The Drill Sergeant Dad – Kids Chores
By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT – SmileNotes
A father of five recently said to me that he feels like a Drill Sergeant when he comes home from work because all the chores for kids are ignored. He said he has to get the house back in “ship shape” and that he barks orders as soon as he arrives home. “Have you finished your homework?” “You need to pick up your clothes NOW!” “Don’t forget to feed the dog.” “Why are so many toys all over the floor,you can only play with one at a time. Put them away.” Mind you, he was never in the military service, but his actions and attitude do sound like a Drill Sergeant with a bunch of recruits.
The family counselor in me cringes at what goes on upon his arrival home. Do you think the kids might even dread dad coming home? I would hope that the father would learn to arrive with a greeting about how glad he is to see his family followed by some kisses and/or head pats. He may need to go change clothes, relax in his own bedroom for 15-20 minutes in order to switch from work to family mode, and then come out with a smile ready to hear and share about everyone’s day. Maybe before or after dinner he plays catch with the kids in the backyard or they go on a short walk.
Then everyone can help make dinner with someone getting drinks, another setting the table, someone does cleanup,and, of course, someone preparing the meal. If the home has been peaceful up to this point, then dinner will be pleasant and everyone can digest their food properly. And if your family is eating “in shifts” or watching TV, etc., please get back to the table with no TV! Research even proves that it is extremely beneficial to kid’s well-being.
I know you need to get your children to finish their homework, pick up their clothes, feed the dog (actually this should be done by the most responsible family member as the sweet dog shouldn’t have to wait on his meal), and pick up their toys. However, if you’re constantly having to remind your children to do choresday in and day out, then you haven’t got their attention nor their respect. There are other ways to get them to do their chores such as use of contracts/charts, simple reward system, divide/organize tasks among the family and then when everyone’s through their will be a board game. More next month, until then, avoid being the “Drill Sergeant Dad” (or Mom!). Look for what’s right!
Copyright © 2016, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P.S. Please see my other column, The Counselor’s Corner.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.