I grew up labouring away at my bit when it came to household chores. Having three sisters though made the work load that much lighter. I was never paid so to speak for doing chores, however , if ever we needed or wanted something within reason – we didn’t go without. Movies, ice-skating, drive-in, tuck money and so it goes.
My wonderful young teenager recently dug his heels in when it came to a short list of chores I felt were standard for any teenager all of 14 years old. I contacted a few friends and family who too have a child of the same age to compare what is considered a reasonable list, as well as the reward be it financial or other.
I came up with ten chores a week. TEN. I really didn’t feel that was child labour although my son differs. My list was something along these lines.
- Clean your own room. Inspection is once a week.
- Unpack the dishwasher after dinner.
- Mow the lawn once a week – all of a 15 min job.
- Take out the trash when need be.
- Feed the dogs daily and ensure fresh water mornings.
- Pick up your own dog poop.
- During school holidays, to help hang the laundry.
- Make your own bed weekends.
- Help dad bath the dogs on sundays.
Oh wait – that is all of 9 chores. One would think this to be child labour for that is what my child seems to think. Banging heads about this list has left me with migraines. I believe all children should be raised having to do chores. Heck I did. Chores teach children far more than responsibility and the value of a dime.
Then we had the debated issue of what was considered a satisfactory financial reward. Boy, the kid should join the debate team as he sure threw some at me. Yet again I turn to family and friends and what would you know – we seem to pay our teen a little above the considered ‘average’. My sister suggested I start a monthly spreadsheet for him. On which I write down every cent spent on his luxuries –
- A new clutch cable for his off road motorbike,
- weekly petrol to run both his bikes – this is recreational,
- bike parts when he crashes, lately that’s often
- constant new clothes and shoes as he seems to think they are best used while working on his bikes.
- The maintenance of his tarantulas,
- mobile contract
- Blah blah etc –
This list can go on and on but it hit me – My sister hit the nail on the head with her advice. Sometimes when kids see things on paper, the reality hits them a little more and they can digest it properly. I’m not talking a childs living luxuries or expenses. I’m referring to his hobbies.
There you have it. I sat down with my son and asked him what he felt was acceptable and reasonable to be on his chores list. We negotiated the list so not all was selective. What teen is readily going to volunteer a pick up his dog poop before mowing the lawn? Having his participation gave him a sense of having a voice and choices. He is now responsible for his chores list. As for his rewards, they come in many forms and he is slowly realising this. Thank goodness as being the eldest, he sets the example for his two much younger brothers.
Keep Calm and Parent on.
So what would you feel is an acceptable list or pocket money amount for a 14 year old teen?
Oh drat, hubby walked through the door today with a huge box of silkworms. His student, who happens to be a school teacher, begged him to please take a couple as she simply had too many and was battling to feed them and care for them. A few – try like about 200.
Since my eldest was a little tot, we have had silkworms, cycle after cycle. Sigh. I thought I was done with them until now. My 6 year old is just in heaven at his first batch of silkworm pets. To demonstrate their friendliness and gentleness, I pick up a few and name them. That was short lived for there really are far too many. As a little tease, I take the fattest worm and pretend to eat him 😉 but he just clings to me like velcro. Explaining to my son how they love to hug, their legs just cling to you for ‘worm hugs’. It works eventually – no fear there. ‘But mom, please don’t eat my pets’
I knew my eldest sister was and still is petrified of silkworms and every time she came over, my eldest would secretly put one on her shoulder. I was a classic case of ninja moves when she eventually spotted the little thing.
It’s the same thing with my youngest sister – my eldest secretly puts Mr Curly aka a curly hair tarantula on her shoulder while visiting. Now her reaction takes the cake as she’s a bit of an arachnophobic . I should film it next time for YouTube 😉
The joys of a house full of boys. Part and parcel.
I know this post is a little late for Fathers Day but it’s the craft that I wanted to share. This years fathers day the boys opt to do all things home made and hand crafted. With a joint list of all things Mr loves we got creative. Ribbons and jars, baskets and moulds, we began making both small and large tool shaped chocolates which we put in Misters new mini tool box. The boys who are all chocoholics loved this most for obvious reasons and they all got to have a bowl to lick clean. Even the chocolate labels we made by hand – each label had a word written on that comes to mind when we think of our special ‘Dad’. Personalised jars filled with nuts, candy and dried fruits. Biltong aka beef jerky went down well although secretly I added an extra bag of chilli biltong so Mr could enjoy some to himself before the children attacked the rest. Rock Candy was Austins special touch. We bought the latest release dvd – Courageous, which is about fatherhood but I won’t go into detail there – get the movie rather and enjoy. I have to laugh though as I had a box of Turkish Delight next to Mr bed as it’s his absolute favourite but our dog Toby ravished the entire box while we were out for breakfast. Toby sure is his daddy’s boy.
Crafting together with my boys was more rewarding than any mall purchased gift. We had fun creating and bonding as we went along. It’s such moments that create lasting memories and maintain that special bond a family shares. Hope your fathers day was super special too. I never grew up with a father but my grandfather was my hero, a gentleman till his dying day and an example to me of what all men should be. His shoes are huge to fill but his is the example I grew up respecting. I miss you Granddad so so very much, a man above men. Love always – your little Sunshine.
Fathers Day home made crafts.
“mom, please can i get some stuff from dads toolbox, i want to show you something” Moments later I get this (photo). Precious moments that melt my heart and always leave me with that warm and fuzzy feeling. Little boys are a moms joy. The things my sons come up with in sharing their way of showing love over and above the obvious hugs, kisses, cuddles and words, I adore the thought, creativity and actions gone into every such moment, itched into my memory forever. I constantly encourage a show of affection and always show affection for their father as I want them to grow up knowing not only how and to romance their prospective partners but that showing affection is a form of love. This for me is important as my hubby grew up not knowing how to show affection, over the years this has changed, I however came from a family where a showing of love, affection and unity were a way of life. Thank you my big boy for this special moment – love you heaps and bounds, mum xxx
via PicsArt Photo Studio
Take some time and share what I call ‘Mom’s Memories’ with your son. Share memories with him about your childhood. During this special one on one time discuss what your childhood bedroom looked like. How was your bedroom decorated? What was the view from your window? And what were your favourite colours? What music did you listen to most and can you remember your daily routine? I have special moments with my sons as I share in the little things about ‘in my day’.
Happy Bonding, Have fun.