Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

I was going through some half-written blog posts that I never got around to finishing and posting when I found this one that I wrote several months ago. I'm posting it now...



A couple days ago, I wrote:

The day didn't end on such a wonderful note, however. When we got home, I saw the boys' room covered with toys and games. I yelled at told Jackson to pick them up. Instead of picking them up, I heard him whine, "Why do I have to pick it up? I didn't make the mess! Austin dumped them out on the floor! Clay made most of the mess!" He was so belligerent in his tone of voice that I lost it and informed him, "Fine. I'll pick it up!" I scooped up the mess, threw it in a laundry basket, and dumped it out the back door. I may or may not let him earn them back. I'm so fed up with his talking back.

An anonymous person wrote a comment and told me I was wrong to tell Jackson to pick up his things. I didn't publish the comment because, although the person probably thought she was giving me sound advice, she assumed a lot of things that were incorrect. She didn't know the whole story. She thought Jackson was my oldest and I was making him clean up the younger kids' messes. She also didn't know that Austin had not dumped out the games and Jackson had lied to me about that. And she didn't know how Jackson had been talking back to me in a very disrespectful manner all day. But her comment got me thinking anyway.

When the little kids make the mess, I do actually ask the older ones help them out oftentimes. You may think it's unfair and yes, in a way, I agree that it is. However, when those same older kids were 2 and 4 years old, they didn't have to do all the cleaning by themselves. So why should the ones who are currently 2 and 4 have to do all the picking up themselves? Usually it's me who helps the little ones clean up their messes, but I don't think there's anything wrong with expecting the older kids to help keep the house clean as well.

Now I'm not saying that you're wrong if you do things differently. I can understand the reasoning behind not making the older kids clean up after the younger ones. I'm just telling you how it is in my house. Everyone pitches in. Period. In a large family, I think it's important that everyone helps each other out. And, especially since the kids share rooms, that means the older ones are enlisted to help clean up the smaller ones' messes sometimes. Plus, my older ones earn allowance for helping me watch/care for their younger siblings, and for doing chores like taking out the garbage, unloading the dishwasher, etc. I just hate hearing, "But I didn't do it." My answer to that is usually, "Well I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed them for you. We all pitch in and help out."

That said, I do try to make sure I don't take advantage of the older kids and expect them to care for my little ones or help out too much. They are just kids themselves and don't need or deserve the level of responsiblity that I have.

So, I'm curious - those of you with more than one child, how do you distribute chores among your children? Do your older children have more responsibilities or not? Do you make the older kids help out with younger ones? Do you feel that with age, come more responsibilities and more privileges or do you strive to treat all children exactly the same?

There isn't a right or wrong answer to this; I'm just curious as to your thoughts on the matter. So, please be respectful to others when you post your comments.

151 comments:

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

I think you do a great job and it's awesome that the olders can help the youngers.

Anonymous said...

Well, my goodness, I don't know how I happened on your blog--but I have 6 kids, too! A 6-pack, how clever!

My oldest are boys, 16 yr old twins. Yes, they have to help clean up other kids' messes. Yes, I say, "I didn't wear your clothes, or eat all the dinner, but I do wash, and cook, for everyone." OK, they do the dishes, and the folding, but that's because I'm trying to be the best mother-in-law in history. Those girls are going to be SO pleased.

The older 4 of my children are on a weekly chore rotation, so they have time to get really good at something, but not sick to death of it. Basically it is (1)Kitchen cleaner, (2)Bathroom and laundry, (3)Living room and dining room, and (4)Sweeping and schoolroom.

The 7 yr old is still just table setter, trash gatherer, sock folder, etc. But he is milking it, being the "baby," except he isn't the baby anymore. The littlest is 10 mo. He don't do squat.

He is, however, more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

It is so fun to see your family! Cute!

Alice, whose password is forgotten...

Shelley said...

"I just hate hearing, "But I didn't do it." My answer to that is usually, "Well I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed them for you."

I have three daughters, aged 16, 14 and 6. I try to make sure everyone cleans up after themselves, but it's inevitable that sometimes the older ones will end up picking up after the little one, especially when she was a couple of years younger. I, like you, am also sick to death of hearing, "But I didn't do it!" or "It's not MY mess!" My response is nearly exactly like yours above. I've been cleaning up messes that I didn't make, washing clothes I didn't wear, washing dishes I didn't use, and countless other things for the past almost 17 years, and sometimes that's just how it goes. I even give the same response to the little one, because I'll ask her to pick up something off the floor and she'll bellyache that it isn't her mess. Then I tell her that her sisters have been picking up after her for the last six years and she can darn well put a pair of someone else's socks in the laundry for me. Whew. End of rant. :)

bcmom2 said...

My two boys are 7 and 4 and I deal with the same thing! Whenever I ask my older son to clean up he finds some excuse as to why he shouldn't have to. It's usually that his little brother made the mess not him. My responses are very similar to yours. I say things like "Well I didn't use all the dishes in the sink but I cleaned them anyway." or "I didn't get pee all over the toilet and tooth paste on the wall but I cleaned the bathroom anyway!"
I do have the younger one clean up his toys and put his clothes in the hamper but I don't think there is anything wrong with older siblings having to help out a little more. Like you said, they didn't have to clean up all their messes when they were younger because you helped them.

jennyandcompany said...

same here! my oldest helps out a good bit, but is usually happy to b/c I don't take advantage. They do whatever they are big enough to do, whenever I need the help. big enough to push the vacuum? then have at it. putting away their own clothes starts around age 2, and my 1 year old likes to help his big brothers unload the dishwasher. emptying trash cans, folding towels, picking up their toys/clothes, wiping down the table - these are some of the things they are always responsible for. I tell them the same thing - everyone helps out in a family. I also remind them at times that I know they didn't make the mess, but neither did I and I just need their help. (and hoping next time they see the baby throwing all the movies on the floor, they will get him to stop so they don't have to clean it up again!)

Marjorie said...

Well, I know I expect my older kids to help out, but I understand that it can feel unfair to have to pick up after the younger ones. But they don't always have to do it. So, since it is only once in a while I don't think I should feel too bad about it. I know my oldest actually LIKES to help out with the tiny kids. So I'm quick to ask her to hand me a diaper or to throw one away. It's quite a reward for her to try and change a wet diaper as well. It makes her feel grown up.

EmilytheCreative said...

My kids are 4yo, 3yo and 10 months. While I'm not to the stage you are at.. this is what we do in my house.

I make them each (4 and 3 year old) go to their room and clean up their mess. When they are done they go to the kitchen (we have a play kitchen in there), living room and my bedroom (they often drag numerous toys in there) to clean up their toys. I will clean up any toys the 10 month was playing with (unless one of the kids say they will do it.. which does happen from time to time). If there is one large mess that I know they both made happens to be in one of their bedrooms I make them both pitch in and help. I give them a certain time limit to clean up their messes in (usually 10-15 minutes). It works for us for now. If they start talking back to me, which doesn't really happen yet.. although I know it's only an amount of time.. then I am not beyond giving said toys to charity.

Kids need to learn to take responsibility for their actions. They make a mess.. they clean it up. So many kids these days think they can do whatever they want and they will have someone behind them cleaning up after them. That's not the real world.

KAL071203 said...

Dawn, so intresting that you posted this today, my hubby and I have just been discusing how to handle the fact that our 12mo. is pulling out toys and making a huge mess but can't really help clean up yet..and trying to make sure we are only making our 4-year-old do his fair share...basicly as long as our older son is actively cleaning up, not whinning and carrying on one of us helps him pick up the toys...It seems like a whole new ball game now that our younger son is entering the toddler years.

Rachel said...

Yup, same here. My girls are only 3.5 and 1.5; everyone pulls their weight. I agree that there is nothing wrong with the older kids helping the younger. With more kids mama gets spread more and more thin, there's nothing wrong with the older ones helping the younger. I figure it shows them what it really takes to run a house and they'll A)learn to keep up better after themselves so they don't have to do it later B)give them a realistic view on what it's like to be a parent/spouse C)appreciate all mom does that much more.

Kristin and Co. said...

My attitude is the same as yours - we all have to pitch in. Yes, I know you didn't make all of the mess, but the 2 year old is only going to learn by example and right now, you are his hero. I also try not to just issue orders to the older 2 and leave them to pick it all up themselves.

Let's face it. The 2 year old may drag a bunch of it out, but the 6 year old doesn't exactly ignore it once it's out. Okay, the 15 year old probably doesn't sit down and tinker with the Power Rangers.

It's not much different than doing dishes - no, you didn't cook dinner and make a mess of the pots and pans and most of the plates, but you got fed, didn't you? Pitch in, kiddos.

Plus, when Mom doesn't have to do all the work, Mom tends to be a bit chirpier and more able to sit down and snuggle in front of Wow Wow Wubbzy or The Office.

muchmorethanmommy said...

I am definitely going to remember that line... "Well I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed them for you."

I only have two girls, but the older one (5) already understands part of her role as big sister is to help out her younger sister (2). It's part of being the older sibling. That was me, but I was more bossy than helpful. I don't want to develop that kind of relationship between my girls. I want them to grow up being more of a team and helping each other out -- it can happen!

I agree with you, I think in a larger household especially, everyone's got to learn to pitch in whenever and wherever they're needed. IMHO, that's also just part of being a family!

Tracy said...

I have three boys age s 9, 7, and 22 months. I do ask the older two to "help" the baby clean up. I have found if I ask them to teach him to help they do it with alot less arguing. Most of the mess is made by him or my middle child, and yes my oldest has probably done more then his fair share of cleaning, but I am so sick of seeing brand new toys with pieces scattered all over the place. I to have finally cleaned up messes myself and made them earn toys (or pieces of toys) back. Sadly I do not see any difference in responsibility with age, at least around here!

Ruth said...

About the same here, mine are 14,11,9 and 5. Mine do have regular chores, empty dishwasher, feed dog, clean your room etc, but we don't do allowance on a regular basis. We talked about things like going to McDonald's, stopping at 7-11 and renting movies with them and they decided their set chores would be for those things. I offer up extra chores for cash occasionally and I do pay my oldest to babysit when I leave. They all get stuck sometimes helping their little sister pick up it seems, with 3 older brothers she's got them where she wants them ;) I don't think it a big deal to have the big kids help the little ones. Your house sounds pretty normal to me! Feeling better I hope.

Debbie in Kansas said...

I have only 2 kids... 8 and 5. And yes, I ask them to help pick up, even stuff they didn't get out. It's called working together. That's what a family does. Because I know for SURE that I did not play with the Barbies or the Pokemon cards... yet I picked them up, so I could vacuum cracker crumbs from the floor.... that I did not eat.
LOVE your blog!
Debbie

Missy said...

Good questions.

I only have two kids who are both older now. One is 15 the other is 11.

