Unschooling Chores

My Unschooled children have never had chores. We have never had charts hanging on our fridge with certain household tasks for them to take care of with stickers as rewards.

Yet, Devin, Tiff, Ivy and Orion all help with the housework because they truly want to.
How is this possible?

For one, when I clean and do the little tasks that I find necessary to keep our house organized throughout the day, I do so joyfully. I never slam things around or get frustrated that toys are on the floor, or dishes are in the sink. I don’t huff and puff and talk under my breath about being everyone’s slave. Who would want to help if I was complaining about cleaning all the time?

I truly feel Gratitude in my heart every time I clean or pick something up because I feel such love and happiness for having my family and for all that comes with having children. I see the little scraps of paper on the floor, or books strewn about and remember the story behind them. I see the craft project that Ivy did, or the books that I read to Tiff and how much she enjoyed our time together cuddled on the couch. I pick up or clean whatever needs to be done in the moment, unconditionally and with love. I bask in the gratitude of our life together without feeling that they are responsible for the “messes” they make. Joe and I are the ones who decided to have children and we accept all that comes with having them.

I value my relationship and connection with my children over the cleanliness of our home.
I think many times parents can think they have no choice but to coerce, reward or force children to do chores to instill responsibility. I feel very differently about this. I feel that my children will naturally be responsible when they feel a partnership in our family. Our home is their nest. It is a place that they feel is theirs as much as it is mine. They love their home! They see cleaning as just something to do that makes sense.

Radical Unschooling creates responsible children in a kind, loving, positive way. When children are respected and trusted, they naturally step into the roles that many parents today force their children into, only to create angry, rebellious children and teens. You never, ever have to force, punish or manipulate a child to help with the housework. You only have to do so joyfully yourself and set the base standard of what you want your home to be. Your children will naturally assist in maintaining the standard in which they are used to living and they will do so in a way that feels meaningful to them. Model joy and gratitude surrounding housework, but do so authentically. You can’t fake it in an attempt to manipulate your children into helping out. Children always know your true feelings and sense the intent behind your actions.

Last night my children were cleaning until almost midnight! Ivy and Orion washed windows and cleaned inside the fridge. Devin mopped the floors and Tiff vacuumed the whole house, including the stairs! It was a fun night of housework with music playing loudly in the background. No power struggles. No threats. No punishments or tears. Just pure, authentic connection and fun as we cleaned our home together – in joy and gratitude.

~Dayna

Comments

  1. Thanks. I needed this.

  2. We have no job lists in our house, but I did get annoyed earlier when I had to tidy up for the 100th time today. You are absolutely right though; if you show that an activity is fun and non-stressful, then your children will engage in that activity with you, and enjoy it. I don’t know if you have read ‘The Idol Parent’? but the author writes something very similar in his his comedic and tongue-in-cheek book. Thank you for reminding me to be calm.

    • Thanks for your comment Jo and for visiting my website! I will have to check out the book, “The Idol Parent”, and see what it’s all about. Thanks for the recommendation!
      ~Dayna

    • Jo,

      I think you mean “The Idle Parent” (Tom Hodgkinson), right?

      Ana

  3. Hi Dayna, oh thank you for who you are, how you live and for sharing it. It is very inspiring and encouraging. After being forced to do chores as a kid I’m only just discovering the joy of cleaning. I also love that without forcing or coercing our children to do chores they will often help willingly and happily, but only for as long as they feel comfortable with. I love that they are tuning into what feels right for their body and am gradually learning to do the same! Thanks again for lighting a peaceful way, and providing companionship for fellow travelers 🙂
    Love,
    Julie

  4. thank you, Dayna, for the reminder to do anything I choose to do with unconditional gratitude and love!! It’s so important, and joyous for us all!!!

  5. Thanks for your thoughts. We are non-traditional home schoolers, but am starting to find that I like your approach and that of other unschoolers that I am meeting.

