Don’t Spoil the Children – Helping Children through Chores that Develop a Work Ethic

I'm not doing that!
I’m not doing that!

Training children is about age appropriate education.  Parents do not intentionally spoil or overindulge their children, however children who are overindulged may become spoiled by  caring and unknowing parents. This message is not directed to toddlers under the age of three who are  learning about boundaries set by caring parents; if you experience tantrums by a toddler this is a normal behavioral transition from infant to toddler.  The future favors prepared parents and children,  in this light we share with you important lessons on chores, work ethics, and overindulged children.

Have you heard the saying “the kid is going to be a spoiled brat”? The daughter of singer, Elvis Presley, Lisa Marie Presley says, “I was quite the spoiled brat. I have quite a temper, obviously inherited from my father, and I became very good at ordering everyone around. I was the princess; the staff were absolutely terrified of me.

Also, you may have seen a  young boy having a tantrum, screaming, crying in the department store as a means to get something, with everyone watching, the parent “gives in” and the child gets want he wants; who’s training who?

Contrarily, “daddy made sure to instill in us a work ethic” – Kathie Lee Gifford, Hostess, NBC’s Today’s Show.

Amy Nishi-Kessinger
Having chores helped Amy become a productive person throughout her life.

Chores do work for the benefit of children.  My wife Amy Lou Kessinger’s early years were with an abusive alcoholic father, and her parents subsequently divorced.  Fortunately her mom was loving, nurturing, and strict, and didn’t enable or spoil her daughter.  Amy’s mom was ill for many years, so while they lived with Amy’s grandmother,  Amy became a young care giver to her mom to help in the household and with her two younger sisters.  Life was good and there were many necessary chores.  The four of them (Emiko, Karen, Sharon, and Amy) lived in a small bedroom at their uncle George Nishi’s home. They received financial help from the welfare system.  Another person who influenced Amy’s life was Pastor Davis from Kinoole Baptist Church in Hilo, who picked her up and took her to church every Sunday for three to four years.

Thank God, due to her mother’s insistence, Amy studied hard and was a good student who received work-study grants to complete her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Whether a child earns a degree or not, the important point is having a good work ethic will lead to a successful path and life.

One funny example of Amy’s mother’s traditional values, is her grounding us one month before our wedding, because we came home after Amy’s curfew.  We couldn’t date, while Amy stayed home to complete sewing her four bridesmaid’s dresses and tend to other wedding details.  We have been married over thirty-nine years, thank you Mrs. Kessinger.  While Amy’s upbringing is from two generations ago, it still holds true today: productive, responsible adults had parents who instilled in them good work ethics by giving them chores to do and rules to follow.

Tani Katada-Freitas a friend and contributing writer of Starts at Home shares how she had a part in teaching her ten children about chores, beginning after the age of two (2).  An important household rule was:  “No Chores, No Dessert” a simple rule.  If the children didn’t finish their dinner it was bed time, and the uneaten dinner was put into the refrigerator to be served for breakfast.  If the children were hungry later in the evening, Tani was sympathetic, but explained, “Sorry, but dinner time is over, you’ll have to wait till breakfast”.  Each child helped with cleaning the dishes and kitchen after every meal, and there were lots of other chores for them to do around the house.

Here are some suggested chores for toddlers to help them develop good work ethics

  • Putting away their toys after play time.
  • Helping parents with their chores around the home.
  • Helping clean up the dishes and kitchen after meals with their leading parents.
  • Helping set the dinner table, dishes or cups or both, keeping it simple.
  • Making the bed in the morning.
  • Feeding the pets and reminding their parents if more pet food is needed.
  • Brushing their teeth in the morning and evenings before bed.
  • Helping the teacher in school, church, or other organization.
  • Helping clean the house windows, sweeping and vacuuming the floors.
  • Helping their parents on their weekly chores.
  • Having homework time and checking their work for correctness.