The older one used to watch his sister for me occasionally. If I was gone for more than one hour I would pay him. If I was gone for less than an hour I didn't . I told him it was his way of helping our family.

I have not asked one kid to clean up the others room, but I have asked my oldest to supervise the youngest to make sure the mess got cleaned up. In community areas, such as the living room, dining room, etc. whoever I ask gets to clean it up whether or not they made the mess.

My oldest definitely has more responsibility than the younger one. He does more chores, but he also gets a bigger allowance. It's funny though since it's my younger one that is much more willing to help.

I expect more from the oldest, since he is just that...older. I've heard some grumbles, but thankfully not too many. I figure that someday, when he has kids, he'll understand. You know, the whole "mother's curse" thing.

Kerri S said...

Im with you Dawn! My older kids do more chores then the younger ones. When they get older they do more and harder chores. When my boys get married there wife will love me because I tought them to cook and do laundry and dishes. I don't think there is anything wrong with kids helping out with chores they need to learn sometime.

Craigo family of 8 said...

Oh, Don't you love those rude comments...Probably only had 1 kid...I have 6 and yes, my older ones do help clean up and often, ummm...every day, lol

Craigo family of 8 said...

AND YES...the little kids get more chores added as they get older...

Heather said...

I would say that you have it just right. I also have a big family (9 children)and that is exactly the way I handle things. The older ones help with the younger ones. They learn leadership, respect, service, cleanliness, and many other things not to mention my piece or mind.
When you have a large family you need a cheap maid.
You need to read Cheaper by the Dozen again or for the first time.
Great book for parents of large families.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

when the kids were younger the older had to help the younger but the younger being the girl ended up doing more because her brother was just slick like that... he has since moved out and she knows that she is expected to help out around here but she does not do certian things... I do our laundry she does hers... I do dishes but she has done them many times over the years, she vaccumes and gets paid for it, I mop and so does she at times. she keeps her bathroom clean I keep ours clean. the biggest cleaning fight my kids had was over their bathroom he was a pig and she hated cleaning behind him... to get him to clean it was a battle but he did do it under duress like when it was the only way to get his car keys back.
sounds to me like you have it like we do all join in even daddy at times.

Jessi said...

I require my 8 year olds help their 2 year old brother pick up, but I do make him help. There is no 'mine' and 'yours' here, we all pick up all things. It happens on all fronts. Even with hubby and I, we clean up all messes. There is no 'your turn for dishes' just we do them based on who is there. It works for us. And it teaches responsibility and teamwork. And they get privileges for being part of the family.

Stephycce said...

LMAO we only have 3 here but the older ones help the younger one clean...And my biggest thing is when they have there set chores to do and they half ass do it..Then I say How would you like me to half ass wash your clothes? I'll wash them but not dry them that wouldn't be good would it? So if I have to do my job right you can do yours LOL.
Stephy

Shari said...

Well, I will tell you how we do it. I have a dry-erase board and on that board are all three boys' names. I write their chores for the day under their names with homework always being the first thing then the household chores. Before they can do ANYTHING after school or on weekends they HAVE to complete the chores on the list. They all takes turns unloading the dishwasher, mopping the floors, cleaning the cabinet fronts, and helping clean the bathroom since they are all BOYS and make a mess sometimes. There's other things too like trash dumping, dishes, etc. I do the laundry through and through and clean. Sometimes they vacuum for extra, etc. If they choose to have a bad attitude (we have a marble jar they fill up with 50 marbles and it equals $5 when it's full for each kid), not do the job correct the first time, don't do it at all or don't listen, it's automatic that marbles get taken away and they can get into the negative and have to earn marbles back to get into the positive again. HOWEVER, if they have a good attitude, do it right, help one another then they get up to 5 marbles a day. They can also earn marbles for helping a brother when not being asked to, are being extremely good, etc. then more marbles. If they choose to continue in the bad behavior way then it's loss of all privileges until they improve. I do NOT tolerate backtalking, blaming someone else, or other negative behavior. This has a huge impact on everyone in the family. If I let it slide just ONCE then they will try and get by with it again. I am not perfect in consistency or as a mother, but I will say my boys know when we mean business and they don't mess around. Of course they all act up, but they know and we stick with our word. Also, it makes a difference too we found out when Mom and Dad are on the same page and show that they love each other. This gives children security. The end result: happy boys and happy parents! Now, I will probably be called a drill seargent, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Shari said...

And let me add that YES my boys help one another, but we have incorporated since they were little the attitude of TEAMWORK which includes us as well. We all do the outside work as a family and get it done quickly then we can play. Same goes with the inside too if there's a lot to do.

Diana said...

Our son is 2 and he loves to help out! We hope to have another soon, and when we do, we will have our son help out with little brother/sister. By helping out, I mean doing stuff like bringing me the nappy, brining the bottle of milk, etc.
As of right now, he has to pick up all of his toys and whatever other mess he has made. When he does it with no problem, I help him out and end up picking up most of it, but the important thing is that he does do his share of the work.

Feisty Irish Wench said...

the 14 & 15 yo boys alternate cleaning the kitchen. the 14 yo takes out trash and recycling, the 6 yo girl replaces the trash bag. they do their own darn laundry. the oldest cleans the bathroom. we alternate who we assign cleaning the living room and dining room. mowing...will be explored this summer, now that ds15 is back home.

Dinner/Dishes/Drinking said...

It happens at our house too....my boys are 8 years apart though so it can be tough to get them to work together....I usually just threaten bodily harm er uh bribe them or grab a garbage bag and start reaching for something to throw away! But-the older one does usually do the lion's share....

Also, I have a SSO question:
When you are away, at a conference or trip, who watches the kids? I ask because I have a 3 day business trip (first ever, yay) coming up next month and have the kids going to the inlaws, my parents, and a babysitter on a rotating schedule as that's the only way we can make it work!

Meg said...

I only have two - ages 9 1/2 and 6. For the most part, each is expected to clean up their stuff. They have few to no chores (my DH grew up in a house where mom did most of the work and though the kids pitched in, it was not REQUIRED). At first I was uncertain about this because I grew up in a house where I had chores every Saturday - dusting, stripping the beds, emptying the trash, making the beds after wash was done - and eventually I was assigned the chore of laundress for our family of 7 when I got in middle school. However, my DH's raising seems to have worked. I find my children asking to help or just pitching in for the fun of it. Amazing!
Tonight my 6 yr old brought the laundry downstairs for me (I showed her how she didn't have to lift the basket, she could just drag it). I totally expected to hear an "I can't do it", but didn't.
I think by not having a set of chores assigned to them, they are much more willing to help because then they're doing it because they want to help which makes them feel better about the whole thing.
We did try assigning chores and then giving an allowance based on chores, but my DH read an article in a money mag about how to teach your kids the value of money and one of the tips in the article expressly stated NOT to pay kids for chores. So since it wasn't going well anyhow, that was the end of that experiment. They currently don't earn an allowance because DH and I have yet to figure out how we want to structure it. (I personally grew up without an allowance so its no big deal to me if my kids don't have one.)
I do ask the older to watch the younger from time to time (in the store, for a few minutes at home while I take the dog around the block, at school functions where I'm volunteering). I don't do it much because I know how much I resented my parents treating me like a built-in babysitter. I don't want my oldest to feel like that.

Darla said...

I hear a lot of the I didn't make the mess so and so did around my house all the time too. My kids are ages 6 and 3 and the way I do it is this.... I do all the cleaning, I'm a single mom so it's all on me... except for when it comes to their rooms. They play in each others rooms all the time so they help each other clean the bedrooms. I refuse to clean their rooms for them.... I have this thing about bedrooms being personal and should stay that way so even at 6 and 3 I let them make up their own minds on what toys go in which toy boxes, if I clean their rooms they are helping clean. Now if the two of them make a mess somewhere else in the house it is their job to help clean it up and my stand on that is the rest of the house, excluding my bedroom, is common ground, they can help pick up in the other rooms as well. They are responisble for cleaning up any of their toys, blankets, shoes, clothes, etc. that end up in other rooms of the house, but other than that I do the rest of the cleaning. I've been doing it this way for about two years now and it works for us... I doubt that if I had more than two kids it would work though.... To each his own is what I say....

Fiona said...

Mine are 8,6 and 3 and I definitely require more of my older ones. I tell them that they are to set a good example and the youngest tends to want to emulate them.... family and teamwork, just how it is!

Austyn B. said...

I have one son, age 18 months, but my two nieces that are here constantly, they are 4 and 3. I tell all the kids to clean up, but I think my son has attention defecit because each toys he picks up he starts playing with it all over again. The other two clean up and the 4 year old will tell him to pick up toys in put in the toy box while singing the clean up song. Maybe they're too young but they never say "I didn't do it". Probably because they've touched that toy at some point in the day, :).

Nikki said...

Hi Dawn, I have 6 boys, 25 to 4. Everyone helps, everyone has chores. Big ones help the smaller ones. It's called being a family. The same things do not happen to everyone at the same time. Everyone's turn will come to be the biggest.
You only can do the best you know with the information you have at the time. It's called parenting. Your doing a good job.

Tam King said...

I love this topic. :)

My daughter Lucy is 22 months old and to be honest, she has a lot of responsibility for her age. I come from a montessori childcare background, and while i dont agree with everyting I learnt there, a few things have stuck.

I expect Lucy to clean up after herself. When we take her clothes off for a bath she is expected (and does) put them in the hamper. Her pull up goes in the rubbish bin. Basically I parent Lucy on the premise that if I have to clean up after her, i might not have time right away to have fun with her. This actually works, it shows her that there are consequences to her making a big mess of the playroom, but if she makes a mess and then helps me tidy up, it gets done much faster and she can have a story sooner. I always clean the house while she is awake. I dont want her to think that a fairy cleans up her messes (and her daddies), i want her to see that Mummy does all these things, and to understand how time consuming it can be to put it all right again.

Lucy helps us clean her room and playroom every night before she goes to bed, she puts her cup and bowl on the bench when she is finished eating, she puts her books back on the shelf as she finishes with them...

It might sound like i'm raising a clean freak, but honest to god, we rarely have a temper tantrum from her about these things. She is willing to help and gets positive feedback from us when she does help either after being asked or off her own bat.

We had friends over last week, and they put their can of drink on the coffee table. Lucy put them on coasters. (WE DONT EVEN USE THEM, they're decorative!)

When we eventually have another baby, I would like to belive that we've raised a little girl who likes to help her family and (I'm no fool, it wont be like this forever)hopefully will be willing to help out in a more responsible capacity.

And my essay is finished.. :)

hrunars said...

Pretty much the same, my 2 girls (16 and 12) help out a lot and the 8 year old boy gets to do quite some things too. The girls have the responsibility of cleaning the 2 bathrooms (and I mean wash the mirrors, clean the toilet, everything), the 8 yr old basically just keep his room clean and then empties the dishwasher (normally along with the 12 yr old), the kids also clean the TV lounge, except for sweeping the floor (no carpets in my house, none at all). They also have started cooking and especially baking - it's just nice to have all this help.