    • Kim, thank you for your comment. I know that the Radical Unschooling philosophy is a very natural, organic way to live with your children, so it tends to speak to a lot of people and make perfect sense!
      Thanks for visiting my website and for posting your comment!
      ~Dayna

  6. Great post Dayna. I sing a ‘clean-up time’ song when it’s time to put the toys away and my 2 kids (aged 3 & almost 2) get so excited at singing the song and being part of the clean-up. However sometimes they choose not to and that’s okay too. I enjoy seeing their things put away neatly so it’s something that’s no problem to do.

    They are also at a stage now where they think it’s a privilege to be given their own cloth or mop to clean up spills rather than me doing it and I like to encourage their independence and positive esteem in these small ways when they want to show ‘I can do it too’

  7. Thanks for this Dayna. As a new unschooling mama, I am really loving your insights….
    P.S-I think that book is “The Idle Parent” by Tom Hodginkson? It’s a fantastic book.
    Xx

  8. I call bullshit.

    • Hi LL, I know this philosophy of parenting is hard to believe because we live in such a different way with children in our culture. Once you experience the results of respecting a child and their freedom, you believe it! Until then, it’s so hard to understand that it is possible.
      Thanks for visiting my website.
      ~Dayna

  9. Thanks for the post Dayna. I do have a question for a transitional parent, i.e. going towards unschooling from generic progressive homeschooling. It all seems natural, but how does it work with a 5 and 12 yr old that haven’t been brought up that way, i.e. is it too late for the 12 yr old to actually like chores? Also, I don’t recall my wife or I grumbling too much about chores, but then I’m not with my wife during the day, so who knows? 🙂 Anyway, I’d like to get your feedback on this to see how this might work for us. I definitely like the idea and wish I could go back in time and tell my parents to raise me this way. 🙂

    • Hi Robert, thank you for your comment and question. I am happy to schedule in a time to talk this week to give you individualized attention and focus. Just drop me a message of what time works for you and we can go from there. Thanks again!
      ~Dayna

  10. Hello Dayna,

    I read your post with a knot in my stomach. And I am trying to stay open minded, process the information, and formulate an authentic response. I agree with you completely about setting an example. I was mostly unschooled growing up, and I am unschooling my two kids, who are almost 9 and 10. I see how they love to read, learn, study math and science, create, work with and care for the animals, travel, talk to people, philosophize, spend time in nature, and be physically active, all because they WANT to. They are even starting to enjoy cooking, and making up new recipes. None of these things were forced on them.

    But I am a single mom, an artist and writer, and my idea of joyful domestic work is cleaning the barn, not the house. I do enjoy a clean house, and I do have rare moments when I can clean with gratitude. But there are only so many hours in a week, and if I have to choose between doing the dishes, or taking some time to write or paint… I am going to write or paint!!! So of course I see the same priorities in my kids. And unfortunately I have grumbled about housework, resented it, and started ongoing arguments and unpleasant tensions with my kids about it. The everyday chaos of family life feels like an overwhelming and constant struggle for me, and I will confess that I resent many aspects of it. I love my kids. I am fiercely proud of them, and committed to our radical unschooling lifestyle, despite the sacrifices I’ve had to make to maintain it. However, I don’t love the “role” of mother. Being a mother is just plain hard for me. And I don’t see how, at this point in my life, I can just decide to change my personality and all of my past conditioning and suddenly feel cheerful and grateful about feeling like a domestic slave.

    Just a friendly debate. Would love to hear your response!

    • Hi Meg, I think so much of the work on this path is within ourselves. The inner growth is never done. I am so happy to read that you are choosing your passions before cleaning and so are your kids. I think if you just let the power struggle go, everything will eventually get done. Just allow it to unfold and focus on what *is* working in your home with your family. Be light with it all. The housework isn’t a big deal unless you make it out to be one.
      Thanks for your comment.
      ~Dayna

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Dayna, I’m really curious…how old are your children? Do you have any adult children?

