Posted in *Workshops, Fragile Life, Mid-Life Mama, Nuts & Bolts, Teens, Tweens, What's Next? (18 & beyond)

CHORES–Why they’re WORTH the FIGHT

children-parent-tug-of-war
I’ve written about the importance of chores before, including these posts:

The Necessity of Chores

HALF! Day

How Full is Your Plate? an online workshop for moms

But what I’ve failed to fully admit is how much easier it would be to  do everything myself.
(And it would be done a lot better.)

Why do I bother?

I’d like to say that I do it all for them–to make them better citizens, humans, energetic beings (and that is true); but another truth is that I don’t want to do everything so it’s worth it to have some jobs done less than perfectly.

BUT the angst. THE ANGST!
The reminding. The redirecting. The reprimands.

Sometimes I find myself questioning if it’s worth it, and questioning whether I should be encouraging other people to suffer like this by leading workshops on chore sharing in the home.

And then there are those other times, when in the distance, I hear the sweet and soothing sound of a boy swishing a toilet, or vacuuming a room, or emptying waste baskets; and I think: I AM BRILLIANT.

But what if you like doing your own chores and want them done perfectly?

I still recommend sharing the load. Here’s why:

The Necessity of Chores

But what if your teen’s resistance is so strong that it takes way more energy than you can manage to keep them in the game?

It’s still vital. For them.
Try a dose of creativity, like this:

HALF! Day

And now for a new chunk of highly salient information expanding on why it’s worth the EFFORT:

Kids need conflict to grow up. Particularly teenagers. It’s part of the individuation process. It’s how they begin to separate from our cozy nest and shape their own flight.

When I accept that conflict is necessary, I surrender to it, and not just that, I RESPECT it.

This is quite revolutionary.

Conflict isn’t in the way,
it IS The Way.

I’d like to take credit for this awareness, but my therapist gets a lot of that.

See this post for how I put it into action:

Episiotomy (of love)

And here’s something even more radical for your consideration:

Since conflict is a necessary part of the developmental process, particularly with teens, then how cool is it that they get their daily/weekly dose of parental conflict in a way that makes such a foundational difference in family life–working together to honor and contribute to the space we share–rather than investing it in other areas with much higher stakes.  (Think sex, drugs, alcohol.)

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Posted in Insight, Nuts & Bolts, Teens

The Necessity of Chores

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.
~Abigail Van Buren

I’m feeling pretty radical about the necessity of chores these days–both for children and teens–but especially teens.  And not just to establish good habits or to build a work ethic, though those are worthy goals.

What I’m finding most important about chores for teens is the “grounding” aspect of them.

As a Let  Your Yoga Dance instructor, I see much of living in terms of “energy,” and in my experience, it’s the very first chakra that is linked to teens and chores.  The first chakra is described in this way by author/teacher, Anodea Judith:

Located at the base of the spine, the first chakra forms our foundation. It represents the element earth, and is therefore related to our survival instincts, and to our sense of grounding and connection to our bodies and the physical plane.

You don’t have to be a chakra expert to realize that a sense of grounding and connection is vital during the turbulent expansion of adolescence.

If your teen has a regular chore schedule, then you already know that his participation leads to connection, and that this connection leads to belonging, and that his sense of belonging creates greater harmony in the home.

Teens can be so prickly that many would rather leave them to their own rather than have the hassle around participation.  But I think the hassle is worth it–for both the teen and the family. Better yet, get these chore habits in place before your kids come of age, and then it’s pretty much auto pilot.

(More next time on establishing routines so that chores are hassle free–well, almost.)

To read more on teens and chores, click here.