Spoiled? Or Just Not Taught?

Spoiled? Or Just Not Taught?

Rachel Allison

Recently I read an article entitled “Spoiled Rotten.”  It was a great article that I sent to all my married children.  Now whether or not they read it…or took it seriously, I don’t know…all I know is that I have had all nine of our grandchildren, aged 4 months to 7 years, spending the week with me, and it’s been an interesting contrast as three families have been under one roof.

Let me preface what I’m about to write with the declaration that I dearly love all my sons, daughters and grandchildren.  My grandchildren are all well taken care of, and I so appreciate the fact that my daughters are all devoted to their children.  That said, mothers show their love in different ways.  One of my daughters is a nurturer.  She’s soft spoken and doesn’t demand much from her children.  Her children know they are loved, but they have not been taught how to give and help lighten the load that she carries as mother to three young children.  Another daughter is also a nurturer, but she has taught her four children the importance of helping with family responsibilities.  The contrast is stark!  The ages of these grandchildren are basically the same, and yet while the children of one family pitches in to help clean up toys, empty the dishwasher, vacuum the carpets, and help with dinner preparation, the first family’s children don’t see the need, nor do they offer to help. They are sweet children…they simply have not been taught the value of work.

This blog is sent to all young mothers who may read this entry.  Please, please teach your children while they are young the joy and accomplishment that accompanies work. Three and four year olds can dust, empty parts of the dishwasher, pick up their toys, make their beds (maybe not to perfection…but they can pull their sheets and covers up), empty small trash cans, and even vacuum.  Chores need to be an every day responsibility so that they get “in the groove” of service and dependability.

Five, six and seven year olds should do all of the above, plus empty dishwashers, load dishwashers, help with meal preparation, wash windows, shake rugs, clean bathrooms, and help with yard work…weeding, and sweeping.

I hope that mothers understand the importance of working along side of their children.  Children are more prone to enjoy the work if, at first, they are working along side siblings and/or parents.   It takes time and effort, but you will be giving your children a much needed advantage to help them become responsible, happy, productive adults.

4 Comments
  • Anastasia
    Posted at 05:45h, 24 July Reply

    Good advice! While I am only 25, and thus have no children of my own, I am the oldest of 6 step-siblings…with a good 5 year “start” on the next oldest.
    Now, it may be due to the fact that I was basically raised by my grandmother and great-grandmother (mother worked full time to support me, father left when I was 6 months old), but I’m the only one of my siblings who not only helped around the house, but also enjoyed it. Until my mom remarried when I was 7, I lived with my grandmothers and helped them clean.

    I weeded our vegetable garden, washed the cars, set the tabled, dusted, cleaned the bathrooms and made my bed…and did it with a smile since I knew it made my family happy. My step-

  • Anastasia
    Posted at 05:52h, 24 July Reply

    Siblings, on the other hand, had to be forced to do any cleaning, even if it was just their room. This would lead to crying, tantrums and timeouts …with me doing their chores for them. Not that my siblings were bad, just very lazy. And since I moved out on my own when I was 18, they had to learn to clean anyway!

    Each of my grandmothers is gone now, but I thank the Lady and Lord that I had such wonderful role models and caregivers to teach me how to be a clean, respectable person.

  • Diane
    Posted at 16:09h, 24 July Reply

    I agree that kids can and should learn to work along side their parents. I even think 1 and 2 year olds should help pick up their own toys. But, I think the physical size of a child makes a difference in what they are able to do. I have only had one child tall enough to vacuum by 7. On the other hand, I have found the little kids anxious to help scrub floors and bathrooms just to be with you, while the 8 and older kids are running and hiding and hoping not to be asked no matter how they did when they were younger.

  • Susan
    Posted at 20:48h, 24 November Reply

    This is the kind of thing I needed as a young mom many years ago. Sorry to say, though I did work all my young life at home with indoor and outdoor chores, for some reason, I didn’t learn how to teach others to do the same, and never was able to teach my children properly, though they were well behaved outside our home. Today they each suffer as they not only struggle keeping their own homes in order, but also as they try to teach their kids to work. Think of it this way: just because a coach can help a young man be a great ball player, doesn’t mean the young man can be a good coach. I simply couldn’t ‘coach’; I was never taught how to coach/teach. And this has been a great source of sorrow for me to this day.

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