Ask many of today’s parents if they were required to do chores as a child and the answer will likely be yes – accompanied, of course, by a description of their least favorite job.

But while 82 percent of today’s parents did chores as a child, only 28 percent of them expect the same out of their own children.  

According to family physician Leonard Sax, such a move away from chores is a huge mistake. The reason? Doing away with chores removes the opportunity for children to learn humility.

In his book The Collapse of Parenting Sax writes:

“Some parents, especially affluent parents, have told me that they are happy to hire a housekeeper or a landscaping service, or both. They would rather have their child devote their time to school work or extracurricular activities rather than household chores. I think those parents are making a mistake. You can hire a landscape service, I suppose, if you must and if you can afford it, but you must still require your child to do some household chores. By exempting your child from all chores, as many affluent American families now do, you are sending the message, ‘Your time is too valuable to be spent on menial tasks,’ which easily morphs into the unintended message ‘You are too important to do menial tasks.’ And that unintended message puffs up the bloated self-esteem that now characterizes many American kids. I see it often.”

In the last few years, the media has increasingly been filled with reports of children who refuse to cooperate in school or at home, or young adults who provide poor work and then make high demands of their employers. Is it possible that these problems are erupting because large numbers of parents are making life too easy for their children?   

Image Credit: Jeremy Hiebert