    I have five children and three of them are legally adults. When my children were all very young, I thought if I did everything right their lives would be easy and they would grow up to be what I wanted them to be. Now that I’ve been a parent for nearly 24 years, I’ve learned that it doesn’t work that way.

    • Elizabeth, I agree that a parent should never want a child to be anything other than who they are meant to be in life. We honor our children in their own life paths and support them always being true to themselves.
      Thank you for your comment and for visiting my website.
      ~Dayna

  12. How old are your kids?

    I’ve tried that approach, and it works for a few months, but then it always devolves into me (and often my oldest) doing the lion’s share of the work while the others don’t pull their share. With my oldest and 2nd oldest only a year apart in age, it’s NOT a matter of “she’s too young to do it.” They’re both teenagers and quite capable of doing “adult household tasks.” And the youngest is a strong 9yo boy. And as a single mom, there’s no other adult in the household to pick up the slack.

    They’re all capable of doing housework, but things don’t just “fall smoothly” without some sort of structure. We need to agree on who’s task it is to take out the trash or put away the laundry, or the work will NOT get done “evenly” and it leads to resentment. The household runs more smoothly when we create a structure for the work. Part of the issue is the personality of various family members- DD1 and I can see what needs doing and do it, but DD2 and DS won’t do ANYTHING if they don’t know exactly what’s expected of them. DS is too young, and DD2 just isn’t wired for it.

    I love the concept of unschooling and unstructured family life, but it just didn’t work for my family. Sometimes, in meeting the needs of all family members, you need to try different approaches than you thought you’d need to use.

  13. Call you on your BS says:

    I am calling BS! Not only are you teaching your children that someone will be around all the time to pick up their crap, you are not teaching them one single life skill.
    How in the world are they going to function in a world full of people who really do not care how special their mommy and daddy think they are?

    Here is the real hard ugly truth. My public school educated children, who have a long list of daily chores ( which include,, gasp!Mucking out the barn. I know, it is stunting their ****special unique selves** when they are expected to deal with crap) will eat your children alive when it comes to applying for and actually getting a job as an adult.

    Do your kids a favor, enroll them in school, give them hard chores and make sure they appreciate everything they have at home.Then they will be able to live a life outside the rainbows and granola you have created.

    • If you have never witnessed a child living in freedom and respect you have never seen first hand what is possible, so it is hard to believe. Unschooling creates loving, kind and respectful children because they are loved and respected themselves. Children learn what they live. Kindness begets kindness.
      I know not everyone would want to live the Radical Unschooling life, but our family is so grateful to be living this life together.
      Thanks for visiting my website.
      ~Dayna

      • Call you on your BS says:

        I have witnessed children who are not expected to help and work. They are not loving, kind, and respectful. They are children who are lazy and expect others to do for them.

        However, visit a family that works a farm for example. A child who is expected to get up before going to school to do a long list of chores, go to school, get their homework done, and do more chores and you will find a child who is all those qualities listed above.

        As the saying goes. ” the proof in is the pudding”. Once your children become adults and attempt to live a life outside your home, you will know if your ‘radical’ living really was the best thing. Because, I am betting you will find that you made terrible mistakes at the cost of your children.

        • Not everything works the same for everyone. Just because you have witnessed one thing doesn’t mean that Dayna hasn’t witnessed another. She respects your opinion. You should respect her’s. You do not know her or her children nor does she know you or your’s. You can not judge another man (woman) until you have walked a mile in their shoes. I would never judge you by how you choose to live your life and raise your children nor would I judge Dayna for how she lives her life and raises her children.

          • William A says:

            I agree with everything BS had to say. Any studies done in the real world that you can sight as to how these unschooled individuals make out in life, especially the job market. Have you ever experienced what it is like to survive in this would without a formal education? I would love to know what your household income is. In my world it takes money just to think like you do. How far up the education ladder did you go? Got any degrees? Good luck in your grand experiment. I pray your children do not suffer as a consequence of your well meaning intentions. Loved your speech on being judgmental all the while being the judge. I have never “walked in the shoes” of childbirth but I know it is a painful procedure. Blessings to you all.

