The value of raising your children with the all-important “pitch-in” mindset is undeniable. It can not only help them behave, but can give them a sense of belonging and general positive purpose in their daily environments and to themselves.
Katherine Reynolds Lewis, (author of The Good News About Bad Behavior and journalist, certified parent educator and mother of three) has delved into why so many kids these days are having trouble regulating their emotions and managing their behavior. Three factors, she says, have contributed mightily to this crisis: first is where, how and how much kids are allowed to play has changed. Second, their access to technology and social media has exploded. Finally, Lewis suggests (in this incredible NPR piece), children today are too “unemployed.” She doesn’t simply mean the occasional summer job for a high school teen. The term is a big tent, and she uses it to include household jobs that can help even toddlers build confidence and a sense of community.
Yes, having your children do chores may mean there’s more work involved for you as a parent. As writer Bill Murphy so aptly states (in his Inc.com article Kids Who Do Chores Are More Successful Adults), “Sometimes, even if you could do a job perfectly, you have to let someone else do it just-barely-passably, if you want the other person learn from the experience.”
Think about this, parents, as you delegate some dinner table setting, clothes folding, dish washing, or cooking preparation this week perhaps, as you try to experiment more with giving your children some regular chores and daily responsibilities.
Because, as Julie Lythcott-Haims (former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and author of How to Raise an Adult) told Tech Insider: “By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment.” Another way that Lythcott-Haims helps us to look at the entire situation is, “If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them, and so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the of the whole.”
In the Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history, (spanning 75 years and counting–from 1938 to the present), researchers identified two things that people need in order to be happy and successful:
The first? Love.
The second? Work ethic.
And what’s the best way to develop work ethic in young people? Based on the experiences of the 724 high-achievers who were part of the study (including people like future-President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, the Watergate-era editor of The Washington Post) there’s a consensus: a “pitch-in” mindset.