Some 94 percent of children are spoiled reports Richard Bromfield, a psychologist who works at Harvard Medical School and author of a new book, “How to unspoil your child” written up in the Boston Globe yesterday.
Here’s my favorite quote in the article: Q: “What’s one simple strategy to unspoil a child?” A: “Give and do less. Only by sometimes not getting does a child learn gratitude. Only by waiting does a child learn patience.”
That is a wonderful concise simple concept.
When parents give and do less, children have to give and do more, which means they can start setting the table before they can reach the table, like Bree. They can do the dishes every night, empty the dishwasher, cooking and doing yard work as a family, light housekeeping and as the children mature, take on bigger family projects together.
The daily ritual and responsibility of doing dishes every night is a way for children to do more. It benefits them and their family because children will feel connected to their families, and family connection is critical according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
One of the key ways to insure healthy teens is for them to feel connected to family and school, according to that long-term comprehensive study of 15,000 students in the wake of the Columbine massacre.
Parents flex what I call the TripleEe — empowerment, expectation and encouragement — when children do chores. Chores empower children by giving them self-confidence, self-discipline and responsibility. Expecting and encouraging children to do chores is the most effective and peaceful way to involve children in family housework.
To get your family going on chores start with a family meeting. See my free Tip Sheets on family meetings and “Give me a job.” Parents have the added benefit of being able to retire as the house servant when they unspoil and empower children with chores.
It’s fun to work together and many hands make light work, even if the hands are little and it takes extra time to include them. It’s well worth the investment.