And yes, the older ones sometimes helped the little one, even though the 12 year old was sometimes irritated when she and her brother shared rooms and he kept making a mess. (her room's NEVER a mess, now since he moved out :D )

Froggie said...

I remember saying to my mom something like, "It's not fair that I have to clean this up when I didn't make the mess!" My mother's response was always, "Well, life isn't fair!" That one simple phrase has helped me so much in life. I think that it is good to have the older kids help the younger in whatever you ask them to do. The last thing you want to train your children to do is tell their boss in 20 years, "I don't want to fix this problem, I didn't create it!"

Sheila said...

The way you phrased part of your question is EXACTLY what I feel: with age, come more responsibilities and more privileges. People who aren't responsible don't get privileges. We don't pay for doing chores, but those who participate in family responsibilites also participate in the family income, which translates to: those who help out in the house whenever necessary (cleaning up after oneself or someone else, more traditional "chores", etc.) also receive an allowance. My nine-year-old "participates" in both considerably more than my 11-year-old... (I "only" have five children, from 5 months to 11 years.)

Naomi said...

I have 4 children, 11, 4 and 20 month old twins. My eldest twin has Cerebral Palsy so requires a bit more attention then the others as much as I love them all equally. My eldest is often asked to help out with the younger ones (and does at times whine about it). There are just times when the Thomas the Tank Engine Lego is all over the lounge room floor that needs picking up and I have Zach attached to me or requiring some physical therapy that I need help doing things. I often ask Ashlee (11) to help Mitchell (4) pick up mess that she didn't make and I really don't think that is to much to ask or taking advantage of her.

I think you are doing a beautiful job and a really enjoy reading your posts! Keep on bloggin'.....

mmm.chocolate said...

I have three kids and I babysit three more. Most days, while the older four are at school, the youngest two pull out all the toys in the playroom. When the oldest four get home, I usually make them clean up the playroom before they can -- say -- play computer. It takes all four of them five minutes and they are helping ME, not the babies (who are too young to do it themselves). It's their after school chore and I don't care who made the mess. I'm with you on the whole, "I clean up things all day that I didn't mess up so you can too!" I would clean the playroom and have the others do the dishes/mop the floor/wash the laundry, but even the oldest four are young and they don't know how to do those other things yet. It's just easier this way.

Jodi said...

Hi Dawn. You do pose such interesting points in your blog. I get a great deal of pleasure reading them!!!
In the old days, it was always part of the older childrens responisbility to take care of the younger ones. Mum and Dad had mroe time with only 1 or 2 kids, add another 4 to the equasion and time is running out. Older siblings got their Mums and Dads, so it is their turn to give back to the running of the house.
I have two children. One is 18 and the other is 15. My son the oldest is much more responsible, and he has had responsibiities according to his capabilties, including taking care of his little sister at times. We took care of him when he spent so many long hours sick, and when there is two you dont have enough time. My son is now a very responsible adult working in an adults world and earning adult wages and is a credit to us. My daughter is different altogether and is being raised differently because of it. She has been very hard work and now my son takes care of himself, we spend so much time with my daughter as she is in need of very serious parenting!!! My kids have a wonderful relationship and My son has never begrudged the things he has had to do to help his sister.
Children really are given way to many rights these days and they are growing up very selfish and self centred and spoilt. These kids will really struggle in the real world.
I dont think there is anything wrong with expecting the kids to contribute to the house. Pocket money or not. We all live under the same roof and everyone has to contribute to the smooth running of it!!!

Sara said...

Ok, I don't have 6 kids, I only have 1 so far (and she's busily poking coins in her piggy bank on my lap right now). I still have an opinion. I think it's important to realize that all children are individuals, and treat them accordingly rather than treating them all exactly the same.

Cresta said...

When my sons complain, "But I didn't make that mess!" I simply reply, "I didn't ask who made it. I told YOU to clean it up." lol

maidto5 said...

I have 4 kids, 10, 8, 4, 1. the older kids do whine and gripe about having to pick up messes. (theirs and others) But I tell them that at least I am nice and dont make them use toothbrushes to clean the floors, like they do at military school. :)
I agree, everyone should pitch in and do stuff. I even make mine help in the gardens, and with the farm animals. I do occasionally pay them, but am trying to teach them that their pay is a roof, food and clothes. As a SAHM I dont get a dime of pay, and have to take ALL the flak, so I dont just throw money at them. I do more of a 'bonus' system. If I dont have to ask you to do it, (or scream at you to do it), then you get a little extra money- Not everytime, but it does get acknowledged in some way.

Figaro said...

I have 3 kids and the 2 older ones (7 & 5) have a list of chores that they love to work from and I do have them help their little sister (3) pick up a big mess she has made. But if she was the only one playing with her Dora toys, then I do all I can to get her to pick them up herself. I have also used the "I did not mess up all these dishes and I did not wear all those clothes yet I am the only one who washes/cleans them" to get them to understand that everyone needs to help out around the house. (Now if my husband would also do this!)

Karen said...

It's so refreshing to hear that you expect the older ones to help with housework when it isn't thier mess. According to my kids, I'm the meanest mom EVER for thinking up that punishment because ALL their friends mom do the work for them.

You know the routine.

We do insist that the older kids do more chores than the younger kids. And sometimes I have them clean up a mess that someone else made on purpose. But I do that with the younger ones as well. It teaches responsibility and character. So they tell me. I'm getting a lot of whining and crying out of it.

Sarah H. said...

I like to tell my kids that they can't use the excuse "that's not fair". The reason I give for this is because if life were fair Jesus wouldn't of had to die on the cross and there would be no hope for redemption. That's what fair gets us!

Anonymous said...

I have 3 kids, and the older two most certainly carry more weight around the house than the little one. I expect them to do their share and to help the little one along because he simply can't do things independently yet.

My kids are responsible for making their own beds, putting their laundry in their hamper, getting themselves dressed, clearing their own dishes, and getting/hanging up their own coats in the closet.

You'd be surprised at the number of people, friends of mine, who think that asking them to do these things is "over the top".

Families work and play together, it's what makes good citizens.

Anonymous said...

I'm a sixteen year old, and I have one younger brother who is four years my junior. The way it's worked in our house, every year at our birthday we get a two dollar raise in our allowence, and we also get a new chore. This means that my allowence is always eight dollars more than my brother's, but it also means I have more chores. I figure it's fair because in a few more years, I'll move out and my brother will probably get more responsibilities (and priveleges) to pick up the slack. And there have been times when the family has been particularly prosperous that my parents have gone out and spontaneously bought my brother and I some special new gift. My mom always says that we all share in the work AND the bounty of the house, and we've always found that to be very fair. :)

Susan said...

Hi Dawn,
Well, I don't have 6, but I do have 4 kids ages 13,10,7, & 5. They all have their own chores to do, even the 5 year old. She has to put away the silverware from the dishwasher. I figured it could also be educational in that she has to match the utensil to the right spot. LOL. The others have various chores that include taking out the trash, cleaning their bathroom, walking the dogs, mowing the lawn (only 13 & 10yo just started).
I also expect the older ones to sometimes help clean up messes they did not make, it is part of being in our family. I do get the 'I didn't make the mess' whine a lot and I say the same things you do - I didn't dirty your clothes, I didn't eat your meal, etc.
I think it is OK to ask those that didn't make the mess to help clean up. They still think I'm the worst Mom in the world and they never agree with me, but oh well, what's new!
I think you do a great job and I don't think I could do it with 2 more kids! But I guess God gives us what He thinks we can handle. I hope I don't have messed up kids! LOL.
Just remember you're a great Mom and you juggle so many things! Your kids are great and so are you!
Susan

JenT said...

Well, we kind of copied the Duggars in that our older ones have buddies that they help. But I think the key work is "help". I don't make the older ones clean up the younger ones messes. The little ones even the one year old has to help clean up the toys. Especially when it's only the little ones that make the mess. They are actually pretty good at it. With encouraging words and a 'it's not that big a deal' attitude they get the job done. Our rule is pretty much "If you make the mess, clean it up". I don't expect the same level of responsibility with the younger ones as I do with the older ones. As they get older they get more responsibility. Oh and I've done the same thing as what you did. Gather up all the toys and when you can take care of them, you can get them back.

Amanda said...

I thought that was part of being a family. You're older, so yes, you get more chores, but you also get to do more fun things as well. Mine are 7 and 2. My 7yo is currently getting a lesson in bathroom hygiene. I got fed up with cleaning the pee off the toilet and the toothpaste globs from the sink, so it's his job for the time being, and I supervise and help where he needs it. I told him "I KNOW I can aim, because I sit on the potty to pee." We're the only 2 potty trained people who use that bathroom on a regular basis, so I know it's his mess. I get grumbles, but he's starting to somewhat see that his little brother has to do things as well. I make my 2yo pick up toys, and his list will increase and they'll share a list as the little one gets older.

Steff said...

I only have 4- ages 14, 12, 10 & 8- all girls. They all have assigned chores, they all get allowance- but they don't get paid for the chores. The chores are just part of being in a family. Yes, the older kids are expected to do more than the younger kids, but they are capable of more than the younger kids. Just like I do more than all 4 of the kids do put together. Life isn't always fair, but you do what you can to make it a better place and you do what you are capable of to make your home a better place to live. It isn't equal giving, but it is equal sacrifice- like the widow with her mite in the Bible. That's how we look at it. We are a family, we work as a team. We do what works for us.

~Just Me said...

As a mom to 7 kids ages 20 years down to 3 I have to agree that the older the child is the more they are asked to do to help out. YES my older ones help out with the younger ones.

They teach by example. The more the older kids do the more the younger ones learn.

Kids are more likely to follow the lead of an older sibling then a parent when it comes to chores they do not want to do.

There is nothing wrong, even in a small family, with asking the kids to take respondsiblilty for keeping THEIR home neat and tidy.

Anonymous said...

I promise you I just had this conversation with my 8 year old yesterday. I have two girls 8 and 3 when Sierra is in school Trinity is responsible for cleaning up after herself when sierra is at home and they both make the mess they both have to clean it I know that Sierra usually gets most of the mess cleaned up but like you when she starts whining I tell her that I didnt wear the clothes, yet I wash them or I didnt eat off of all the dishes but I wash them... She usually gets up and helps after that although to tell a quick story when sierra was 3ish (I was in the military) she wouldnt clean her toys time after time I repeatedly told her to clean her room well it didnt work so after the last time I informed her that what was not cleaned within the next ten minutes would be in the trash... she picked up a few things then started playing again needless to say i bagged everything that was on the ground and had her walk with me to the trash can, throw it away, and watch the city come pick up the trash after that we really dont have too many incidents where she will not clean up after being asked even though she does complain she will break down and do it. As far as laundry goes she hangs all her laundry and i fold what needs to be folded however she puts it up as for my 3 yr old i hang her clothes for her but she is responsible for putting away the folded laundry and they are both responsible for making their own beds. I think you do a great job with your kids don't let others get you down-sasha in bride city tx

Dianne said...

