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blueberry_kid's avatar

Should kids be forced to know how to do household chores? (details)

Asked by blueberry_kid (5957points) August 8th, 2011

I was in Texas with my grandfather last year. He lives with another woman with two kids. Niether of them know how to do household chores. They had a nanny come and clean their house. And the two weeks I was there, they had 3 different nanny’s.

I didn’t let the nanny clean up my guest room because I wanted to do it. I wanted to clean my own laundry, I wanted to wash my dishes and clean up. I don’t want to force someone to clean for me. It’s criminal.

What really shocked me was that none of the women’s kids sknew how to clean. When I went to wash my clothes, the daughter came up with me to wash and she was asking me why do I do it when there’s a nanny.

Would you want your kids to know how to wash, clean, etc.?

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36 Answers

Seelix's avatar

I think kids should be taught the basics of housekeeping. I’ve seen far too many apartments that are disgustingly dirty because no one was ever taught how to clean house while they still lived at home.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Yes children need chores to train them for life. It teaches responsibility. That is how I learned to do laundry, cook, etc.

Cruiser's avatar

I saw this in college and was dumbfounded at the number of kids in my dorm who had no clue how to do laundry! WTH!

tom_g's avatar

My kids don’t do “chores”. They participate in doing the things that make our family work. Who’s going to cook dinner? Me. Who’s going to unload the dishwasher? The kids can do that. Who’s going to clean up the house? All of us.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have taught my boys how to clean their rooms, how to dust, sweep, vacuum, do laundry, dishes, etc. I think these skills are essential for when they live on their own.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, it’s all part of learning how to live an independent life as an adult and how to look after oneself.

janbb's avatar

Yup – now do those dishes!

ucme's avatar

The words kids & forced do not belong in the same sentence, in my humble opinion.

Hibernate's avatar

Now it depends. If they are rich kids and the family can provide enough money and they can take people to do these things for them then why not. First of all it provides “jobs” for others. And secondly it doesn’t necessary mean they don’t know how to take care after themselves. It mainly depends how they threat the persons around them. If they show respect then it’s all good if not then don’t bother.

There are moments when they will eventually have to learn to take care of themselves but not being forced to do so just pointed in the right direction.

JLeslie's avatar

I think all children should know how, but I don’t think it is necessary for them to have to do it all the time. If they have maids to do the chores it is fine with me. The only thing I think a maid should never do is pick up after children. Kids should still have to hang up their coats, put their shoes away, and keep their rooms clean.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, I would.

1. Having someone clean up after them teaches them that they don’t have to do anything to get through life.

2. If they learn how to care for themselves, they will be better off later in life.

JLeslie's avatar

@marinelife Just to give you something to think about, my husband grew up with a maid most of his life, and it made him and his siblings appreciate things being kept, clean, neat and orderly. As adults they had to learn how to do things for themselves, but they do it, because they want their homes maintained as well as when they were kids, and they can’t afford, or do not choose to have live in maids. At times they have hired a maid to clean house once a week or every two weeks, but not consistently in their adulthood.

I think if both parents work, having help in the house is a good thing, because American families tend to not have help, and many feel overwhelmed and anger towards their spouses for either not keeping the house clean or not helping out enough. I think it is a mistake many families make. Some sort of moderation seems better to me. I grew up in a messy house, I wish my parents had brought someone in once a week to keep things better under control since my parents were not very good at it.

wundayatta's avatar

They should know how to do these things.

I teach my kids how to make a mess….. in the kitchen. They like that. Especially when making sweet things.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly, that is a conundrum, if you can afford to do it would doing it leave your children clueless? Those who have it most likely have it because they are too busy to do it themselves, like childcare. How much is all that coasting? Is one spouse working _just to cover most of the childcare, gardener, and nanny/housekeeper? If so, wouldn’t it make more since for one parent to stay home and save that money?

Even if you can afford an army of nannies and butlers home economics is very important. I wish my mother had taught me more than she did, even if that meant force as in make necessary that I learn it. After I got about 13 or 14 I did not want anyone else washing my clothes because I knew just how I like having it done. Since I was buying a lot of my own garb by then, I certainly took more concern in them. Dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc is all essential if you are not going filthy rich. If you never was taught how to clean you can actually jack something off by using the wrong thing to clean it with. Sometimes trying to learn to clean by serendipity does more harm than good. I think the basics should be taught to all kids no matter how mush of a silver spoon they have in their mouths.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Not forced but I feel most children should be taught to help with laundry, dusting/cleaning common areas and basic yard pickup. Chores aren’t punishment or a marker of being “poor”, chores are pitching in and showing respect for the common spaces you share. Or, as is said in my family, “so you don’t live like stray animals!”