  14. My husband was responsible for his own laundry at a pretty young age, and there was a lot of emotion and tension surrounding it. To this day he resists anything to do with it! In HS, he would even go buy clothes in lieu of doing laundry.
    I, on the other hand, wasn’t allowed to participate in anything other than setting the table or dusting because my mom wanted to just get it done and because I would end up making a “mess”. And today, I really derive a lot of pleasure from cleaning; it’s something I can do while I contemplate to universe. 🙂
    I, too, turn on music and they help out in a way they choose, even if it is cleaning the same window 50 times. Both of my girls adore cooking, probably because I do, too! 🙂
    The biggest part is trusting the process. I am seeing it in my 5-yo, who loves to put on a princess dress and have me pretend I am a witch who is going to lock her in a dungeon if she doesn’t get her work done. She came up with the game, and it works for both of us. Do I think she’ll be dressing up like Cinderella when she’s 40? Maybe! What’s important is valuing what we have now and pushing away fears of what the future may hold. That’s sometimes the hardest but most important thing I can do as a mother, but it gets easier, one layer of the onion at a time. Fearing something only makes it manifest; it’s a waste of my time.
    Why, by the way, is the princess always made to do chores as a punishment for being beautiful and kind???
    Thanks for the post, Dayna! ♥

    • Amy, Thank you so much for your comment. Interesting that chores are used as punishment in fairy tales. I hadn’t thought about that! Thanks for pointing it out.
      I really appreciate your words!
      Thanks again, Dayna

    • Oh how that reminds me of doing housework as a child. I loved cleaning the brass ornaments but I *had* to wear a long skirt and boots and pretend to be a Victorian housemaid!

  15. This was lovely. I can honestly say that I don’t always enjoy doing the housework and cleaning, but most of the time, if I remind myself that it serves a larger purpose, it is just fine. And, if I remind myself of that higher purpose, my son also senses it and pitches in on his own. My son is 13 years old. I used to do chore charts, insist that chores be done before fun, etc. But, since I’ve relaxed, our house still gets clean, and we are both much happier.

    My son has learned from just watching my example. If I have friends coming to visit, I like our home to be presentable, and to have a nice snack or meal for them. I am HAPPY to provide these things for myself, for my son, and for friends. He sees the friends being happy to enjoy themselves and relax as a result. Now, when HE has a friend coming over, he understands that they will be have a better time if things are neat and tidy before the friend arrives.

    My son also has learned from watching my example, that he can accomplish more of his own goals if things are kept tidy. I can’t do my art projects, crafts, or study in a mess. The same for him. Seeing the bigger picture has helped us a lot.

    Thanks for this post.

    • Malea, Thanks for your comment! I love the examples that you gave! I could feel your joy in sharing your journey from charts to connection, love and trust.

      ~Dayna

  16. My Radically Unschooled now-18-yr-old amazes people with her work ethic. She actually likes really hard work (she did not get that bit from me!) She also has seriously great life skills that are standing her in good stead.

    That does not mean there have never been discordance over household management. Most of those times were resolved as I processed what was actually going on for me and recognized areas within that needed to change. We’ve always freely discussed everything.

    And that does not mean that she’s always worked hard. I allowed her to find her own rythyms, tho did require respect for others in the home. What was hardest for me was the several years that she stayed up super late and slept a lot of the day and spent a great deal of her waking hours on virtual pet sites. I got a lot of criticism in those days!

    I did trusts the process, but confess I was greatly relieved when, one day, she decided that she wanted to spend her time on things that would count for something long-term, not just short-term pleasure. I later was astounded to discover how many important things she’d picked up on those ‘silly’ sites. And how well she applied it to other things.

