them responsible for themselves.
I am sure it gets extremely annoying for you, and with good reason. However, don’t lose all your hopes just yet. We have a solution just for you and all the worried parents out there who are sailing in the same boat.
First things first…
See, what we need to understand is that our children have not been doing this since before. It is a new concept for them. Even if you have been thinking about it for quite a while, they were not even thinking about it. So, we need to let them get there first. So the question we need to ask ourselves is “did we teach them to share responsibility when they were very young?” Expecting a 9 years or a teenager to suddenly start doing things at home is a little unfair.
We need to accept that they are going to come across a lot of challenges while implementing it. We need to be as supportive as we can be about it. This support will give them the positive energy to keep going. And once you understand their challenges, you can be more receptive towards them.
Discuss as a family.
You have to bring your children on the same page. Whatever your issues are, you can discuss them with your kids. When we talk to our kids maturely, they will reciprocate in kind. It can take a few tries, but they also adapt it. So, as this is a family issue, you should talk as a family about it.
It is a problem that a family member is facing. So, when you tell them that the extra workload is getting too much for you and that as it is everyone’s home and everyone should contribute, they will be receptive. However, you need to keep in mind that your tone should be calm, and you should be very positive when you are conveying your point.
In a discussion, everyone gets to speak. So, you also have to listen to your kids with an open mind if you want them to do so themselves. Such a discussion will give you amazing results.
Have a family meeting.
Whatever chores, rules, and regulations are to be instituted, must be put forth in a family meeting where everyone gets to have a say in it. Whatever is decided, it should be a mutual decision.
When children are involved in the decision-making process, they are willing to act on it. However if they think that someone is forcing rules and responsibilities on them, they will be very reluctant. So, have a family meeting and whatever tasks have to be assigned, finalize on them together.
You cannot expect them to pick up everything at once.
When your children start doing chores, they cannot do all the ten chores that they have been assigned starting from day one. You need to gradually add the tasks one after the other.
So, when you are deciding as a family, don’t take up a target that is unachievable. Take something that can be accomplished. If we have unrealistic expectations from our children, it creates a hindrance in the actual process. It also plays with your mental state.
When you see that your kids are not doing all the assigned chores, you are going to be more agitated. And when you are going to be upset, it is passed on to your kids too. How will they succeed in taking up responsibility when they are busy freaking out about what you are thinking?
One thing that we can be sure about is that it will happen as we are on the right path, but we should not hurry a process. Just let it flow naturally into them. We don’t want them to do everything just for a few days because they were asked to do it. Rather, we want our kids to do it for the rest of their life because they want to do it.
Assign age appropriate tasks.
We need to think carefully about the responsibilities that we are putting on our children very carefully. Our children should become completely responsible by the age of 15-16. For this to happen you must start early, maybe when the child is under 5. It can begin with just picking the utensils and keeping them in the kitchen. But if it hasn’t been started that time, begin now but do it slowly. We are creatures of habits. So change will take time.
What tasks we give them should be assigned with the view of making them independent at the target age. We need to see to it what tasks we are giving them, are they too less for their age or too much for their age? It will take time in the beginning to separate between the two, but eventually you will get it.
Don’t nag them.
Our main aim is to make our children responsible. And it cannot be achieved if you are constantly reminding them. Responsibility comes naturally when it is taught at a young age.
We worry that our kids will do nothing till we tell them to do it. My question to you is, how long will they not do it? At some point they will realise that they have to do it on their own because no one is going to remind them or do it for them.
Insist on their completion.
We do not want to nag, but we also have to see to it that the tasks are completed or not. So, what we can do here is we will assign them the tasks and give them a deadline. For example you can say to your kids that, “see, your room has become messy.
It has to be cleaned. By when will you complete it?” Here you are giving them some work and asking them how much time they need. It makes them feel like they have a choice.
Now, that a deadline is decided, we will not at all remind them before the deadline. Once the time is up, if even then the work is not complete, wait for some more time, and then remind about it again in a calm and mature tone. Trust me, it works.
We need to motivate our children to become independent and responsible. We need to make them understand the reason behind these tasks is not for your fun or relaxation, it is for their benefit. It is going to be helpful for them in the future.
Once children understand this, they will start doing it on their own, which is what we wanted in the first place. You need to keep reminding them that they are growing up now and that it is time for them to become responsible kids. It will definitely give them a boost to take up this challenge.