Chores can make kids more confident. This is an image of a little boy in a Superman costume.

Use Chores to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem at Any Age

We ALL want our children to have high self-esteem. To develop a high self-esteem a person needs purpose. A key component to high self-esteem is built on how you view yourself in terms of contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem. Our kids get a lot of messages that TELL them they are great. But because we always learn through experience, we need to help our kids experience contribution (chores). Dr. Diana Baumrind contributed to the world of psychology by defining the types of parents: Permissive, Authoritarian, and Authoritative.

The authoritative parent is one who shares control but sets firm boundaries to help the child develop standards of conduct.

Here is a link to a great outline of Baumrind’s work.

You will notice that when Baumrind is outlining the benefits of an Authoritative Parent, she talks about self-esteem:

“Authoritative parents make demands that fit with children’s ability to take responsibility for their own behavior. Children subsequently learn that they are competent individuals who can do things successfully for themselves. This fosters high self-esteem, cognitive development, and emotional maturity.”

Baumrind’s work points out the importance of giving chores but also the demands by the parent. As parents, you need to demand or require the chores to be done. How you “demand” matters. Love and Logic® teaches that remaining calm and setting consequences around the compliance to your demand is key.

How do we set up a successful experience for our children to do chores?

Many parents are searching for Chore Charts on the web – but a chore chart will not somehow miraculously transform your child. Raising kids that are responsible to contributing around the house, and in life – goes deeper. Dr. Foster Cline shares in the CD “Allowing Kids to Choose Success” (check your local library system) there are three child development stages regarding chores for children:

2-6 years old:

The child has you, the chore and fun. In this stage it is important that the child experiences fun with you while they are doing the chore. This modeling will help the child learn the skill and plant deep inside them the joy of completing a task.

6-15 years:

The child has the chore and fun. Fun comes from the experience you provided in the early years. If you have done a good job with modeling and fun, your child will not push back too hard in doing their chores.

15 –adulthood:

If the child is responsible in their life, like good grades, part-time job or volunteering and respectful to you. You lessen chores. Because chores are to teach responsibility and develop a high self-esteem, basically they reached the goal!

A few “What ifs”:

  • What if I missed the first stage of development (2-6 years) with chores?

Then just back track for a few months. Go back to the first stage. The child has you, the chore and fun. When your child begins to do the chores more independently, then move on to the next stage.

  • What if my child hits a stage that he/she pushes back on doing the chores even if I did the first stage really well?

All kids will push back at times. This is the time for calm, predictable consequences. Enforceable Statements are key to maintaining control, for example; “I am happy to drive you to your friends when your chores are done.” Energy Drain and Strategic Training sessions are also great. Attached you will find resources from Love and Logic.

  • What if they do not the do the chore as well as I can?

Lighten up! The key to chores is not for you to get a job done. We all know we can do it better than the child. As long as the child has given their best effort, it is good. The important part is that the child feels a sense of contribution and purpose. Remember, you get the chore back later in life.

Chores are a key part of a child developing a high self-esteem.

So, what chores are a head of your child today?

You might also be interested in Getting Kids to Do Chores

3 thoughts on “Use Chores to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem at Any Age”

  1. This is a thoughtful post. We are definitely on board with "authoritative" parenting. We are hoping to develop an organizational tool that will help parents to motivate and educate their children without resorting to "authoritarian" techniques that we believe are much less beneficial for everyone.

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