I like the response you and others have given "I didn't wear your clothes, but I washed them anyway." I will remember that!

My 5 yr old is far worse about picking up anything (her mess or anyone's) than her almost 3 yr old brother. He is generally pretty helpful.

The other night when there were toys ALL OVER the house, we played a "clean up" game. I wrote lots of notes and put them in a box. "Put away 2 green things," "Put away 3 things that belong to someone else," "Put away 2 things with wheels," etc. We all took turns reaching in and pulling out a note and doing the assignment. My normally uncooperative 5-yr-old really loved the game and we all worked together to get the mess cleaned up! My son wasn't as focused, but did help also. (Granted, my husband and I never picked up just 2 of anything - we always picked up more of our assigned item to make it go faster.)

Amy Flippin Blankenship said...

I don't have what I would call a "large" family BUT my kids do do chores. They get a monthly allowance but that is NOT for doing chores. My husband and I believe that the kids should do chores just because they live in this family and should not be paid for doing chores. Their allowance is so they have their own money for times when we go to the mall or to a restaurant that has those cheesy games and they are constantly asking us for money. Now we can say "nope, you have money and if you don't, then you can't play the games ..or buy that toy". That being said, the chores in our house are evenly divided and rotated monthly. I have 3 boys (ages 10, 8, and 6) and the chores are 1. sweep/mop kitchen 2. vacuum the entire house 3. clean the hall bathroom (including sink, toilet,and floor but not tub as this is hard to do). So, they each get a turn to do all those chores. Chores are to be done every Sunday...by noon. It has worked well for us for about 8 months so far and the 6 yr old does as good of a job as the 10 yr old.

Erin T. said...

I have two girls (13 yrs and 11 yrs). They both have chores to do on a daily/weekly basis. They get allowance for doing their chores - or don't get allowance for not doing chores. I expect my 13 yr old to help out with things that the 11 yr old can't do. Such as cleaning the top of the computer desk - she's too short to reach and once fell off a chair trying to clean it. However, I also expect the 11 yr old to help her sister if she's got an exceptionally large mess to clean up.

As for throwing Jackson's toys outside?! Once when my girls shared a room and I was tired of the ususal "I didn't make the mess, she did!" or "I'm not cleaning up because she's not helping" they had left with my parents for a weekend away. When they came back they had nothing but a week's worth of clothing and their beds in their rooms. I moved EVERYTHING into giant Rubbermaid tubs into the garage and they had to prove that they were responsible to get them back... Little by little.

Keep doing what you're doing. You're teaching your children that you need to work together at times and be responsible and accountable. It will come in handy later in life!

Becs said...

I only have 2 children, and the oldest is 3... but even she helps me with the newborn. I am sure as we have more children, I will expect the older ones to help out.

I would expect more help from a child as he or she gets older regardless of family size. That teaches responsibility and as part of a family everyone should pitch in and help in whatever way they can.

I know you are not looking for reassurance or compliments, but you seem to balance it all very well, Dawn... and maintain your sense of humor.

On a different note, how did the little lump Lexi found progress? Did you get it reevaluated?

Diana said...

I only have 2 girls...a 13 year old and a 6 year old. Same here...I pay my oldest to watch my youngest and they both pitch in with household chores. Both my husband and I work full time plus, and we need all the help we can get. Both of us came from large families and as children we always had to pitch in to help out the family. So whoever that was probably has no kids and doesn't understand the whole picture. That's like watching a parade through a knothole in a fence and judging the entire parade based on what is seen through the knothole. I think you're right on track...keep up the good work. It teaches the older kids leadership and responsibility, and the younger ones how to be team (family) members.

Anonymous said...

Whereas I dont have any kids yet, I can tell you what my mom did. From the time I was in 3rd grade I was making my bed, keeping my room clean, keeping my clothes put up (she would go through my drawers a couple times a week to make sure everything waws folded properly, and if it wasnt it ended up in a pile on my floor waiting for me when I got home), and I was required to clean the bathroom [toilet, bathtub, sink, mirror, cabinets, and floor] then my mom would go through with her "white glove" test minus the glove and check underneath the cabinets around the baseboards and behind the toilet. If it wasnt perfectly clean, I had to clean the whole thing again. Mind you, age 8... and if I didnt do all of the above I would get my weekly $2 allowance. I'm glad she did though, it taught me responsibility and cleanliness.

I think you do what is necessary and you are doing a great job with your brood.

By The Time I count to 3 said...

Im a rookie at the chore thing,but whining is a regualr part of my day (unfortunatly sometimes its coming from me :) )
I have noticed lately that I make my four year old do a lot. I have a three year old and a two year old as well.
I think it's because of all of them I can most easily extinguish his whining by threatening to send him to his room or....something.
I am not happy with this arrangement for several reasons, one of which is that my three year old very oftan just sits and srares at her brother cleaning instead of helping (even though it was most likely her who "misplaced" the toys). Also I realise how I have become lazy in actually teaching them how to tidy up since I dont have the patience to hear the complaining and the "I Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaant do it!!!"'s.
I threw my back out last week and the kids have been UNBELIEVEABLY helpful. Maybe thats my solution!
Naw...I know I have some work to do.

Dawna L said...

3 kids....16, 10 and 7.

we clean house as a family. If the living room needs to be picked up...I don't care who's shoes it is or back pack or pajamas....just start picking it up. Less whining means you get back to WHATEVER you were doing before.

On Sundays, we all clean the house together until Mom (me) decides it is clean enough....

There is no "I" in team.

Dawn G. said...

Interesting post, Dawn. I have two kids and my husband and I both work full time, so I fully subscribe to the "we are a family - we help each other out" mentality. My boys (9 and 10) have responsibility to make their beds daily before school, pack their bookbags and clean up breakfast. Weekends they usually vacuum, clean up the game room at some point, and clean up their rooms so they can be vacuumed (and occasionally dusted). There are times when one child must do ALL the vaccuming for example, because the other has a big school project or cub scout camping, etc., and that's just the way the cookie crumbles. We are a family, none of us can do it all, and we all pitch in and help each other out. My kids are close enough in age that I don't have the older vs. younger so much.

I'll be interested to see what your other readers say.

Teresa said...

My daugher is almost 10 and she frequently gets "conned" by her 5 year old brother into helping him clean his room. I don't make her clean his room - he asks and she either says yes or no. But I've told her that she learned how to clean her room from me helping her and now she does a great job. So she's now the role model for her brother to learn how to clean his room.

Brooke said...

I'm not quite where you are yet. My oldest is three and my youngest is three months, so she doesn't exactly make toy messes yet. My oldest does have a select few chores - he feeds the pets and picks up after himself. But, we have instilled the rule that you do not get something else out until you pick up what you were playing with before. It seems to work, so far.. I wonder how much will change as the baby gets older.

MagnoliaPrincess said...

Most of the time I only have one kid (12yrs) in my house and yes his chores have increased with age as well as expectation as to how well it should be done. When my step children (13yrs and 11yrs) are here during the summer they all split my sons non-personal chores as well as do their own personal ones (making their own bed, putting away their own laundry) and they split the allowance he normally gets for the non-personal chores. They rotate the non-personal chores so that at some point in any week each person has to do the same chore as the other two. I just feel it keeps them honest in their effort. They dont want to come behind someone who did the job badly so they all do it to the best of their ability.

My step-son is the oldest but we actually had to "fire" him from a chore last year as he failed to do it correctly after MANY days of instruction. The other two handled it just fine so they were assigned it in his place HOWEVER because he was fired from it and the other two had to take on the extra chore he had to give over that portion of his allowance to them.

I dont expect beds to be perfect but I expect them to be to their best ability. As long as it is then they get an allowance. If however any one slacks off their allowance is docked that amount and they still have to go back and do it correctly.

Yes that means I assign a certain dollar value to each chore or "cents" value in some cases. LOL.

Ruth said...

I only have one child but I can tell you how my mom handled her 3 kids. Picking up our toys was not a chore, it was part of the playing. If we didn't pick our toys up we couldn't play with them again (they weren't given away they were just off limits). We had household chores appropriate to our ages and genders (it was the late 60's). As we got older, chores were added and others switched so I learned (in theory) to do most household chores (cleaning, washing, etc).

Baby-sitting was not considered a household chore. That was an extra job. My oldest brother is 12 years older than I am (I'm the youngest) and it was never assuemed he would baby-sit us. My mom always asked him if he was available to baby-sit and if he did baby-sit us he was paid or compensated in some fashion.

Our allowances were always deposited into our college savings acounts so they were not tied to doing the chores. If we didn't do our chores we were grounded until they were done and there were no extra privileges for the week even after the chores were done. There were exceptions to the grounding rule. If we were sick we didn't have to do our chores. But when someone else was sick we had to help cover their chores. If we had a special activity on the day that chore was normally done we could swap chores, make arrangements to do the chores a different day, or sometimes (if we were nomrally good about doing chores with no complaining or reminding) we were just excused from the chore for that week. Overall my moms philosophy seemed to be we were all members of the family so we should all contribute for the good of the family.

Mandy said...

I only have one 3 year old daughter but I babysit a 3 year old and his baby sister who is 1. The 3 year olds are expected to pick up the toys at the end of the day, even if they belong to the baby. If she made a huge mess (and she does) then I help too.
My 3 year old has to make her bed in the morning (I get her started, she tucks in the blanket and puts all the stuffed animals up neatly). And on days when the "extras" aren't here she cleans up her toys herself.
I have no problem with kids helping around the house in whatever way they are asked. It doesn't matter who made the mess, it needs cleaning and you were asked to do it.

tigerbcc said...

My oldest (11) too has more responsibilities than his sister (7). They both have things to do and chores they hate and I do get the mouthy responses at times mostly from my 7 year old. Like everyone so far has said, I tell them it is part of helping the family. But I have also begun to share that in life sometimes a lot and sometimes a little you will have to clean up after someone else. It may not be fair but it will happen and that the things they have to do around the house are helping them learn that lesson now before they get fired for not cleaning up after someone else late in life. That learning to do it with joy now will make it easier later. Being a parent is not an easy task and all of us do things differently. I am sure that I have not always done things “right” but I also don’t judge others on how they raise their kids. Having a very strong willed child has shown me that sometimes the parents are doing everything right and the child will have nothing to do with it without a huge fight. I cannot even begin to count how many times I have heard how I should be handling things. But those people don’t live with my child and don’t know how challenging a strong willed child can be. I don’t post things on my blog a lot of times because I am afraid of the comments that I will get. I think you are amazing for the stuff you share and the laughter you give and the “hey I am not alone” feeling that comes when I see you dealing with the same stuff I am. Thank you!