    I don’t have time to go into great detail here, but it has been an absolute kick to support her in whatever direction she’s chosen to go, and to see how things have worked out, how she’s on a quest for self-discipline (those who know her well consider the most self-disciplined person they know), how she’s become a savvy entreprenuer, how she’s a skillful communicator, a joyful, helpful person people love to have around, how she’s writing her second book, etc.

    She has a reputation for being kind and considerate. Loving. Very respectful.

    Guess she would not fit well into BS’s characterization of a radically unschooled child, would she?

    Hmm…I’m thinking of a farm family I visited recently. Large family. Lots of chores, tho no public school, as per BS’s ‘high standards’. I did not see an overabundance of the qualities BS listed.

    I do have to wonder what prompted BS to post such ungracious comments. Guess SHE wasn’t raised with enough chores or homework to produce those qualities she’s promoting 🙂

    Blessings…

    • Ann, I loved your heart-felt post about your daughter. I read it when I was in Texas at the conference and it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I know not everyone is ready to accept this life or learn to live in partnership, but you sharing your experience helped to bring someone closer to a life of freedom and respect, I am sure of it! Thank you.

      ~Dayna

  17. We don’t have chores either. My partner & I clean together at the end of each day, or every couple of days, we give it a daggy name (“Hour of Power”, though it might take more or less time than an hour) & we play music, dance & sing while we clean. Our children want to help because it looks fun and it looks fun because it is fun. There’s no need for keeping house to be a chore, it’s all about perception I think.

    • Kimberley, Yes, perception is such a big part of it! Internal shifts are such a big part of coming to this life. Thank you for sharing and for your comment!

      ~Dayna

  18. The enjoyment of household tasks comes down to mindfulness for me. It took a long time for me to be able to enjoy the moment rather than view the task as a chore (and I admit that sometimes I still fall into old ways of thinking about *chores*). It was a shift in mindset, just as consensual living and unschooling are. When I am mindful of what I *choose* to do and why, my children pick up on that, and more often *choose* to share in tasks. My children are learning many useful skills because they are naturally mindful of life and learning and want to participate. Life would be much more enjoyable, I believe, if parents continued to nurture the naturally occurring mindfulness rather than forcing those tasks into drudgery.

  19. I LOVE this article! It has really opened my eyes to a new perspective for my home and family…Thank you!

  20. Oh, I love your blog post about unschooling chores! This describes me, too- I pick up the house and I feel joy when I’m organizing- I don’t get angry and frustrated at my son’s things all over- I actually feel joy to see the artifacts and “evidence” left over of his and his friends activity and creative genius at work. Sometimes I may playfully joke, “Mmmm…. Socks balled up under the bed… Wonder how THAT got there?” And we exchange a silly grin. Sometimes my son grabs them and puts them in the washer and sometimes I get to them first. The way I look at it is, my son will be dependent on me for only a short time in his long life ahead- I want to take joy in every moment of mothering this stage of his life.

  21. Tasha Byelich says:

    Thanks Dayna for reminding me and redirecting me towards this great life. We live a RU lifestyle, love it and see the MANY benefits but at times it REALLY helps to have these great inspirations and reminders to set us fully back on track. 🙂 I will JOYFULLY clean and cook today….and everyday! You are an inspiration, love you. 🙂

