A "Dependency Dilemma": Will More Chores Help Kids Develop Independence?

A "Dependency Dilemma": Will More Chores Help Kids Develop Independence?

Beth Callaghan
Mar 19, 2012

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal and a post on the New York Times' Motherlode blog got us thinking about kids' responsibilities within the home. Both pieces refer to a study conducted by UCLA's Center on Everyday Lives of Families that suggests that "American children seemed relatively helpless compared with those in other cultures." Is this a problem you see in your own lives? And could more chores be the answer?

While the Motherlode piece, entitled "Why Children Need More Chores," claims that "this is about laundry" and about "how the children contribute—or don't—to the household," to be fair to the researchers, it really is about more: are we preparing our kids to be independent agents with the power to thrive on their own, or are we setting them up for frustration when there's no one around to tie their shoes?

Ultimately, this question seems to be coming down to the value and importance of chores for kids. We've asked you before at what age and how many chores you might give your kids, but now we're wondering: are chores the key to the development of larger life skills and qualities, like independence, industriousness, or stamina?

When is a chore about more than just cleaning up the dinner dishes?

(Image: Flickr member Eric Leslie licensed for use under Creative Commons)

Read More:
The Wall Street Journal: A Field Guide to the Middle-Class U.S. Family
The New York Times: Why Children Need More Chores

Survey: Do You Give Your Kids Chores?
Make Assigning Chores Fun
Chore Chart for Preschoolers

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