A&EMom said...

I have 2 little girls and they are not the same. I'm going to assume they never will be. They are different ages and have different strengths. I once heard a psychologist say that if everything's done for you and you don't have any responsibility, what's your value. By golly, I'll give them value!

Anonymous said...

I am the oldest of 7 and I always felt like I had to take care of my siblings. I have two children and I do not make them help clean up after the other. I made the choice to have another child after the first. My daughter didn't have a say. It is my responsiblity to help my youngest clean up if it is needed, not my oldest. I do laundry and care for the house because I am the parent and that is my job. My children have chores but they include things like putting their own things away, picking up their own items....basically if it is their's they are responsible for it. I know not all families are like this. It works really well for us.

Anonymous said...

I have two kids--nine years apart. (They are now 20 and 11, with the oldest away at college most of the time.) Yes, the older one did have to help with the younger one. He also got an allowance for helping out. But sometimes the younger one had to help the older one. If my oldest was studying for an important test, the little one could help gather up his laundry or whatever. Even a 3 year old can pick up laundry. We tried to be very conscientious about not turning our son into a 3rd parent. And we made sure he didn't treat our daughter like his own personal servant. Each family members have to pitch in for the good of all.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right! Every one needs to have resposibilities based on their age. My boys are 21& 14 & both have had their share of cleaning up after the other one.
And for an earlier poster - it only took 1 or 2 times of having to pick up all the movies or legos or cd's before big brother started helping to prevent the mess to begin with!!

Chris
MN

Lara said...

I have 6 kids. The oldest are 16 (twins) the youngest is 10. Of course they clean up the house. Of course they clean up messes that they didn't make. Yes it's not fair. But that's ok. The fair only comes once a year. I don't make them breakfast. I don't pack their lunches. I don't do their laundry. They're learning to make dinner. They know how to serve a guest. Why? Because the accepting of responsibility is the beginning of maturity. I love my husband like crazy.... I don't want 6 room mates in their 30's that can't figure life out!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I have five children (9,7,4,2 and 9 months) and I ask the older ones to help pick up after the younger ones all the time. I agree that in a big family (really any size family) everyone has to pitch in and help. I still help the older ones clean their room from time to time so I have to remind them that they still get plenty of help, plus the usual cooking and laundry argument. I am one of six and we were all expected to help out wherever needed when we were growing up, and there was no complaining allowed (I grew up on a farm). I totally agree with your approach and use it myself :)!

Michelle in Illinois

Anonymous said...

I have four kids. I actually said the exact phrase about washing clothes to my kids yesterday! We all pitch in to make our family work!

Jessica J. said...

To get to your website, I alwasy google "because i said so". Usually your site is the second result (the first is the imbd site for the movie). But you know what? Today, your site was the first one on the results. Whoo hoo!

Shonda said...

Dawn,
To put it bluntly... YES to all that you have asked. I think with a larger family (6 in my family), My older kids do help out. They have more responsibilities, they help the younger ones, and more chores.
Not that you need my acceptance.. because you dont, I think your right on.

AuntyM said...

Everybody is responsible for their own stuff. Period. So if one of the siblings gets into somebody's stuff, it's up to them to work it out amongst themselves.
If Mom wants it picked up immediately, the owner will have to take care of it or they better work it out quickly.
If the items belong to more than one person, then they all better get in there quick to claim their things.
Don't get involved in sibling disputes over personal possessions unless there is danger involved.
One of my friends handles it this way: if she has to pick it up, she puts it in a garbage bag and it goes to the trash/dumpster.
It's a good idea to have a time every day when things must be picked up.

Anonymous said...

Chorepacks.com That is what I use. The two older boys(10 and 6) use these and I list their daily/evening chores in there. I set a timer(because if I don't they dawdle) and away they go! We also have a set for Saturday chores(things that need done once a week) and these I pay them for. Once the youngest (1 year) gets older he will have one too! I start out small-toys, clothes, etc. And as they get older there are more complicated things. And since we are a family, we do help each other out. It isn't up to one person to clean up.

Kristy

Amy said...

I have 5 kids. The oldest is 23 now- the youngest 13. When they were younger, the older ones did end up picking up after the younger ones sometimes. They didn't always like it. It's like you said, with a big family, everyone helps out. The funny thing is, as the kids got older and got so busy with jobs and school, the younger ones ended up picking up after the older ones. So, it all worked out in the long run.

Six-Pack Momma said...

My son has a shirt "It wasn't me!"

I hear that almost as much as "Mom! Will you wipe my bum?!"

And yes, I do require more from the older ones. Like you said, they had their turn of little responsibility. I think it is training them to be capable adults....at least I hope it is!

Anonymous said...

I have 2 girls almost 5 and almost 2. I do make the older one help with picking up whether she made the mess or not. But I also help them so theres less arguing.

Amy said...

I think your doing great and you are not being unfair or unrealistic.

I have 8 children and my oldest 6 have chores. Ok, the youngest of those 6 milks it and lacks consistency (because she is 7) and I do expect some of the older ones who say, have trash duty to help out a little where things are lacking. Still, I find it hard to keep my house clean and neat, clutter is a constant battle, but I try to remember I will someday miss the clutter and noise my family makes.

I agree that it's important in a large family to not expect the oldest ones to carry all the resposibilities we as mothers have. I do ask my older ones to watch the younger ones sometimes, but I reward them and let them know I appreciate their help by taking them out with me and letting them have more privileges than the younger ones as well as throw a little cash their way from time to time to buy something they have been wanting.

I also like some of the ideas I have read, like the weekly chore rotation, for example. Hey, just because I have 8 kids doesn't make me a pro! I can still learn from other's opinions and input.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 children (10,8,4, and amonst 8 month old).

My 10-year old along with his 8-year sister do have more chores then the other two. They are always complaining that thier younger sister never has chores.

What they don't see (because they are in school) is that the 4-year old does have chores. She has to pick up her toys and put away her never ending book collection. Plus she helps more times the first time then having to repeat myself.

This is what is called LIFE. The sooner some children learn this lesson the better adults they will be.

Jennifer said...

I have a 5 1/2 year old son and an almost 3 year old daughter, with another girl due in May. My son definately has more chores than my daughter, she is just expected to pick up her toys but he also is supposed to feed the dog, help me unload the dishwasher (since bending is almost impossible at this point in my pregnancy) and he helps pick up the toys even when his sister made the mess. On the other hand though, he gets an allowance and she doesn't. We try to keep it fair. Now that she's getting a bit older and becoming a big sister, we'll start giving her more responsibilities too, we're teaching her to put her dirty clothes in the hamper when she changes etc. I think it is very important to start things at a young age. And I LOVE your quote about "Well I didn't wear your clothes but I washed them for you." I will have to remember that one!

Lucrecia said...

We have the older ones help too. In my opinion, they are helping ME, not the younger sibling. When they complain, I either tell them that or that she will one day be taking care of me and changing my diapers and they can choose which they'd rather do. Oddly, they have yet to offer to take care me when I'm old!!

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I don't have any children, but as the oldest of 6, I can tell you-my Mom handled things MUCH of the same way. Fact is, the older you were, the more responsibility! It didn't diminish our chances to play and be a kid, but we were taught early on that we had to work together. Was it still chaotic at times? Yes, but I have nothing but the fondest memories!!

Christina from Vegas said...

My kids are 2, 3, and 5. When we ask the oldest to pick up after her brother & sister, there is always a reward involved. If she chooses to pick up after them, she either gets extra allowance or she gets to stay up 15 minutes later at bedtime. If she chooses not to do the chores, we all do them together, and there are no extras.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 kids ages 6, almost 5 and twin 3 yr olds. Well i try to have all kids pull their own weight. But i do expect the older 2 (6 and almost 5) to help out more sometimes. It doesnt always work though. The oldest will start complaining the second i ask her to help. As they get older I will be having them each do their own chores and when they do them the will get a reward. I am so going to have to use the line about the laundry how i didnt wear them but i wash them and fold them.
Dawn love your blog helps to bring a smile to my face and sometimes a laugh on the really hard days.
sarah

Ingrid said...

I'm glad you brought this up. My eldest is almost 10 and my youngest is now 3. They both share a room and the poor older boy usually has to pick up after the 3 yr. old. Sometimes I really feel guilty about this, so I am really pushing the 3 yr old to learn how to pick up after himself, but in the long run, I agree that the 10 yr old will not DIE from having to help pick up a mess that isn't primarily his, at least once in a while.

In short, I completely agree with everything you said ;-)

Tammy said...

Dawn, I think you are taking a fair and balanced point of view on this issue. There were 5 kids in my family. My oldest sister was in charge of keeping the house, and I was in charge of watching the kids. Plus we both had farm chores. I don't know what my mom did. LOL We were given way too much responsibility, and we were both very resentful. We were not praised or rewarded. I think you are doing great.

pitapocketmom said...

I believe older children should have more responsibilities, but that also means more responsibilities come with more privileges! Right now i am the only one who does the chores, including my husband! I feel like i am always picking up after someone. My children are 3yrs and 8months (twins). I try as hard as i can to teach my 3yr old to pick up after himself. We installed a shelving system and i have all the toys as organized as possible, but he still makes a mess which of course kids should do, i just think they should know how to pick up and do so when asked. If i ask him to start picking up he says he needs help, so i do most of the work but as long as he is participating i dont mind becuase he is only 3. He did learn the clean up song at school and started doing much better with the responsibilty after learning from that. But it is still a never ending battle. I feel like when they become a little older i will try to distribute chores as evenly as possible, and of course everyone needs to help with everything around the house reguardless of age!

Anonymous said...

Everyone cleans up at our house - regardless of age, hand in making the mess, or amount of grumbling. And this often means that messes are cleaned up by someone who didn't make them, but I often point out to the grumblers that THEIR messes sometimes magically disappear when they aren't looking, so they need to pay it back from time to time. We'd be neck deep in a junk yard if I relied on the "You made it, you clean it up" as our only means of cleaning. My husband even wanders away from dishes and dirty clothes and then says "I didn't make this mess" even if it's clearly his! LOL! You're on the right track of having everyone pitch in!

Brandi said...

For sure yes, the older ones have more responsibility. I have just 3 kids, ages 9, 7 and 2. When my oldest was 2 she got my undivided attention, she got her own room, she got more presents at Christmas, lol. But we adapt to every new person that joins our family. I don't think you can make everything fair and equal between kids. Their position in the family alone is going to affect their childhood. Being the oldest has it's advantages and it's responsibilities. Being the youngest has it's advantages and it's sacrifices.
It's all relative.

Michelle said...

