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naomiS

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Thanks Yvette

13/09/2010 - 11:34

Oh we are all learning and all fall on our faces all too often. Mine are far from perfect, but I'm happy as to how they are tracking in the chores stakes.

Love the site and once we are in to our new farm, will contact you and see if we can arrange a catch-up.

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Chores

11/09/2010 - 15:06

Oh dear. Now I've been drawn into your wonderful blog!!!

So can I ask -- why you say never, ever?

Isn't parenting about looking at the temperaments of our kids, their needs, the areas where they have strengths and weaknessness, the family's life circumstances and the impact those circumstances are having on our kids, the community around them and the values of their peers? Shouldn't we all then teach and nurture them accordingly, not according to some preconceived formula?

And I would also ask -- isn't it possible, in some circumstances that offering them some extra chores for pocket money, may be a wonderful way of preparing our kids for independence and instilling in them a good work ethic (and avoiding at all costs the sense of entitlement that too many of our kids develop when given too much without a cost/effort?)

We have two teens aged 15 and 17. In many ways they are typical teens. All too often drop and run -- and all too often use the kitchen and leave it in a shambles! But they generally do their chores with minimal grumbling.

They have chores that are non negotiable (and we find a written list helps enormously)-- feeding the animals, mowing lawns, dishes,some cooking and such. They will also wash cars when asked and also help us enormously on the farm and with our owner building without any money and few grumbles (I know...I thank God and am amazed every day!)

They are country kids and have really wanted some big purchases over the years -- such as motor cycles. So we discussed these things as a family and at initial purchase and each motor bike 'upgrade' have met them halfway including birthday, Christmas, gifts from grandparents and also assigning them extra tasks to earn their parts. It may be cleaning 1000 old sandstock bricks from our backyard, or extra whipper-snipping a 5 acre house yard!!etc. They have worked very long and very hard to achieve their goals and I think it has done them the world of good!!! They also have ongoing costs such as bike fuel, services, gear and at times we will negotiate extra chores.

We feel that if they are doing their chores, doing their homework (sometimes it takes a push), going to school, helping in the community, surely there is no harm if they want extras (and we are not high earners) in rewarding that diligence.

Both our boys have also held jobs since age 14 (one in a restaurant kitchen and one making pizzas in the local pizza restaurant). But sometimes they need extras (like school skiing -- another huge outlay, but huge opportunity) and so we talk and work that through again.

Not once have either of them asked what we were going to pay for them to do normal chores as you seem to fear :). If that happenned, we would smile and wink and say something like 'nice try bud -- but now go and do your blasted chores' and that would be the end of it. I can't imagine feeling any horror.

If they were to say it regularly and in a whining entitled way -- I would be worried -- but I think there are many, many factors that lead to that kind of behaviour (and indeed after a particularly hard time in our lives which in hindsight matured our kids enormously-- we thought we'd surprise our 15 y-o with a really special, expensive techno gadget and he then started acting really grumpy and spoiled because he couldn't get something on it working. We had to get him aside and explain that behaviour showed us that rather than helping him and showing him love, it was actually making him spoiled and damaging him -- and he behaved much better after that :)

We have made many mistakes in our parenting -- letting musical instruments fall by the wayside, letting boundaries slip, but we do have two gorgeous, healthy teens.

They work hard and we get constant compliments on the confident and engaging young men they are. We have very few sullen moments with them and really like their many, many friends.

Their employers tell us they have a great work ethic and when we recently changed bus routes, their old driver stopped me to compliment us on the spirited but obedient and polite, engaging kids they are.

When they get to nan and pops, they jump on the ride-on mower without being asked -- because they know it is getting too much for pop. At times when they know I am falling apart with the busyness of life, they will clean the whole house -- polish, vac, bathrooms as a surprise when we are out.

One son is now a very good budgeter and looks after his possessions well.

The other is more impulsive, and doesn't budget as well, but when we collect for The Salvos or pack Christmas hampers he has often often gone and bought extras to add to the present mix ( if there are categories they are low on). Recently, really worried about a homeless man in town, in the cold Alpine weather -- he spontaneously took $50 out of his bank account to offer him to help him find a meal or accommodation.

So as I said they are often just typical blokey annoying teens and drive us to distraction -- and maybe it is just God's grace, or two years of real struggle that shaped character, or maybe it is being part of a farming community where many of the kids are polite, from intact families and have to work hard on family farms --but you know what, I really think offering them extra chores for pay also helped that character building process.

Anyway, I know life can change in a flash especially in the teen years, but I would encourage everyone, from our experience so far, to consider a balance of chores -- some just for the love of family and the community -- but also some extra chores to learn the true value of work and possessions :)

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