JLeslie's avatar

@Neizvestnaya My mom looked at like when you are an adult you have to deal with all that crap, kids shouldn’t have to. We were ablw to cook for ourselves, and at a certain age we wanted to do our own laundry, as @Hypocrisy_Central pointed out, and we had to brng our dishes tp the sink after eating. But we did not have to clean up after other people in the family as I have heard in other families like one child does all the dishes, another child has to bring out the trash another child cleans the bathroom, and then everyone takes turns. My mom felt like you don’t have children to make your own domestic life easier. I am not saying she was more right in her philosophy, just putting it out there, she also hates when the older children have to take on the responsibility and burden of minding the younger children, she would say if you cannot take care of your (not you personally) kids, then why are you having more children? I actually did play with my sister and sort of watch her for a couple of years after school, but we always played together anyway, so it wasn’t like I had to watch her and miss doing something else.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@JLeslie: My grandmother and mother felt if you didn’t learn how at home then how would you be able to take care of yourself later or when visiting other people’s homes? I did simple stuff like dust and oil furniture, clean my own bathroom, sort my laundry, fold and put it away after it was washed, help bring in and put away groceries, clear my own plates from the table, help load the dishwasher, pick up my toys once a week from the yard. .

JLeslie's avatar

@Neizvestnaya We did learn at home. We helped mommy sometimes, we wanted to do our own thing as we got older, our laundry, cook, help set the table, and we were always responsible for our room. We just didn’t have daily or weekly chores. My sister thinks it was a mistake, I don’t feel that way.

Mariah's avatar

I’m pretty embarrassed about the fact that my parents never asked me to do much around the house growing up, and I now am lacking a lot of those very “common sense” skills. I learned how to do laundry just before going to college, and I don’t know how to cook much past some very basic dishes. I think kids should definitely be asked to help out around the house so they don’t end up being loser-ish like me. :P

snowberry's avatar

My mother was taught to clean by the “white glove method”. She grew up on a cattle ranch in the 30’s, which was a very dirty dusty place. She and her sister had to clean until a white glove rubbed on a surface remained white.

I used to tell my mother that I’d be rich enough I’d never have to clean; I’d pay someone else to do it. She told me that was a great plan, but if I didn’t want people to take advantage of me, I’d have to learn how to clean to make sure they were doing it properly.
I wasn’t happy about that, but it made complete sense. I learned how to clean very very well from my mother. I did the same for my kids (although they insisted I was abusing them at the time)! At this point one daughter has put herself through school cleaning, and her boss says she’s the best janitorial employee she’s ever had (and she loves, absolutely loves her job)!

My kids have told me many times “Thanks for teaching us how to clean, how to work!” The skills my mother taught me as a child gave me a leg up on a career as well, for I ran my own cleaning business for 30 years.

Hmmm. There might be something to this doing chores thing!

If anyone wants some time saving tips, money saving tips for cleaning, making your own cleaning chemicals, or dealing with a difficult cleaning job, PM me. I’ll be happy to help.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah Does your mom cook? I never understand how children, especially girls, can grow up with a mom who cooks dinner every night, and not have been taught how to cook at least basic things.

Mariah's avatar

@JLeslie Yes she does. She just has never taught me, and I never asked. I should have.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not forced, just taught.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mariah You live with her now right? She could teach you now. So, I am assuming your school did not have a Home Ec type of class? I think it is a big mistake Home Ec is being taken out of the curriculum. Even if it is just a 9 week class it can teach students the basics for prepering food, sewing a button, folding and ironing clothes, etc. Everyone should know the basics of these things in my opinion. Never too late to learn though.

snowberry's avatar

Good point, @JLelsie.

@Mariah there are always videos on the Internet that will show you how to do all kinds of things, even sewing on buttons, various cooking methods, how to clean, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry True, but I think learning things like this can be a bonding experience, which I think everyone enjoys. I’ve taught my husband how to chop more efficiently, we also make sushi together, cooking and baking especially can be enjoyable. My grandma taught me how to set the table. My neighbor reinforced some of the sewing I had learned in school, and it actually was a girlfriend of mine who taught me how to hold a broom to sweep. It takes a village. Also, in @Mariah‘s defense, I know she has had many digestive problems, so cooking might be very low on her list for understandable reasons.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes, I didn’t mean forced, either, but definitely taught.