I am very similar to you in how my older kids help out even though they may not have made the mess. I always tell them that we're a team and we have to work together and one person (me) can't do everything. They still grumble but they do it. Luckily my 6 year old son got genetics from some unknown ancestor and is a neat freak and makes his bed (and mine) and is very organized and orderly. But he really wants to have his own room because when he shared with his brother he was cleaning up after him so much he was getting very frustrated! My boys are 10,8,&6 and my girls are 4&2. The girls are responsible for 75% of the mess and 5% of the clean up (the boys are much faster and better at clean up but I can assign small tasks to the girls). I expect that to change as they get older. You keep up the good work over there! I always enjoy your posts!

Andrea said...

I have 4 kids (ranging from 14 yrs to 3 yrs) & they all have chores. My oldest one has more, because she is older. I do expect her & my 10 yr old to help the younger ones as well. We used to give them allowances but then came to the conclusion that they have chores as a 'learning' thing. I do give my oldest money alot of the time when she does something totally out of the norm that helps me or watches the kids (Dad is deployed & sadly, I do rely on her more).

I was once told that making my 14 yr old do her own laundry was 'mean.' It's not like I just said 'do it.' I mean, how else do they learn??

I would have (& have done) the same thing.. I have gathered toys & placed them someplace else. They had to earn them back.

Caroline in Memphis said...

We have 3 kids, ages 9, 6, 4. We expect them to pick up their own stuff, and help around the house. Chores are assigned based on age, capability, etc. And like you, we expect the older ones to pitch in more. The older they get, the more responsibility they have. I am with you on the "I didn't do it" argument. The main reason: one day they'll be in the workplace and have to pick up slack for someone else. It is better for them to start learning work ethic at home, while they are young than to be thrown out to the wolves immediately after finishing school. Some people may not agree with this, but if you really think about it, all lessons that you wish for your kids to learn should be learned or reinforced at home. And I feel it is better to instill good habits from the beginning than to have to re-program them when they become teens.

Stressed Out said...

I have four children - 21, 19 (yesterday- the same day as Brooklyn), almost 12 and 10. When they were younger, the older two gladly jumped in and helped clean up the messes from the younger ones. And, I'm almost positive that the my son wasn't the one making the mess from the Sweet Magic Kitchen [although I could be wrong...]
Now, however, my son (19) absolutely refuses to help out unless directed to with me standing over him. And, that's just with his OWN room! The younger two do clean up their stuff when directed to, but I'm not as anal-renentive about it since we don't have any crawlers or someone who's going to eat toys like there was when they were little, but I used to put every one of those big block puzzles together every night and put them away that way and each toy had each part put back together.... I learned when I went back to school at 37 (when my youngest was 5) that that was something I needed to get go of - as long as we can walk on the floor and sit on the furniture, does it really matter WHICH toybox things are put away in and whether they're all together?
Anyway, yes, when they were younger, I made them help out with cleaning up after their sisters. Now that their sisters are old enough to clean up after themselves, not so much. However, everyone has a job: designated duster, sock folder, dog feeder, dog walker, dishwasher emptier, etc. I keep telling the kids that there's no "clean clothes fairy" or "clean dish fairy" and that we don't live in a house where our belongings automatically find their way home to their designated spot nightly. We're family. We all work together. That's what families do.

Juneau Poole Party said...

We only have two girls, 14 & 7, and we absolutely expect more from our oldest. With more freedom, comes more responsibiltiy. She does get an allowance, and we do pay extra for babysitting services.

I truly believe that whatever works best for your family, is what you should do. I have very close friends that have completely different family styles then we do, and we get together and compare notes, and maybe even get different ideas to help, but we never judge!

Mrs.Chattypants said...

Exactly my thoughts!! I have 3 children-12, 7 & 6 and they all have chores they must do. My older son helps his younger siblings pick up their room because they share a room and all contribute to the mess. In our home, we all help each other out. Funny thing is, I use the same comment about cleaning their clothes as you do. It is true. We are a family and all must do their part. And yes, as they get older, they get more responsibility and receive age-appropriate jobs. Again, it is part of being a family. We all benefit from the chores and we do something special each week as a family for completing those tasks (movie night, go out for ice cream). I do not usually pay my older one, but will make an agreement to purchase a book or something special when he does something above and beyond his chore list.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mean mommy, I don't care who made the mess, when I ask one of them to clean it up, I don't want to hear who did it, I just want it cleaned up, so if the two year old dumps out the toy box and I ask my 7 year old to clean it up, all I want to hear is "Yes Maam" If my kids grunt, or sigh or any of the sort when I ask them to do something, I give them more work to do. I teach them that we work as a team to keep things running smoothly, we ALL have to do our part in this family. I try to teach them that we do things with a joyful heart and that it's pleasing to God. There are soooo many children and families out there that are less fortunate!

You are doing a great job!! I have thrown my kids toys in the trash myself because of bad attitudes and talking back ect. It's a hard lesson learned but you usually only have to do it once or twice for them to get the idea :) There are WAY too many disrespectful, lazy children in the world, it's time that parents step up & expect more out of their children to help raise them to be more efficient, respectful, young adults. :)

-Jennifer H

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I don't have enough time to read all of the comments. Forgive me if I repeat what others have said.

I only have two children, now age 38 and 32. And yes, my daughter did things to help me out when my son was little. As he got older, he had his own share of chores to do, and when she went away to college when he was 12, he assumed many of HER former duties such as helping clean the bathrooms and mop floors.

I was the oldest of five children, and was about five years older than the second child. The four younger ones were born in five years. My mother had her hands full and I did a LOT to help. But as the others got older, they all had assignments, and they got their things done. After my father died, (I was 17 and the others were between 11-6) my mother put me in charge of the rotating chore schedule and everyone did everything. Dishes, laundry and regular chores according to their age and ability. As a result, my siblings all knew how to cook basic foods and take care of themselves well. I tried to teach my own kids the same things while at the same time allowing them to be kids.

I think MY biggest challenge was that most of their friends had NO responsibilities at all-some didn't even have to clean their rooms. It was hard competing with that. My son will make a good husband one day and my daughter and her family have a nice home,in part because she knew how to take care of a house. My grandchildren (5 and almost 8) know how to do things too. It's all a part of teaching them responsibility!!

Chris in PA

Dayna said...

Sounds like a lot of us have the same response to the "but I didn't do it." I have one girl and three boys. Usually, I ask the oldest boy, who's 8, to pick up his stuff in the room the boys share. However, if someone's coming over, I ask everyone to help pick up after the 2 year old. But there are times when the two year old does a better job cleaning up than all of the others.

Aky said...

I only have one child, so I make him do everything, absolutely all the washing, cleaning, cooking and tidying - it's good for his personal development and sense of responsibility - and when he's not doing the housework, I keep him in the attic and only let him out when there is housework to do ......just kidding. I'm currently trying to ignore him "trying out" the new drum kit he got today and wishing I hadn't given in so easily .....

Debbie Yost said...

The older girls have to help sometimes, however, I try to get them to have the youngest help. She can help if you just give her a little guidance and it is a good learning experience for her. My youngest has Down syndrome so every opportunity is seen as a chance for therapy or teaching. I can't do it all and I need help. There is no reason her sisters cannot help out in that manner. Plus, like you, I often say that I have a lot more responsibilities around the house: cooking dinner, laundry, etc. I don't always make the messes, but I have to clean it up so they can help where they can. I'd like to just sit around and play on the computer all day, but I can't. If we all work together, we can all have some free time to just play.

That said, I don't really recall how it was growing up. I was one of 5 kids and I don't remember being made to pick up after my siblings. I think it is more because it did not scar me for life rather than I didn't have to. Team work is a good lesson to learn.

Susie said...

I have young children right now and because of the way that i grew up, i will not be expecting the older children to help with the small ones. IMO, its my responsibility to have and take care of my children. I do not want them to have to take care of their siblings.

My sister had to take care of 4 kids under 7 and herself. she was 8 at time. My mom put such a load on her that she still resents her for it today and she's 31.

Dawn, its your family and you do what works. you seem like an excellent mom!

Mynde said...

Pitch in and help out? Heck, it's just easier and more time efficient if I just do it myself- the first time- correctly. Granted, I ask for help, but it is almost not worth the whining and bickering about who is doing more, better, faster, etc. Yup- I'm a looser mom raising a bunch of looser children : )

Anonymous said...

I definitely think older kids should help with youngers, but I don't like the "I clean up/cook for/do laundry for you so you should help out, too." I think it invites the whole "I didn't choose to be born" mentality from kids. I like instead to point out that we're a family and therefore we help each other out. I not only think the olders should help out the youngers, but that everyone should help everyone, parents included. So my kids take turns with things like making all the beds in the home, not just their own and cleaning the sinks in both bathrooms - mine and theirs. I need their help to get everything done. And I want them to learn families help each other, period.
-Tara

Ashleigh said...

I can tell you that as an oldest child I often wish to strangle both my siblings and my mom. She jets off for the weekend, maybe a week or longer leaving me in charge of my two brothers, who are 16 and 8. They don't do anything around the house, so while she is gone, I have to cook, clean the house, take care of her animals, work on school, go to work, make sure they are clean and fed, etc. I don't want to be a mini mommy, but if the house is dirty when she gets home, I get the blame because the boys don't do anything.

I honestly can't wait to move out of the house.
That's just my perspective. I think as the oldest and the only girl I am expected to behave differently, and I don't find that fair.

Anonymous said...

I have my older one help his younger brother and sister. I clean up after him a lot. I don't see anything wrong with having him help clean up. Truthfully, he is old enough that he ought to be doing more chores. If they don't learn some household responsibility when they are growing up, when will they learn?

I also say things like, "I didn't wear your clothes, but I still wash them!" I guess great minds think alike!

Sherry

MaBunny said...

I only have the one kiddo, but I think you are right in having the older ones help the younger ones. I also believe in a large family its everyones chore to pick up messes. Keep up the good work!

Candi said...

I only had three, but you handle your six better than I did with three. Some of us were born to be mommy's, and some of us were born to be gifted in other areas, but learned to be mommy's because bilogy works. I was also raised military so regimentation and obedience were cornerstones in our family. When dad said "jump" we asked how high. I'm an old softie, easily coereced to lightening other's loads no matter how much baggage I'm already dragging. My sister (there were only the 2 of us) took full advantage of that trait.
I learned a lot from babysitting. I balanced my ineptitude by setting a specific standard, balanced with a little less regiment. If I said "jump" I didn't want a ruler to measure the height, I just required active participation in the process, with each one doing what they were truly capable of.
Because of my own bent toward being willing to do almost anything for anybody as long as I believed I was truly helping, plus having a "fun" side that would do anything if it were a game I employed those as well. I taught my kids that everything they did to help another was like doing it for God. (That's Scripture come to life). I also turned a lot of the drudgery stuff into games.
But the biggest thing I did that helped before #3 came along was:
The first time my 4 year old whined because he had to help his 1 year old sister clean up so we could go out somewhere together, I decided he was right - she never helped him. So I started having her pick up his dirty clothes and help me put them in the basket when I would do the laundry or pick up anything he might have left out when he put his toys away, and made sure he knew about it. to thank her. That really cut down on the "Why do I always have to help..." I may have a faulty memory, but I don't recall that being a big issue. I was widowed when #3 was 15 months old and #1 was 7, and everything we did was a team effort ater that, so we all just sort of took care of one another. I know that changed the dynamic tremendously, but the basics were already in place. I don't know if any of this helps or not, but you asked for it so I gave it.
Personally, I think you are doing a wonderfull job without my input, and you demonstrate much more common sense than I ever did until life forced me into a steeper learning curve, and even now (#3 is 32), I rely very heavily on the Lord for common sense stuff. (I'm the poster-person for the uncommonness of common sense).
God bless you.

marythemom said...

