As the academic year came to a close we went to meet our son’s teacher. Along with other feedback and assessment from the year, she gave us an interesting insight about his behaviour. She mentioned our 6 year old is used to asking others to do things for him. It shook me up a bit as I had never realized this. But then I reflected on it, it was indeed true!
While my husband and I share responsibilities at home and contribute to its smooth functioning, we never thought of involving our son, thinking he’s just too small to help. We focus every day on building his academic learning, life skills and moral values but missed out on this key aspect.
As a parent, you need to constantly evolve and adapt to changing needs and this feedback was eye opening for me. As much as every child is different, every parent is different too. And we, as parents intuitively know what works best for our child, in our setting. We therefore, decided to take this feedback and figure out how it would fit in our set up.
My husband and I pondered over it and realized that we actually gave our son things on a platter. He was used to ordering us around and getting things without moving an inch. Our reluctance to recalibrate this behaviour was the biggest challenge.
It also dawned on me that making our daughters independent and our sons domestic was the only way to balance out a future where roles will only be increasingly gender neutral.
We sat and chalked out a plan where we firmly yet subtly divided duties between us.
Here are some basic things that we now consciously ask our 6 year old to do –
- Set the table for dinner –We generally have this meal together as a family. Our son places the plates and cutlery on the dining table.
- Keep the utensils in the kitchen after eating –Instead of leaving the plates on dining table, we now insist he carries and leaves it in the kitchen sink
- Fill his own water –No nanny/servant will hand over water to anyone through the day! We need to bring our own bottles and also refill if needed.
- Put clothes, shoes, bag in a fixedspot assigned in the house rather than throw it all around
- Clean up his toys – He needs to pick up the toys and put in their place before bed time. This also includes his minute Lego pieces strewn all over the house.
- Cooking together –This is something we have been doing together for a while and continue to do so. My son helps put together salads, bake cakes and make pizza and sandwiches.
It is important we teach our children these habits and the best place to begin is home. It is equally important that our sons see this behaviour in their fathers for them to understand there is no shame in housework and it only adds to their masculinity if they are able to share in these responsibilities. As a society, we focus on educating our daughters and fostering their self-reliance. Isn’t it important we teach our sons the lessons of independence and self-reliance too? This will hopefully make them better spouses once they are married and set the correct expectations.
Let me know your thoughts and what additional responsibilities your children take up in household work. In case you have not started taking help from your sons, hoping this write-up inspired you to do so soon!
I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa. This is my #Post2 /#Week1 for the campaign. You can read my previous post here – 7 different kinds of husbands.