Could Maya families in the Yucatan help us raise our children to like helping out and doing chores? For many, the thought sounds too good to be true.
But it’s true, Maya children do chores without being asked to do them. In fact, Maya teenagers cook and clean the kitchen without any fuss – and they do so as if it’s just a natural part of life.
Many American parents read these articles because they hope to learn the magic formula that will somehow work on their own children. However the differences in how children are raised from and an early age may be the key.
American kids tend to be tainted
The children of the Yucatan have been taught respect and duty since the age of 2-years-old. They grow up learning the value of being helpful and responsible.
Unfortunately, this can’t always be said for American children. As parents, we often spoil our children by allowing them to avoid household chores if they simply whine and complain about it loud enough.
We want our kids to be happy, and in doing so, we tend to allow them to play games, rather than learn something productive. We do not typically sit with our children and take the time to teach them the importance of contributing to the family.
We believe that kids should be kids and that they shouldn’t have to learn responsibility until they are ready to fully understand what it means. What we miss is that we are only feeding their lack of discipline, all while teaching them that excuses are acceptable.
Our children are a reflection of us
The unfortunate thing about cycles is that they are never-ending unless someone takes the initiative to stop the madness. If we truly want our kids to communicate more effectively, then we must communicate effectively.
If we want our kids to be more responsible, then we have to take responsibility for our actions as adults. We must be the example of the person we want them to be. We tend to complain about our children and completely neglect to see how they are only repeating our bad habits.
Then we get angry because they aren’t helpful around the house, only to realize that we never introduced the concept of being a responsible contributor until they were approaching their teen years. This is especially true for young boys.
Maybe there’s a chance to turn it all around
Although bad habits are hard to break, we must do everything we can to try. Let’s start by allowing our children to see how we are growing and learning on a daily basis.
They should see how we handle overcoming the desire to give up on a task that we don’t really want to do. This will show them how to maneuver the emotion that stands in the way of their doing daily chores around the house.
Additionally, let’s avoid the desire to reward them for taking care of their household responsibilities. Instead, let’s show them that their chores are a part of their responsibility and that doing them efficiently is reward enough.
Let’s be real…they won’t get rewarded for doing the mundane tasks of their jobs once they are adults, so why teach them that this is how life works when they are young? Our children might not always have the discipline or desire to run into the kitchen to wash dishes, but that doesn’t have to mean they can’t learn the inherent value instilled in the task itself.