I have 4 kids (10, 12, 13, and 15). My oldest 2 are adopted and have only lived with us a couple of years so some of the things said here don't apply. We are making sure all our kids are independent and prepared for the "real world" so my kids do a lot of chores on their own. My mom (our after school provider) helps children who politely request it.

My kids each have a day assigned for them to do their own laundry, and a day assigned to do the day's dishes. Mondays they pick up their room. Tuesdays they dust their room and vacuum/sweep the floor. Wednesdays they each have a bathroom assigned to them the youngest does the master bath (which most of the kids use), because he thinks it's fun and Grandma helps. Thursday is "big room" day. The oldest cleans the kitchen, my 12 year old daughter cleans the family room (she's more responsible then the others), the 13 year old cleans the least used room because she can't emotionally handle as much as the others. Friday the girls clean the playroom together (they use it most) and the boys clean other rooms.

It is worked out so they all do the same number of chores a day, but the difficulty level of the chore is based on ability. For messes that can't wait until the room's "day" to be cleaned I usually grab the nearest child if I don't know who made the mess. I do hear "but I didn't do it," but I just tell them to clean it up anyway.

My kids like to complain that my husband and I don't have to do chores, but we remind them that we both have jobs, do the shopping, make dinner, and make sure everyone is getting where they need to be. If they complain too much we can offer to take those away. NO KID CHORES -NO PARENT CHORES (no TV or phone - paid for by our jobs, only cold sandwiches or cereal - hot meals are a chore we do, no rides...).

Mean Mom Mary in TX
http://marythemom-mayhem.blogspot.com

Mom to biokids Ponito(10) and his sister Bob(12)
Sibling pair adoptive placement from NE 11/06
Finally finalized on Kitty(13) on 3/08 - 2 weeks before her 13th birthday!
Finalized on her brother Bear 7/08. He turned 15 the next day.
" Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain."

Lynn said...

I can't imagine kids NOT helping out! My son is only one and he will probably be an only child but I'll still expect him to help me with household chores. Just because they learn the value of helping Mom doesn't mean they can't have a childhood, either.

MistryUnique said...

I didn't read any other comments - just wanted to tell you how things are here:

NO ONE gets allowance for chores. Everyone takes care of their stuff - and helps with the younger kids' stuff (we have 5)

WHen they say, "it's not mine" or 'why do I have to" I tell them the same thing, "I didn't wear your clothes".

Better than that - when they say, "I should get paid for this" I tell them, "I dont' get paid to feed you, clothe you, wash your laundry, etc....we're a family, and that's how families do it"

They do, however, earn money by doing special chores - so they have money to spend!

~ Misty

Juneau Poole Party said...

I had one more thought (yes, they come in spurts) - Fair is not always equal is my montra, and getting my kids to understand that is huge!

Juneau Poole Party said...

I had one more thought (yes, they come in spurts) - Fair is not always equal is my montra, and getting my kids to understand that is huge!

sueh said...

A different perspective......Being someone who wasn't able to have children, all I can say is cherish every moment good and bad with them. I'm sure all the memories will bring you great joy when you think back twenty years from now. In my old age I won't have any memories of messy children's rooms, loud voices, ice cream spilled on the floor, etc. Nor will I have any grown children to take care of me when I'm old!!

Anonymous said...

I only have one, and she is 6. She has to make her own bed (put the covers up and put the pillow on.), pick up all of her toys before bed, pick up her own dishes and put them in the sink and fold her own pants. I do often help her with the toys as I swear she is related to Taz in her ability to make such a huge mess. I also do all of the cooking and she helps with that. She's an easy kid and I thank every star in the sky for how blessed I am with her. She is also convinced she is the princess diva and has been talking back to me a bit more lately. Older children should help the littler ones and vice versa. I would often help my parents and brother clean up messes and such as he and I learned if we got it done together it went faster and we could play sooner.

candi said...

I have 2 grown daughters, and let me say that you can't treat all of your children the same no matter how hard you try. And even if you could/did, they wouldn't see it that way. I agree that those who live in the house are responsible for helping to keep it clean, according to their ability. Obviously you wouldn't let your toddler mop your floors or wash the windows (if you do wash windows) but I don't see anything wrong with expecting older children to help pick up after younger ones.

Pam from alertandorientedx4 said...

a) Life isn't fair. You have to do stuff you don't want to. Get used to it.
b) No hablo mathpanol...my older kids have to help my younger with math. Poor older kids had to call homework helpline or ask the teacher.
c) I don't have a C. Just felt like this needed 3 points. No hablo mathpanol.

p.s. Head over to my blog for a fun pay it forward game!

mommeeof9 said...

My oldest is 19. She watches the little ones from when she gets home until hubby gets home from work 3 days a week, so 4.5 hours a week. She gets paid $10 per hour. Out of that, she gets $35, the other $10 covers the extra insurance and gas she requires now that she has her license and uses my cars.

She and the 13 yr old usually watch the little kids when hubby and I are trying to get things done. They also wash and dry the laundry and sort the clothes.

My 17 yr old does the dishes, including the pots and pans, clears and washes off the tables, and any other chore we ask her to do, usually without whining.

My 13 yr old sweeps the main floor of the house every afternoon and puts the toys away.

The 10 and 9 yr olds are responsible for taking out the garbage and the recycling.

The youngest 3 do not help that much, though they can do simple chores with direction/encouragement.

I cleans the bathrooms, whatever laundry the kids don't get finished, grocery shopping, washing the floors and I also work full time, with a 75 mile commute each way.

Ravyn said...

I think that with age comes greater responsibilities. I have actually made a webpage with my idea of what is an appropriate age for certain chores. I have 3 children and I do ask the older 2 to help the younger one out with certain things. They don't like it, but they do it.

Here is the webpage if anyone is interested.
http://www.squidoo.com/ravyns-chore-list

khull05 said...

I only have one child and he's two, so take this with a grain of salt! LOL! I am, however, the oldest of four kids and was expected to handle a lot of things around the house-helping with chores, the little kids, etc. Of course I whined and complained about it then, but in hindsight, I think it definitely made me a better person. I learned early what it meant to be a part of a team, to take care of "messes" that I maybe didn't make, and that moms can't do everything themselves.

That last one was a good lesson. My mom was/is amazing, but allowing me to see that she needed help gives me the freedom to shun the "supermom" mantle.

I say put them to work!! Ha!

Coma Girl said...

"Well I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed them for you. We all pitch in and help out"

I love that! I'm totally stealing it.

Julie in PA said...

I have three boys 10, 7, and 5. Yes, I have the older two help with the five year old at times. I try to encourage ALL the kids to help each other out any way they can. The youngest does lots of things for his big brothers too.

More often than not, the issue at our house is that they just don't want to do any cleaning period. I use the same line you do about the laundry, or I change it to the dishes, the dinner I cooked, the driving I did...you get the picture.

I was the oldest of nine kids growing up and my mother gave me lots of extra responsibilities, but I also had lots of extra privilages. She also gave me lots of praise and let me know how much she appreciated all that I did, which made me feel good. I think helping out with the little kids all those years helped me be a much better mother when I had my own kids. I wasn't like a lot of first time mothers who had no idea what they were getting into--I KNEW how hard babies were!

Annie said...

I have four kids. The two older ones (7 and 6) each share a room with a younger sibling (3 and 1, respectively. All four of them have chore charts, but the 1 year old's is just to make sure I give her a bath often enough. She's old enough to put her toys away if I walk her through it. The 3 year old does a little more, like helping pick up the living room and getting her dirty clothes and toys off the bedroom floor. The 6 and 7 year olds help clear the table, set the table, put a load of laundry in the wash (I add the soap and turn it on) put away their own laundry, and have personal care items on their lists as well (brush teeth, etc). It takes about 20 mins a day for them to go through their whole charts and it helps me a lot. As far as making them help with the little kids, sure. Why not? We all help each other and don't get paid. Sometimes I have the little kids help the big kids as well. My oldest child does get asked to do a little more (since she's by far more responsible) so we give her extra privileges to go along with that. She gets to stay up a bit later, have a little extra computer time, that sort of thing.

I agree that they're kids and need to do some kidding while they still can. Easing them into the grown up world can be a slow process because, even as fast as they do grow, there's plenty of time to teach them to cut the grass and balance a check book when the time comes.

Urging them to push through the hard things is life is also a progression. And I guess I could really get into my whole child-rearing philosophy here but won't. :)

Your kids are beautiful.

Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

Dawn, I'm totally with you. I hate when I see kids robbed of their carefree days by expectations of taking care of their younger siblings to an unreasonable degree. But I do ask my older two to do things to help make it easier for me to do things for the rest. I totally play the guilt card when they give me a hard time because I simply asked them to run and close the bathroom door before the baby gets in to it even though they weren't the one that left it open. For the older two, they are a year a part but seem more than that because I've always expected more from the oldest and I'm working on that. They share a room so when the room needs to be clean I expect them both to do it. But I will bribe them, if needed to make sure that the younger pulls his weight.

Karly said...

I have 5 ranging from 18 mos to 12. And I agree with what you said. I had my kids and expect to do the work, not have the older ones care for the younger ones. And yet, when the older ones were little, they had me full time to clean up after them. So our rule is to help when you can.

Besides, this constant policing of fairness society has created is totally unrealistic. Life isn't fair, and they need to understand that. I try to be fair and consistent, but it ain't happenin' 100% of the time. Nor should it.

Teresa said...

My oldest 2 boys are now 18 and 17 and have jobs outside the home! I didn't realize how much they helped out with the younger 4 until this last year. I probably would have thought it was pretty equal but now I realize the oldest 2 really did help me out more than the younger ones. Duh? I have discovered my 14 year old son (next in line) is NOT as helpful as the older 2. He just hasn't been trained but he is getting better. I totally agree with you that large families have to pitch in and help more. After all there is only ONE mom and 6 of them. It's only "fair" in this house! I know in smaller families mom can keep up and manage to do most everything but I like our family just the way it is!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn~ I grew up in a family of 4 kids and that was the way things were done in my home. Everyone pitched in, but at the age appropriate time for what ever the chore was. I'm now a single mother with a 16 year old daughter. It has been the 2 of us since she was 2.5 years old. She has always had "age" appropriate chores. When she complained I told her that we both lived in our house so we both had to take care of it. Fortunately for me she rarely complains now and knows that it is what it is. At what point do these kids magically know how to take care of themselves and their property if they don't have it as a way of life? I know when my daughter is off to college in a year and a half that she will be able to cook, clean and take care of herself without having to depend on someone else. I enjoy your blogging! Jenny F.

