Chores have long been considered a valuable learning tool in many households. Through them, they facilitate the development of a greater sense of responsibility and an awareness of the needs of others.
Chores can build children’s self-esteem and sense of competence, as well as foster teamwork and community. On the other hand, some parents are not convinced. Instead of subjecting children to mundane tasks that they will spend most of their lives dreading, some believe there are other ways to develop “team spirit”.
This becomes a point of contention between two mothers who disagree on what chores to give their children. For one of them, cleaning up after others should never be her child’s responsibility. Yet there is more to this story.
His house, his rules
A woman, whom we will call Jenna, currently has full-time custody of her 16-year-old daughter as her ex-husband lives overseas. Once COVID hit, Jenna’s finances took a bit of a hit and her ex couldn’t help her much.
Fortunately, Jenna’s brother and wife offered help when she needed it. Similarly, they also needed a helping hand, as Jenna said they were going through a tough time. His sister-in-law, whom we will call Tina, lost her brother to COVID, leaving behind two young children whom they fostered.
RELATED: ‘I’m not a daycare’: Grandmother demands payment for babysitting her grandchildren and demands more than half her daughter’s salary
Jenna explained that Tina and her husband already had three children, so adding two more children was difficult. As she explained, Jenna moving in with her brother was perfect, since “his wife needed a lot of help”.
Despite Jenna’s best efforts to help as much as she could, she said problems started to arise during her stay. “She and I have bumped into each other a lot of times because our parenting styles are different,” Jenna said.
“I didn’t want to do them”
The use of chore charts was something Tina used that irritated Jenna. “Every two weeks it changes. Everyone is part of the picture and her kids don’t care as much, but I do,” Jenna complained.
Jenna’s daughter felt the same way. “She hates the chalkboard and feels like it’s crazy for her to clean up after everyone like washing dishes or vacuuming,” said Jenna .
When one evening it was her turn to do the dishes, her daughter refused. Tina confronted Jenna’s daughter, asking why, to which she replied that she didn want to do them. In response, Tina explained that she had to clean them since she had contributed to the mess, and Tina would not be able to prepare breakfast in a dirty kitchen.
A heated argument ensued and Jenna took her daughter’s side. She explained to Tina that it was unfair to expect one person to clean up after everyone else. Plus, her daughter also let Tina know she wasn’t part of the family unit – another reason why cleaning shouldn’t be her responsibility.
Tina ended up doing the dishes herself. However, Jenna said things went south quickly from then on. Jenna explains her her daughter was no longer no longer invited to fun family activities. As a result, her daughter found herself excluded from the family unit, which she previously claimed not to be a part of.
Like Mother like daughter?
Jenna explains that the other kids seem less eager to hang out with her daughter after the fight.
“I think it’s ridiculous to exclude my daughter from all of this,” Jenna said. She then sought advice from her brother in hopes that he would shed some light on the situation.
“Since your daughter isn’t part of the family unit and pulls her weight during the hard parts, she can’t enjoy the good parts either,” her brother said. Furthermore, he points out that Jenna doesn’t help financially, which makes her refusal of chores even stranger.
Nonetheless, like mother, like daughter, Jenna has stuck to her guns. “My daughter doesn’t want to do chores and I’m not going to force her,” says Jenna.
Commentators did not hold back
Jenna wonders if she’s wrong or not. But, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to solve this dilemma. Thankfully, several commenters are offering Jenna some parenting advice she desperately needs. And, they didn’t hold back.
One commented, “You and your ex don’t have your shit together and are raising a spoiled brat. When my own son complains about doing chores, I remind him, ‘You live here, you don’t care. helpers…. You apparently haven’t made your daughter understand that other people deserve consideration and respect.
“She said she’s not part of this family, now they treat her like that,” another commenter said.
Another tries to break the link between privileges and responsibilities. “How hard is it to understand that there are privileges AND responsibilities attached to everything? they ask.
“If your daughter wants the privileges of [being] part of a family, so she has to accept the responsibilities. If she wants to shirk her responsibilities, she also does not get the privileges and she will have to stand out,” they add.
In the end, Jenna was proven wrong. While she has the right to voice her own opinions on how to move forward with chores in her own home, sharing a space becomes more complicated. Jenna and her daughter have to follow the house rules, especially when neither of them pays the bills.