When my husband and I try to get our kids to do chores we seem to just frustrate them. How can we help them take on more responsibility around the house?

Homes should not be a place were kids just get to pig out, lay around, and be indulged. No. It’s an active organism of people who are helping one another, lightening each others’ loads, and preparing each other for a better future. And chores are part of any home. 

The problem is, when you give kids chores, yeah, many times they resist them, and then they do get frustrated because sometimes we’re putting them in over their head. 

I was reading a manual for drill sergeant one time, and I found the neatest thing inside that really helped my wife and I get a real handle on preparing our kids for chores and making them far more responsible. We found that, in this book it said that in any given task that you are handing out to somebody, their ability and their maturity level could be different, depending on who the person is, and you need to study that. 

If their maturity or their ability is low, you want to direct them. You want to show them how to do the job. 

Sometimes, their ability or their maturity is moderate. They have some skill on it, and they are coming along in life, and they are pretty responsible. On those, you want to develop them. You want to ask them questions: “How would you do this?” 

But if their maturity or their ability is high, you want to delegate it. Just let them do the job, and let them do it their way. 

Now you see how you could exasperate kids? 

If you give them a job and they don’t know how to do it, and you don’t show them how to do it, they are going to be frustrated. “I don’t know how to do this. I’m so confused, I know I’m going to mess this up, and then they’re just going to yell at me.” So, that exasperates kids on one side. 

Or if they do know how to do it, and you keep micromanaging them and making them do it your way, that frustrates them, too. 

I remember one time I was trying to show our son how to load the dishwasher, and I kept putting the plates in, and I said, “Now, what you do is you kind of rinse them off and then you put them in there like this,” and then I took them out. “Now you do them.” And he was putting in the plates just the opposite direction. And I’m thinking, “What’s going on here?” For some reason, I wanted to make sure he was putting them in this way. He was putting them in, but it wasn’t the same direction. And then Darcy pulled me aside and said, “Tim, you’re left-handed.” See, I was just grabbing them a certain way, and he’s right-handed. 

You see how it’s so easy to nit-pick and get off course in something that would really frustrate a kid? 

When they are immature or they are naïve and they don’t know what they’re doing, direct them. A little bit farther along, develop them. If they really have it down, just delegate it and let them do it their way. 

This can bring a lot more peace and harmony in the home. Plus, you’re really setting your kids up to not only go into the future prepared to really use their skills wisely, but you’re also showing them how when they’re parents, they can do the same for your grandkids.