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June 13, 2017

12 Comments

‘It’s all about me, me, me!’

Technological inventions have made life easier around the home and have meant fewer and fewer chores for the kids.

In August, Treasurer Scott Morrison warned that “Australia has a generation growing up expecting government handouts”.

Researchers have labelled this the “Me Generation”. Some even say we are facing a “me, me, me epidemic”.

So why have today’s young people become more narcissistic? According to research, the decrease in young people’s levels of empathy is partly the result of changes in parenting styles that came about in the 1980s.

In the past, parents had children as a means to gain practical and even financial support for family survival and to help it thrive. But now, children are perceived as an emotional asset whose primary purpose is being loved. Parents now tend to place greater emphasis on cultivating the happiness and success of their offspring.

What led to this change in parenting style?

From the 1980s onwards, children have spent fewer hours doing chores around the house as living conditions and technology – including the invention of washing machines and dishwashers – have improved.

Nowadays children are no longer perceived as contributors whose work is essential for the survival of the family and its ability to thrive.

Parental focus has shifted from the development of family responsibility to the development of children’s happiness and success.

As a result, children’s sense of entitlement has been inflated, but the cultivation of responsibility has fallen by the wayside. So chores are not valued as much as they used to be.

This is particularly the case for young people in China, often labelled “little emperors” and “little princesses”, who were born under the one-child policy between 1979 and 2015.

These children’s parents, most of whom had gone through hardship in
China’s Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution, vowed not to allow what they had suffered to happen to their only child. They became overwhelmingly dedicated to their child, which resulted in many children shouldering no family responsibilities, including chores.

It is also the case for children in the West. Research has found that less than 30% of American parents ask their children to do chores.

As academic Richard Rende said in his book Raising Can-Do Kids:

“Parents today want their kids spending time on things that can bring them success, but ironically, we’ve stopped doing one thing that’s actually been a proven predictor of success — and that’s household chores.”

How responsibility can develop a family bond

Traditionally, chores were a family obligation. They were hard and tedious.

But research suggests engaging in routine chores helps children to develop a sense of social justice, because everyone has to do them, which inculcates the idea of fairness. Chores can also provide a vehicle for children to cultivate a family bond and a sense of responsibility.

The development of social justice in children means that children view their relationship with their parents as a two-way thing, rather than it being one-sided.

A family bond has two interacted dimensions: that parents love their children and that children are grateful for the sacrifices their parents made.

The ConversationFor the latter, only through moral reasoning and, more importantly, discipline (chores) can parental love be translated into practice and mutual love between parents and children and a family bond be developed.

Shi Li, Lecturer in Chinese language and culture, University of New England

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Parenting expert Dr Justin adds, “The word ‘chores’ can illicit a grunt or a groan from kids far and wide in this generation. However, research suggests that contributing to the household tasks is a predictor for success as it helps develop a child’s sense of social justice, responsibility, and an understanding of fairness.”

Do you delegate age-appropriate chores to your children?
 
Are we raising a generation of self absorbed Aholes?

Share your comments below.

Stock photo

  • it is an important skill and sets them up for life. they are learning to contribute to the household and they are learning that the are valuable. Age appropriate chores, of course. Picking up toys is always a great start


    • Picking up toys at a really young age seems to be fun, when they are little older they resent having to do it. We have whinges about clothes being dirty. They dump them on the floor, not in the washing basket. They each have one in their bedrooms, Sometimes there is clean clothes on the floor as well because they tossed them there rather than put them away. Consequently they even the 6 y.o. has to vacuum his own room.

    Reply

  • My son does chores. It’s an important process in understanding how the world works and in creating a harmonious family unit, where everybody contributes.

    Reply

  • I’m not going to set chores my son must do but he won’t get pocket money unless he earns it either.

    Reply

  • My older kids made their own lunches for kinder and school (now in high school), they have to feed our pets, clean up after dinner and now they wash their own clothes. In about 2 years my son will be out on his own, he needs to know how to do everything for himself

    Reply

  • Parents need to know that by enforcing chores they are helping their children develop into responsible adults.

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  • Even toddlers should learn to do little things like put their toys, books etc. away when they have finished using them or before they go to bed at night. Some parents let toddlers as young as under 2 y.o. get the milk out of the fridge for bottles to be filled or drinks made, then put it away again. Considering the weight of a plastic bottle of milk I dread them dropping it on their feet. One I know used to let her daughter drop used plates into the sink. The little one couldn’t see or reach down into the sink. Fortunately the parents kept some water in the sink so luckily nothing was broken.

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  • Think the more modern families are – my children wanted to get into the workforce around 17 – 18 and also wanted to leave home and support themselves. Their children however are still at home in their late 20’s and show no sign of getting married, having their own home or anything. Something went wrong.

    Reply

  • I think some children do get away with not doing much with some children not having time due to having so many activates being made for them to get ahead in this world. My youngest are four and do their fair share of chores in the household. They are responsible for their area that includes a playroom, bedrooms and a child sized bathroom. These rooms must be kept tidy with me doing a major clean on a school day. They also have other jobs around and outside the house. Their siblings still living at home also do their fair bit depending on school/work/sport.

    Reply

  • We certainly ask our kids to help, but it can be a challenge to enforce.

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  • I’m a little guilty of that. My daughter is in high school and with the fact that she goes out of the house before 7 and she’s not back before 5:15 or 5:30, I want her to rest so she doesn’t do anything around the house. She just helps out clearing the table.

    Reply

  • RIP little angels
    thinking of their loving family at this difficult time

    Reply

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