by Rowland P. Barrett, PhD
Director, Developmental Disabilities Unit
The assignment of household chores serves several important teaching functions regarding social responsibility. It allows the child to experience both a sense of contribution to the family and a sense of accomplishment-and, in turn, it allows a sense of pride in that accomplishment. Pride is the key ingredient in the development of self-respect, which is the foundation for good mental health and happiness in life. Moreover, the contributing to the family and feeling good about doing so strengthens the child's connection to the family.
Teaching children to accept social responsibilities within their family is the very best way of preparing them to accept and satisfy the numerous social responsibilities they will encounter outside the family as they grow older and progress toward independence. When the child becomes a teenager or young adult, successful negotiation of social responsibilities outside the family is important for many reasons, including the opportunity to re-experience a sense of contribution, pride, self-respect and a strong, constructive connection to society.
"But My Friend Doesn't Have To."