Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chores and kids autonomy

Parents should keep in mind their Parenting goals , especially the long term ones when dealing with ' chores'

When kids act in an autonomous way , they feel self directed , connected to their inner beings and values and feel related and interdependent . The need for independence as opposed to interdependence is often extrinsic , caused by parents being controlling and kids resisting compliance.

Parents who support their children's autonomy will foster relationship, trust, intrinsic motivation and commitment to the home and the quality of their contribution. If we treat our kids like the neighbour's 25 year old kid or a friend , our language will be more respectful and not controlling.

Parents who accept ownership of their home have the attitude that upkeep of the home is their responsibility and do not force kids to do chores but rather promote cooperation in an unconditional way are liberated emotionally when kids leave a mess or are not cooperative and more intrinsically motivated to do housework.  Thoughts like …  he should be helping , he should not leave a mess make one more controlling and angry which hamper being calm and creative in getting kids cooperation. If a tidy home is your responsibility , then if you want help, you can ask. Then we treat it as help and not ' conscripted '  labour.

Parents who accept kids for who they are, appreciate that kids' attitudes to chores and tidiness depends a lot on personality traits and developmental stage will not be controlling. Some kids are ' late starters ' . Supporting a kids autonomy will help them create a positive attitude to chores .

Parents should help kids generate their own goals and how they would like their room and home to look like as well as appreciating their parents goals.

Kids should be able to generate and choose  tasks they find more enjoyable . Parents should also provide choices and options. They should try to see things from their kids' perspectives, and respect the way they would like to do things.  The home is not a work place and your kid is not your worker. You can tell your worker how to do things. If we have a problem afterwards , we can make suggestions on how to improve things. 

Children should have ' their own space' over which they have more say. If kids share rooms , they would need to problem solve and find a mutually satisfying solution. If their standards bother us , we could try some  CPS . One solution could be us asking if they would not mind us cleaning the room. We must realize that the cleaning is for us , not for them and we shouldn't expect them to appreciate it.

Everything should be ' discussable ' , even those tasks which might be a ' must'. Kids should be encouraged to ask questions, express their feelings, be open, and parents should answer questions fully , carefully and in a relaxed way so they kid feels understood and that the parent cares for him. Parents should  express confidence in the ability of the kid to do his job well and leaves things up to him.

Problems should be solved in a collaborative way , addressing the kid's concerns, their needs for autonomy , our concerns and then  looking for mutually satisfying solutions and certainly not making 'fun' contingent on doing chores.

If we have been coercing kids for years and forcing them to do chores , our change in attitude is unlikely to be magical . They could still see this as a new way to get them to do chores. When they see change is more about changing ourselves , they will change to.


1 comment:

  1. I think that the issue of autonomy for kids is indeed an extremely complex one. There are many strands of activity that influence how it has come to be expressed in the present and, thereafter, how it gets carried forward. I would say that autonomy would be a healthy balance between independence and dependence. In modern society a person needs to be quite independent at the same time as having the capacity to ask for support when it is needed. Engendering a healthy balance between autonomy and supportability is a great challenge for parents and educators alike.