Helping our kids to find purpose doesn’t seem that hard. Finding something for our kids to do to help out seems simple. However, in many families, there really isn’t that much that they NEED to do, and it is often so much easier to just get it done ourselves. So are we really helping them to find purpose by just handing over a chore of little value?
This week we encourage you to get clear about how you are involving your child in helping to make the family run. Sometimes, parents assign chores and then bribe or reward the child for doing them. Perhaps the child gets a trip to the mall if he helps out with the chores. Perhaps a new toy if she completes all of her chores on the chore chart for the next 3 weeks. These actions are sending a mixed message to kids and the message is this:
The real reason you are helping out is to get the reward.
You are not helping out because we need you to. In fact, we think that you helping out is such a sacrifice of your time, that we are going to pay you back twice as big for doing it.
Those kinds of messages do not fulfill the goal of helping our child to find purpose and to build a strong sense of self. External rewards erase internal rewards every time. They say, “Forget that great feeling – it’s not important! Focus on this external one – it has wayyy more value.”
Today, we are encouraging you to get clear on how you are helping your children to find purpose.
Are your actions overshadowing your words?
Does getting to hockey practice on time take more importance than getting the dishes to the dishwasher?
Does practicing piano or studying get your child out of setting the table?
If these things are really important to the family, there needs to be a way for them to take precedence over other responsibilities (which are also important). Our clear expectations can help our children to learn how to contribute. through their regular actions, to the good of our family.