  22. Thank you for sharing this Dayna ! I found your blog reading a friend on FB.
    After many years of hearing me complain when cleaning or blubbering when storing, my children did not particularly love to clean and store. They did, like me … blubbering. I was sometimes overwhelmed, I had no support, I was tired (nuclear family is not the best for human living) and I had not stop enough to face the reality and accept that if the household was not fact, so be it, at least we could be happy.
    When I (finally!) came to (know, understand, “get”) unschooling – after cleaning the wounds of childhood – I realize how this is all related. It is my eldest son who first told me a few years ago, I did not “have to” do things I didn’t like to do (such as cooking a meal, washing dishes, tidying …) . He was right! Too bad this truth, and the ensuing release, did not come from my parents. How my life, that of my parents, my children’s, would have been nicer and smoother before …
    Now I know from personal experience how much I like to clean the bathroom, wash dishes (once daily, alternating with my husband), storing the games after spending fun time together playing, give books in order (and in a different classification just for fun as when I was little and I loved to classify clothes in the closet in order of length, and shoes by size or color, depending on my idea of the moment). Storing things, when I was not forced, was a game for me like creating a shop or museum showcase. I finally came back to this. Thanks to my children. And same for them, now teens, they clean and tidy when they have a great desire from within, something that is unavoidable. Often in music! It feels good!
    On this subject, my husband says if we forced our children to do chores, it’s like asking our guests to do the housework … not very inviting.
    A good book-testimony on the subject: “For the sake of our children”, by Leandre Bergeron
    http://www.lifemedia.ca/altpress/For_the_Sake_of_Our_Children.htm

  23. Do you allow them to decide weather or not to brush teeth and shower as well? I am interested in figuring this lifestyle out so I could start and have hubby see how it works.

  24. I loved this article, Dayna! I hope that someday, when I have children, I can inspire them to want to help out around the home not because they have to, but because they want to make our home comfortable for all of us. Do you have any suggestions for someone who was raised in a home where children were burdened with too many household responsibilities (from parents not wanting to keep house) and who watched parents perform household tasks with a lot of resentment, anger, and spite? My sister and I were expected to cook, clean, do the laundry, keep up the yard, and we were often very overwhelmed by having to attend school, work, and be in charge of our family home as children. If we did not complete a task satisfactorily, our parents would throw out our toys and slam and stomp about the house. If my mother was actually cleaning, it was a sign to stay far, far away from home because it meant she was furious. I don’t want to create that kind of environment for my children, but I find I get frustrated and annoyed when I have to tidy up, especially if it is a mess created by another person. I want to have a more giving attitude and a more grateful heart. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can see housekeeping as an act of love and as a positive activity?

  25. .”..slam things around or get frustrated that toys are on the floor, or dishes are in the sink. I don’t huff and puff and talk under my breath about being everyone’s slave.” this is ME…oh dear….i need to change…..

  26. I truly wish I had this attitude. I am working on it- but I am not there yet. I pick up so many clothes that have been strewn about and I confess, I get annoyed and irritated. I think, “why can’t they just hang it up? Why do they have to leave it all over the floor???” I do at least 3 loads of laundry a day and it gets old.

    At this point I have moved past being annoyed about the dishes and crafts- but the clothes… I need work on

  27. Love it! This is a perfect example of “living in joy” through our “beingness”. Really enjoyed your post. Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

  28. This observation makes your family sound lovely and wonderful.

    How do the economics work out? I presume you’re on one income? Is there an unnamed husband-and-father behind this scene, working seventy-hour weeks, or in a highly-paid profession, (or some combination, say in a pretty good professional job and working, say, fifty-hour weeks), to enable this life? And do you live in a neighborhood that seems safe? And do you respect your neighbors and do you socialize enough?

    I’m just trying to compare to my family’s situation. We chose to move into a house/neighborhood/town that requires both my wife’s and my professional incomes. We can easily see the lessened family cohesion and following-society’s-rules-as-a-duty-rather-than-deriving-your-place-in-the-world-from-first-principles that result.

    One or the other of us (OK, let’s be real, my wife) could quit her job and home/unschool the kids – we’ve talked about this very thing – but to do so on just my income, we’d have to move to a smallish house in a working-class neighborhood. We are the kind of people who might strike folks as elitist, plus we’re really not good socializers. So living in such a neighborhood and not sending our kids to the public school would risk putting us on an island, living a lifestyle that does not fit in with, and is perceived as odd by, our neighbors, with whom we don’t socialize anyway.

    Your thoughts?

