11th August 06:33
Why Don't Kids Do Chores Anymore? (have water weed morning old)
Why Don't Kids Do Chores Anymore?
By Jeff Opdyke
When I was growing up, I spent many summer days struggling to shove a
bulky Toro mower through the thick mat of grass that was my yard. That
was my main weekly chore. I pushed that same mower around the
neighborhood with my buddy, Mike, hawking lawn-cutting services for $10
I mention this because I've noticed something peculiar while driving
around town in recent weeks: Though it's summer, I've yet to see a
single kid out mowing a lawn. I don't see any kid-produced signs
offering mowing services. I see teams of lawn-maintenance workers
neatly tending yards...but no kids.
It's not just lawns, mind you. During our time in New Jersey, I don't
recall seeing any kids raking leaves in the fall. In three years not a
single kid stopped by our house offering to shovel the snow off the
driveway. I never hear my son's friends lamenting the chores they're
charged with after school or on weekends. All they ever do is ride
bikes or dash off to this practice or that game or some camp.
I don't blame the kids. I blame the parents.
To put it bluntly: We've gone soft. Partly, I think, we remember how
much we hated the chores when we were younger. Partly we feel guilty
about all the time we spend working. Partly we're just too lazy and
it's easier to hire somebody than force our kids to do it. Whatever the
reason, many of us are slacking off when it comes to imposing on our
kids the same sorts of obligations our parents required of us.
In watching my son water some plants for me the other day -- meaning,
watching him barely sprinkle the plants amid his goofball antics with
the hose and an anthill -- I realized that it's time to reverse the
trend. Child-labor laws be damned, it's time my son went to work.
* * *
I don't recall how old I was when my grandfather -- who, with my
grandmother, raised me -- started asking me to cut the grass, though
I'm pretty sure I was about 9 or 10. I remember in second grade helping
him in the garden and with odds and ends around the house. I also
remember hating it: I would much rather have been down the street
playing with my friends, or inside watching Scooby Doo on a Saturday
morning. Occasionally, he might give me a couple of dollars for my
effort, though usually he just patted me on the back and said, "Good
Looking back on those days, I realize now what my grandfather was
trying to teach me then: that you must establish a work ethic; you must
learn to take care of your property; you can't always expect money for
simply helping the family; and you must earn through an honest day's
work what you want in this life.
I can't say that I've sent an equally meaningful message to my own son
up to this point. In fact, the message I'm sending is pretty much the
For instance, we have a lawn-service guy who cuts the grass and edges
the yard for $35 every week or two. I hired him because I don't have
the time on weekends, between writing and rehabbing an old house I
bought with a friend. The amount of money I can make on those
activities far surpasses what I pay the lawn guy to cut my grass.
Yet I'm beginning to see that the cost of hiring somebody to cut my
grass goes beyond that $35. This is the first house we've owned -- and
we've owned six -- where I haven't done the yard work. What my son sees
is his mom and me paying someone else to do what we could do instead.
So, I imagine he figures: "Why should I do what Mom and Dad won't?"
Traces of that come out when he's assigned a small chore. He gets bored
quickly and begins to play, and soon drops the task all together. It
isn't a priority for him because I haven't instilled in him that it
should be a priority.
A couple of weeks ago, for example, I asked him to water some day
lilies we had just planted. I watched him through the window: He spent
about a minute on that duty, then began spraying an anthill, stirring
up the ants and watching them busily try to preserve and rebuild their
mound. When that lost his attention, he turned off the water, left the
hose splayed across the yard and came inside to watch cartoons -- while
the day lilies wilted in the heat.
I know I've got company here. Not only do I see it in the absence of
kids cutting grass and raking leaves and shoveling snow, but I also
hear it from friends I talk to. Lots of parents don't force their kids
to do much work around the house. Why, though? Why do we let our kids
shirk the same responsibilities we once had?
I can think of a few reasons...
* * *
Perhaps the key reason is that we live in an age that's more
touchy-feely. Many parents -- and I concede that I am one of them --
are more lenient and less authoritarian than were our parents. When I
was a child, my grandparents gave me a chore and they expected me to do
it. Period. These days, Mom and Dad aren't so much setting the rules as
they are negotiating with their kids. And kids learn to negotiate
themselves out of tasks they don't want to be burdened with at the
But that isn't the only reason. It's also a question of money: Many of
us have more of it than our parents did when they were raising us. If
we can hire somebody to cut the grass every two weeks for less money
than we'd spend on one dinner out, why not?
Also, so many kids are overscheduled these days. They have soccer
practice and tennis lessons and dance class. By the time they get home,
there are barely enough hours for homework and dinner. Who has time to
weed the garden?
And then there's guilt. More couples both work nowadays, often logging
long hours. That leaves us anxious not to waste those precious hours we
do have for our kids. Chores, we rationalize, are inconvenient when we
could be doing something as a family.
So there are lots of reasons, many of them valid. But I'm convinced
that none of them are good enough, and I'm going to change things
around my house.
My son isn't quite old enough to push a lawnmower across the yard yet,
but he is old enough to help me weed the many flower beds we have. He's
also old enough to rake leaves in the fall, to help me change the oil
in the cars and to help me wash the dishes at night -- all of which
will soon be on his to-do list. I may decide to pay him a little
something for a few of those chores, since some of them are beyond what
I view as weekly obligations.
For the most part, though, I'll just pat him on the back and say, "Good
-- July 01, 2005
11th August 11:28
Why Don't Kids Do Chores Anymore? (old)
I began mowing lawns when I was about ten years old, and never had a
problem, even with equipment (early 60s vintage) that wasn't nearly as
safe as today's models.
I think parents today don't give kids enough credit -- if taught how to
use mowers & trimmers properly, there's no reason a boy 10, 11 or 12
couldn't handle them safely.
If we could it do it back then, why can't they do it now?
11th August 11:29
Why Don't Kids Do Chores Anymore? (dead)
Because most of the authoritarian right-wing shit like you, who
imagine that everybody should do what YOU want them to do for YOU
instead of what THEY want for themselves, are dead. Go eat shit
11th August 11:29
Why Don't Kids Do Chores Anymore? (white old dead)
And that's because most of the authoritarian assholes who dreamed
of their child-slaves in servitude to them are dead. Good riddance.
Mow your own ****ing lawn, old shit, or put in a rock garden. Do
your own hobby, shithead, and leave others to theirs! More ****ing
sick old ****ed white male re-empowerment whining by the OP of