Encouraging Actions and Words to Enforce their Chores.

  • Wow Johnny your bed looks well made, great job!
  • Remembering to compliment for doing something well.
  • Chore charting with rewards chart stickers.
  • Have a big prize after achieving a longer term goal

Many Times Parents Don’t Realized these Actions Contribute to a Spoiled and Narcissistic Child who is Self Centered.

  • Never saying “no” to the a child and let them have whatever they want, because “it’s easier”.
  • Make them feel they’re always the center of attention and center of the universe.
  • Not asking them to share with other children.
  • Never receives spanking, timeouts, and other forms of discipline.
  • Allowing the child to boss, hit or bully other children and adults.
  • Allowed to them watch TV while others are required to clean up and do chores.
  • Pampering a child to be always so cute and pretty and not teaching chores, social skills, and following up with school homework.

Life will be good for children when they are raised and trained using chores, encouragement, and obedience.  Amy and I recommend parents find a church with a Sunday preschool program as a church will help instill good spiritual and moral values as well as educational fundamentals in children.  From this will come good relationships at home, with friends, and the community as good work ethic in the marketplace. Have fun and enjoy the children, it starts at home.

On the Web:  Narcissism – Psychology Today

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Correction, Time-Out vs. Spanking, and Discipline

Two different schools of thought exist on the subject of spanking vs. time-out as a discipline measure.   My wife and I decided to stop spanking our children when we observed them beginning to hit each other.  It dawned on us that they were mimicking our actions and that we needed to change our method of discipline.   Thereafter, when our children misbehaved, we  practiced “time-out” by having the children sit or standing in the corner for a period of time, and not enabling them to continue their action(s).

Sometimes spanking is used to discipline without parent’s exhibiting anger and used in private.

Should spanking be used it should be limited and done without anger as a last resort to break a non-tolerant behavior. The timeout method proved effective, as facing the wall not only stopped their negative actions but also enabled them to think about their behavior.

The practice of  “time-out” may prevent the dangerous combination of  hitting and anger, a combination that can escalate to child abuse.   Spanking often escalates, becomes a continuous cycle, and only serves to show children that their parents have lost control.  It’s very important for parents to be slow to anger and to retain their composure, the practice of “time-out” enables this.

The other important component of “time-out” is consistency, do the “time out” as soon as the child misbehaves and as often as is necessary.  As an example, in sports, players are benched for violating the rules.  The National Hockey League’s Rule 17.1  Bench Minor Penalty, involves the removal from the ice of one player for two (2) minutes.  Your home’s time-out could range between 2-15 minutes depending on the severity of the rule not followed.  Remember to keep your “cool” and not get angry, if you need to bring in your spouse or friend to give you a break, that’s wise as the child having a tantrum can be exhausting on the parent.

Your goal is to stop the use of tantrums by the child and not enable the child to continue this detrimental behavior that could continue through life.

Your rules and the importance of these rules can determine your home time-out durations, it’s up to parents to determine which rules are important, and very important.

The below is sorted from important to very important and how many minutes time-out could be.

Eating when its time to eat.                               2           2 minutes and no meal till next meal time.

Putting away the toys                                        4           2 minutes

Taking away another persons toy or object       8         10 minutes

Hitting another person                                      8         10 minutes

Not obeying the parent                                     10        12 minutes

“Time-out” and being alone in the corner of a room is a form of punishment and is the opposite of being hugged or hearing the words “I love you”.  Children inherently want to please their parents.  As a method of enforcing desirable behavior in children, “time-out” is an immediate,  more loving, and effective means of parental discipline.

In all matters, our love is the greatest gift we give our children.

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For related information in this website – search for tantrum

On June 27, 2002 The Associated Press released Columbia University’s analysis of six decades of research on corporal punishment linking spanking to ten negative behaviors including aggression, anti-social behavior and mental health problems. Continual spanking can have long-term negative effects.