Mary said...

I like what you did. My older ones are age 20 and 17.5. Yes I expect them to help out the little ones! I have a (almost) 3 yr old and a 4 mth old. The older ones have to babysit, change diapers, fill sippy cups, pick up toys, run to the pharmacy for infant tylenol at 2am, warm up bottles of breast milk, and all sorts of things like that. They whine, but then I remind them that I could make them do a lot more. I do not give them allowance or pay them for doing a darn thing, but I don't charge them rent either.

Esther said...

All my older 4 kids are responsible for their own stuff (my youngest is 6 mos.) The first 4 range from 10 years to 3 years old. I have the most problems from the 3-year old. I tell her that if she is big enough to dress herself, then she can pick up her stuff. If she wants to be a baby and have my help, then I will also pick out her clothes and dress her like our real baby. It seems to work for now. However, she was changing her clothes a lot and dirtying 5 or 6 shirts,pants and undies a day. So I put all of her clothes up, and have two of each in her drawer, so can can choose and change- but she's limited.

I also have a Gobble bag. The kids get ONE warning to clean up their stuff. Then I come through and gobble up their stuff. I keep it until they earn it back with extra jobs or helpful behavior.

They all have jobs. The 3 year old folds square rags, the 6 year old fold socks and her clothes. The 8 year old fold hers and the 3 year old's stuff, and the 10 year old folds his and the baby's.

The older two make toast, boil eggs, sort laundry and feed pets. They all take turns setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, sweeping, wiping the table, wiping woodwork, and cleaning bathrooms. Even the 3-year old. She likes scrubbing the toilet, putting utensils away, wiping doorknobs and vacuuming cushions.

JHooper in SC said...

My kids are 13, 8 and 7. My oldest definitly does the most, she helped more when they were younger, but now she does hers and her brother's (8) laundry if it isnt in my basket on laundry day. I feel thats fair (the youngest shares my closet since her brother takes up the closet in their room) if they dump their clothes in my basket on Monday then I wash them all and they only put up the folded stuff. BUT if it doesnt make it in there (and you would be shocked how often that is) then she has to do it on Thursday (while im in school that night) my youngest is the one who WANTS to help, there isnt a whole lot she can do on her own, but i try to find her stuff. I agree with you I followed my oldest around with a babywipe and the broom when she was little so why shouldnt someone help the others out as well? Also not an issue with your house im sure, but in mine there is an understanding...Fri night is her night. if she wants to go hang out with friends then it better be on fri (we make exceptions for parties etc.) but Sat night is mine and the hubby's night. Not that we can afford to or even stand each other enough (lol) to go out every weekend, BUT it is reserved just in case. This was she can be our sitter, but also be a teenager. Im afraid next year when she hits high school.... things will change.
@jennhoop

Tiff said...

I have a four year old, two year old twins, and a six week old. The four year old knows that when her little brothers go to bed, she can clean the play area to earn the right to stay up late. (Actually, she gets to go to bed at her normal bedtime, but we don't tell her that.) She loves it since she earns a special priveledge, and sometimes decides not to clean up and just go to bed early and we do it. I don't know how long we will get away with it, though, but it's working so far!

Bubba and Noodle's Mama said...

My oldest does have more responsibilities than my younger child does. But, he also has more privileges than she does.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 kids, ages 15, 13, & 9. The oldest has done a lot of cleaning up after his siblings over the years, and is now campaigning heavily for his sister (the 13 year old) to pick up some of the slack. I think that's fair, but she's balking a little. That said, ALL of them have responsibilities. The older two, along with my DH, are each responsible for two nights of dishes per week. My youngest empties the dishwasher daily, and sets the table for dinner. The older two do their own laundry. Each child is responsible for cleaning one of the bathrooms in the house and for emptying trashcans on their assigned floor of the house each week. Other chores/clean-up are assigned as needed. Like the first poster, I'm aiming for mother-in-law of the year in a few years by making my boys self-sufficient. My daughter is struggling with chores in general (although she gives me the least grief about doing the dishes), so I wonder what her house will look like someday.

Sarah said...

I only have two girls, a 2 year old and a 9 month old. I try to get the older one to put away things before she gets out something else, but if I'm not watching, it won't happen.It's a bit early to worry about it though.
Love your blog, Dawn!

Vivian M said...

I only have one child and she blames the dog on everything so we make him help clean up.
But when I was growing up, I was the oldest of three girls and I always had to help. I thought it was unfair, but looking back, it taught me to be much neater and responsible than they are. And yes, they are both still messy.

Cindy said...

I personally do age appropriate chores...of course the oldest always thinks they do more, well they probably do but when they were younger they didnt do much or anything at that matter. I try to assign each child a job knowing their abilities to do that job. I only have two children, 3 1/2 years apart, so its not as big of a task for me as yourself. I cant say as if I know how I would do it if I had 6. Parenting is something we are improving on and learning how to do each day. There is no "by the book" answer, I think it greatly depends on the parent and the kids. Mom knows best and will dish out chores as they need done!! It all works out eventually...LOL

Michelle said...

I also go with the "I don't care who made the mess, I just asked you to clean it up" theory. The wee ones both have to do chores, and yes, Mister Man has a few more because he's older and I expect more of a child (and GIVE them more fun things, too) because they're older and more mature. But hey, Little Miss has been taking her dishes and putting them in the dishwasher since she was not yet even two. And they LIKE doing their jobs. So far. Knock on wood.

I do love the dumping the toys out the back door though. I'll have to keep that one in mind ;)

homeschool mamma said...

Wow Dawn-you're so better than me. I don't dump the stuff out the back door, it goes in the garbage.
Yeah-it's parenting-their is no manual-the naysayers will get over it or not. Keep doing what you're doing.
Bev

Sherry said...

My oldest is 14 and my other two are 6 and 4. Yes, the 14 year old helps out. I think it helps teach responsibility and I agree with you that we all need to pitch in. My 6 year old helps out his 4 yr old sister too and does it without being asked usually.

Anonymous said...

I am the oldest of 6 kids (and the only girl) and I started babysitting for my brothers (ages 4 - 10) when I was 11 and my parents called a babysitting agency (we had recently moved to Florida and didn't know anyone). We had use the same agency a few weeks earlier - they refused to send anyone to the house. So I was left alone with my brothers (this was 1971). I also did nearly all the kitchen cleaning (clearing the table, dishes, pots, etc.) Flash forward 35+ years and I now have 2 kids ages 12 & 10. They have been doing chores since they were about 7 & 5 including collecting the garbage, watering the plants, setting the table, clearing the table, emptying the silverware container from the dishwasher (they can't reach the shelves for the dishes and cups)and doing the laundry. They wash the clothes, put them in the dryer, fold and hang them up. They are also (supposed to)make their beds, vacuum the house, pick up their toys, keep their rooms neat, their desks cleaned up, etc. They don't do it all but they do a lot. The big thing for me is the laundry. No way are my kids coming home from college with a bag of dirty clothes. BTW they sort all of the clothes and wash the whole family's clothes, not just their own.

Mum-me said...

ALl 6 of my children have their names on our "Chore Chart". The older ones sometimes have to do a job by themselves, and other times I have teamed them with a younger sibling. The little ones have to do some of the easier jobs by themselves.

As far as picking up - I get those comments from the children "But I didn't make the mess!" and I often use the same comeback as you "Well, I didn't wear your clothes ... but I washed them."

Lorna said...

I have no idea if you are going to read this being that it's the 146th comment, but here goes anyway.

I LOVE that "I didn't wear your clothes" line. I'm so going to use that one.

I have 3 kids and everyone has chores, even my littlest one. She's now 7, but when she was 3 or 4 she could put the napkins on the table at dinner, or sort the laundry. I've always tried to make sure that everyone had a chore that was age appropriate.

There are times when I ask my oldest to clean her younger sisters rooms, but I usually pay her five bucks a room for doing it. That way it's worth her while, and it keeps me from asking her to do it too often.

Abby*Lane said...

We have 5 children. Ages 17, 14, 8, 5, and 3. I DO ask the older ones to help the little ones. I feel that it is good for them to help out their family. The older ones do have more chores because, for one, they do it faster and better than the little ones. But the little ones to have little chores also. I don't feel like there is anything wrong with asking the older kids to help out. After all, since the older ones are all boys, their wives will thank me one day that they aren't lazy. HAHA!
And you're right. We don't wear all the clothes, or dirty all of the dishes. Fair is fair. ;)

Karla with a K said...

Wow Dawn, I know you said you're a fast reader, but how the HECK do you read this many comments?

Anyway, I have 4 and I'm with you. The olders have to help the youngers. Mine are (almost) 6, 8, 10 and 12.
You're right - you didn't wear the clothes yet washed them. And the oldest, he did not have the responsibilities the younger ones have now when he was their age. So they make up for it now.

I have only 1 girl, and she is very responsible (thank God!) She helps tremendously some days, and gets rewarded for it.

My one laundry rule is - it's not the laundry lady's job to turn the clothes (many in this house take them off inside out.) So they are warned. And after being reminded, they will sometimes get their pants, shirts or socks all the way they went into the laundry. It's clean and folded - just not exactly ready to wear :)

Oh yea, and, I will tend more to frustrate myself and try to teach them vs. just doing it myself. But - I have my limit, too.

Michelle said...

some people are just too damn sensitive...
I actually ensure that my kids are helping out around the house. Yes, there is a time to let them be kids, but I want to make certain I'm training them the majority of the time to be responsible adults as well. Not "kidults" as the term has been coined.

I'm the admin of an online fanclub of the Duggar family and you wouldn't believe all the comments I see about how *unfair* it is that they *make* the older ones pitch in and help with the younger ones...I just want to grab them by the collar and ask "how responsible are your kids?" At least theirs are well-adjusted, responsible, respectful, content young adults. That's more than I can say for the typical parent who lets their kids be kids all the time and never discipline or train them...ugh.
end of rant.

CatholicGirl said...

I have only one comment to make about this:

I COMPLETELY agree with you, 100%! Keep up the good work- your kids will be better for it. God bless!

annette said...

I'm doing blog catch-up, so I don't know if you will read this or not. I too have a 6-pack, and just for fun I sometimes have the little ones clean up after, "babysit", or put the older ones to bed. It's such a hoot and it stops the older ones from complaining.

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