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AUSTIN 360

July 11, 2018

Equal pay for equal chores? Parents send girls a message early

By Nicole Villalpando

Busy Kid, an app that helps parents assign chores to their kids, analyzed how parents assigned chores on its app and how much they paid their kids for those chores. What it found was that of the top 20 chores, boys were getting paid about twice as much as girls.

Pay inequity starts early, apparently.

In your house, how are you assigning chores? How are you deciding how much to pay for them?

Wendy Mogel, a Los Angeles psychologist who wrote “Voice Lessons for Parents: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Listen” ($27, Simon & Schuster), talked to us about the importance of chores earlier this year. She would love for parents to start their children on chores from the time they are little. “They can’t pay rent or the mortgage, and they can’t drive, but there are a lot of things they can do that you are doing for them,” she says.

What happens when kids don’t have chores? “It makes you tired, it makes you resentful, and you won’t have patience.”

A lot of parents must have run out of patience. One study found that 75 percent of kids didn’t have any assigned chores. 

Chores also can help cut down on sibling rivalry. Kids feel like they are part of the family. You can also create a chore chart in which the chores rotate so that there is a fairness about who gets to do the icky dishes and who gets to take out the stinky dishes. One friend with two kids had a system in which odd days of setting and clearing the table were assigned to the first child, even days were assigned to the second child. If a month had 31 days, the chores were assigned to Mom.

Remember, giving kids chores now, sets them up for an easier time adulting when the time comes.  San Antonio psychiatrist Melissa Stennett Deuter talked to us about the phenomenon of kids coming home from college because of anxiety.  Many of them in high school were high achievers who excelled at school and extracurriculars, but had didn’t know how to do a lot of real-world things. “We have kids who reach adulthood, and they really have no confidence in themselves; … they have limited skills,” she says.

Don’t forget that when you assign chores and kids earn an allowance, some should be saved for something big, some should be something you donate and some should be available for spending. You can get whole piggy banks that divide the allowance for you.

July 11, 2018