Creating A Feeling Of Ownership And Belonging In The Home
Getting kids to do chores and contribute to the household
can often be a cause of stress in families.
One way of motivating them to be more involved in caring for the house
is to do what we can to make them feel a sense of ownership and belonging.
This usually requires a significant change in the way we view our own home.
We have often heard the cliché
“As long as you are living in my home you will do as I say.”
Perhaps we have even used that phrase
or a variation of it at some point with our kids.
Even if we haven’t, it’s possible that you may at least have this perspective.
The problem with this outlook is that it clearly states that
this place they live is not equally their home.
It is primarily your home because
you have paid the money for it
and you are in control of it legally.
We Have Power Over Our Kids And That Affects Them
The control we have over our kids usually stems from
emotional, economic, physical and housing power that we have over them.
As long as our kids feel this power imbalance
they will never be able to fully relax into the home.
They will never completely feel like they belong where they are.
This feeling of separation certainly does not motivate
a spontaneous desire to care for and participate in the family community.
Inspire a Deep Sense of Belonging
On the other hand we have the opportunity to
inspire a deep sense of connectedness and belonging.
If we can change our perception to one of equal participation,
freedom and ownership of the home
then our children will feel like real members of the family community.
When they feel this sense of genuine inclusion
they are much more likely to be willing and even interested
in the well-being and upkeep of the home.
Constant Attention and Increased Self-Awareness Are Essential
A question that I keep in my mind at all times is:
“How can I make my kid feel like they belong,
feel like they are accepted,
and like they are an equal part of the family?”
Every time I ask myself this question I recognize
I have to change something about how I am thinking and acting.
This constant evaluation and change
is perhaps the most difficult part of this process.
If we can embrace the discomfort of change the results are dramatic and quite wonderful.
Keep An Open And Questioning Mind
Try and keep that question in your own mind
and see how it encourages you to change.
As you change how you treat your kids,
how you increase their feeling of being equal and included,
you will soon find their entire attitude will change.
Tomorrow in part 3 of this series we will explore how to deal with resistance, defiance and disobedience around chores in a way that reduces power struggles and increases harmony.