Doctor: Chores are the canary in the coal mine of kids’ character

The Culture
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“What do household chores tell us about where society is headed? Chores are the canary in the coal mine of kids’ character,” Gilboa states as she opened her talk, revealing that she discovered while talking to a group of affluent Silicon Valley parents that though most of them had chores — laundry, cooking, cleaning —in their youth, only four of those 1500 parents in her audience give their children chores now.

Parents, she said, feel their children have too many burdens between school, sports, and clubs, and jobs. In essence, their kids don’t take out the garbage; instead, they are expected to excel academically and extracurricularly.

But by focusing on achievement instead of character-building activities and expectations like chores, Gilboa believes we might be letting our kids fall through the cracks when it comes to morals and manners. “As our expectations are rising on their achievements, our expectations are simultaneously dropping on the character of the child in front of us. Adults are willing to tolerate, excuse, even promote behaviors that damage these people that we love,” she says in the talk.

“I am a family doctor, and a few parents of kids in my practice say that they not only understand, they pay for their kids’ alcohol and drug use to help them manage the stress of their enormous workload.”

Gilboa relayed at TedX a story about one of her own four sons who had never put a lot of effort into the science fair at school. Finally, at the age of 12, he did: he worked hard, did his research, and took third place in the school science fair. He even advanced to the regional competition.

This article continues at [Today] How NOT to raise a little jerk: Do this with your kids

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