Mariah's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt, but the digestive issues really should have made learning to cook even more of a priority. I don’t want to be dependent on institutional cafeteria food the whole time I’m in college! I had a brief Home Ec class in junior high in which we cooked and sewed and I think did some other stuff but I can’t really remember. Wasn’t enough. I’ve learned a bit from my mom, both before I went off to college last summer, and during this stretch of time at home, but I should really put more effort into doing some more learning. I’ve got nothing to blame but laziness on my part, really.

Plucky's avatar

Children need to be taught that chores are a part of functioning postively in life. It does not need to be forced but taught early on. By the time they’re older, it’s just another part of their daily lives; a good part, I think.

I believe it’s important for kids to learn these basic skills for their own personal and social benefits (many of the benefits others listed above).

snowberry's avatar

When my kids misbehaved I took ‘em to work with me. One of my jobs involved cleaning the whole top floor of a large building. It was too far for them to walk home. I told them they had to either help me clean (and do a good job with a good attitude) or they’d sit there until I finished. If they chose a bad attitude, I wouldn’t let them clean and I took my sweet time. LOL.

My kids insisted this was abusive (go figure that one out), and maintained for years they’d be emotionally scarred from the experience.

An interesting thing about doing chores with a bad attitude. The result is usually a poor quality job, and sometimes the things being cleaned are actually damaged. This is why I insisted they have a good attitude while they cleaned. My reputation and therefore my/our income depended on leaving everything spotless and undamaged every week.

It was a bonding experience, but it took a while to see results. Eventually the kids learned to ditch the attitude and it got so they enjoyed making things clean and tidy.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I often wonder if the attitude that chores are somehow a punishment correlates to the high number of adults I see come into our stores who are absolute pigs about picking up after themselves during their visits. I wonder how many of them had parents who picked up after them at home or worse, parents who believed chores were to be avoided so that the entire household was a place to avoid. Ugh.

JLeslie's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I’m with you on that. My mom did not have us do chores, as I stated above, but God forbid we left a dressing room a mess, or dropped a fork or napkin on the floor in a restaurant and did not pick it up. Well, we never did, we always hung everything up and brought the items out of the dressing room, and we always picked up anything we knocked down. And so did my mom, she was the example, and I think many adults, well I know it, do not leave a dressing room as they found it or pick up something they knock over.

It was about respecting the staff at the store, and pretty much we were taught to respect other peoples property 100%, even if we did not show respect for our own. It is one thing to be willing to ruin your own things, but never ok to ruin something of someone elses. I think too many people think it’s not mine, why should I care? Or, that their job to pick up after me. Horrid.

It makes me think of the kids that grow up in crazy strict households, who when they finally break free go nuts, getting trashed, doing crazy dangerous things…just wanting to be free from rules, rather than being happy to behave within the reasonable rules of the mainstream.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@JLeslie: It’s pretty gross to walk through our service dept. waiting room and see where people just leave their food wrappers, dirty cups and whatever else lying about with disregard for others who will sit there next. We have clean and tidy waste cans in plain sight so it must be people are just inconsiderate and lazy. I would have gotten a pinch on the shoulder or the stinkeye if I’d have treated anyone’s store or home like that. We see parents of kids that drop whole bags of popcorn on the floor just take their kids and walk away from the spot to another and not even inform anyone there’s been a spill. It’s pretty disheartening.

MilkyWay's avatar

As an almost adult kid, I’m gonna say yes.

6rant6's avatar

I think it depends. If they are rich and they’ll never clean up after themselves, then no, I don’t think it’s necessary. Look at it this way, if you lived in a part of the world where people have to dig latrines to dispose of waste, you would teach your kids how to do it. Do you think it’s important to your kids how to run a sewer plan or install a septic tank even though they make use of such things? Certainly not valuable enough that you think ALL children should know those things.

If you live in a world where your kids will never gain advantage from doing it, you don’t teach them.

I agree that there is value in guiding kids to participate in socially responsible activities that reflect the values of their projected adulthood. But saddling them arbitrarily with the chores that my children or your children may need to know as adults is not useful.

JLeslie's avatar

@Neizvestnaya What a disgrace. I mean really. People are disgusting.

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