  29. Just wanted to share a happy moment. The other day I asked my 13-year-old daughter if she would empty the dishwasher. She said, “I’d be happy to, mom!” And off she went. I still struggle with resentment at times, but her comment made my heart grow. I have always tried to tell my kids that same sentence, “I’d be happy to,” and it was so lovely to hear it from my daughter. We are a team, and this is OUR home.

  30. I do enjoy the sentiment here but I have a question. I’m not one to complain about cleaning and I do it all the time. My kids do, for the most part, what I ask of them…put away their own clothes, trash duty, dog duty, etc. However, they tend to complain a lot about putting their siblings clothes upstairs – even if said sibling is making the family dinner (one loves to cook all the time – he wants to own a restaurant when he’s grown). I feel that it’s not a big deal to trade off here and there and I don’t understand why my children don’t see it that way. I want us all to work together and can’t seem to figure out how to find that happy medium despite my efforts. We aren’t unschoolers but do have a very relaxed and flexible approach to education. I do not have chores posted for each child – but have thought that would help. I’m just not a “list” person. Anyhow, I feel I need something that will help things run smoother so I don’t have to always ask for things to be done around the house. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thanks for sharing your style:-)

  31. Kim Boutillier says:

    Dayna, I appreciate your prospective. We unschool, and lean towards radical unschooling. I try to just ‘lead by example’ when it comes to cleaning, but I like the way you put it. My kids are still young, 3 and 5, and the only time I get frustrated is when they fight me about basic necessities, like brushing teeth or taking a bath or washing hands. I try to make it fun but sometimes we fall into a fight about it. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Kim,

      I’m not a father yet, I’m just an uncle and in no way am I qualified to answer this…

      I like brushing teeth with my nephews and nieces. I usually use my electric toothbrush to make funny sounds and rhythms.

  32. kelly graves says:

    Dayna Im gonna try this. thank you for showing me a different way to look at this situation.

  33. david fasnacht says:

    Some of the first unschooled children often lived in or on a farm. This is exactly how it worked. Chores were part of the schooling.

  34. Carol Freitas says:

    Do your children ever fight with each other? What do you do?

  35. even before we started up the RU path, I ALWAYS treated my children with consideration and respect, the same as I do DH. No one wants to be told what to do all the time, bossed around, threatened, etc…I always asked, “Please can you help me?” and even before they were old enough to help, I also did housework willingly and happily…because my husband works hard to make it so I don’t have to work out of the home and I feel it’s my job to make a happy home where we can relax and enjoy ourselves.
    For those who are unsure, it’s never too late to repair that relationship with your children! Back when I asked, my kids didn’t ever say no…and now my 9yo is really noticing and just doing things or offering to do them without my asking. Life is beautiful!

  36. Wow… Im blown away! Everything i read from you or your husband is truly inspiring!! Im currently living with my mom, my 3 nephews (16, 12, & 10) along with my husband and 2 daughters (2 years, & 3 months). All of the things you said you didn’t do, is exactly what my mom did. i think she did because she was an overworked single mama 🙁 now Im doing the same thing she did to me, but to my nephews… i can’t tell you how many times my middle nephew flat out refused. Because of my newborn, its hard for me to keep up with housework by myself… but, my mom is gone out of town for a week & a half so i think i might drop the chore chart and just set a good example when i can. I want to clarify though, if Im asking for help that’s not coercing, correct? For example if my nephews ask me to make dinner, and the kitchen is a mess but Im exhausted from my day (my nephews are still in school- in the process of changing that!) would it be appropriate to barter? Like saying, i will make make dinner if i can get some help with the dishes.? Wow i have so many questions swimming around in my head but I’ll just start with this one!

    • You could just speak from your heart and ask them like you would a friend. “I feel a bit tired. Would any of you be willing to join me washing the dishes?” And be willing to accept ‘no’ for an answer. If you have been open and positive when accepting to do things for/with them in the past they will likely say yes, unless they’re doing something they really enjoy doing.

  37. Thanks for this…this is the type of parent I hope to be one day 🙂

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