It’s Saturday and once again, in my household there is moaning and groaning from Papi and Munch as I explain to them for the hundredth time, that they have chores to do before we can begin our activities of the day. They don’t seem to understand the importance of doing chores and rather than getting straight to business, they rather waste twenty minutes trying to dispute why they think they should not have to do chores. Can I blame them? No, not really. What child actually likes to do chores? But the person I can blame is myself for them being surprised each weekend that they have a job to do. You see, although my boys are 11 and 8, doing chores for them is a pretty new movement in my household. Since they were younger, my husband wanted the boys to have more responsibilities when it came to the upkeep of the household. I was the one who thought that children should only be obligated to do well in school and have fun. Boy, was I wrong. Thank goodness for a patient husband who waited while I came to my senses. It’s been about a year now since Papi and Munch were given their list of weekly chores and already I see the error of my past ways.
I actually have to laugh at myself for originally resisting the idea of them doing chores. My mother never thought twice about making me do chores as a child, and I turned out great. Every weekend, even at the age of 10, I remember having to clean the bathroom, wash dishes, and sweep the house on top of maintaining good grades. Did I like it? Heck no. But I knew that it was my responsibility and once I completed my duties, then I could go on to have fun. As parents sometimes when we recall the things from our childhood that our parents did, if we remember that we didn’t enjoy it, then we opt not to repeat the same things with our own children.
However, what I came to realize is that sometimes our parents actually knew what they were doing and because of that, we turned out to be well rounded, strong, responsible adults. Oftentimes parents change the expectations that they have for their children because they believed that their own parents set super high expectations for them so they try to not to put that same pressure on their children.
Parents don’t introduce their children to specific spiritual practices because they remember how much they hated going to church when they were younger. Parents choose not to firmly discipline their children because they remember their feelings being so hurt when their parents reprimanded them. Parents give their children EVERYTHING they whine for because they remember how it made them feel when their parents told them “no”. Parenting styles are changing more and more because of the emotional scarring that people believe they will give their children if they “lay down the law” or “put their foot down”. More and more people are forgetting that what worked to contribute to shaping them is what can work to help shape their children. Of course, hearing “no” hurts. Of course having chores and responsibilities can suck. And you’re darn right, being put on punishment can feel like you have the most unfair parents in the world, but all of these things are necessary if you are trying to raise up a certain kind of child. If you believe that you turned out pretty good, yet you completely abandon the methods of child-rearing that you were raised with, you run the risk of two things: 1. Raising children who can’t cope in the real world because you painted some pseudo-reality of what they can expect to see out there once they get older and most importantly, 2. you end up raising children that don’t have the same values as you do because you did not pour into them the same things that were poured into you.
Now I feel as if I should insert a disclaimer right about now. Of course, this does not apply to everything or everyone. Change is not only good, but also necessary if you were raised in a household with abuse, negligence or even some “my way or the highway” views. Those cycles should be broken and naturally, there is not just one way to get a positive result. However, in instances that are like my own where my mother was stern and set standards for her children, it would be counterproductive for me to drastically change my way of parenting when I am thankful for the way that I turned out. It means she did something right. And while, through my experiences and educational background, I have acquired new ways of doing some things, there are some practices in my household that are parallel to the way I was raised and I would not have it any other way.
Talk to you soon-Serene
Share with me: What practices did you adapt from your childhood to influence how you raise your children? What practices did you leave behind? If you don’t have children, what practice would you keep and which would you leave behind?