How to Teach Kids not to Half Ass Everything

We’ve headed into new territory with the kid raising thing. How do you teach work ethic and how do you teach them to complete a given task. We’ve been having trouble with Grand Master D for a long time. He doesn’t finish anything, and I mean anything! But I’m lost at how to teach them how to do it rather than being on their case. I need to give their monkeys back. It’s not my responsibility to remember to hang the towel back up, or to clean up the sink after you clean out the juicer but it’s something I find myself doing all the time, calling him back. Reminding him to complete the task.

It got him in trouble at school. He just didn’t finish stuff or follow up, no matter how much I punished or reminded or yelled. It was my frustration not his. So now I’m back to square 1, back to the training phase and yet I have no idea how to do it.

When they were little I dove into the parenting books, found solutions to the problems and tweaked behaviours along the way. But back then I had a different circle of friends, I had friends with older children, friends who’d been through this phase. They were able to point me in the right direction.

Now I’m the one with the older children, I’m the one leading the way, sourcing the material to get the kids to do what’s required. I second guess myself all the time. I don’t really know how to get him to do what he needs to do. It’s a difficult age because you need to give them room to grow, they’re not babies but you still have to monitor how they’re going without doing it for them.

image courtesy of stock images

image courtesy of stock images

Kids need to learn skills, they need to know how to survive and function as members of society and they don’t learn that by us hovering over them and doing everything for them. The danger to just do it because it’s easier or it gets done right is very tempting but that doesn’t teach them how to get along without us and isn’t that our job?

At this point of the journey, I believe parenting is teaching our children how not to need us. And if they don’t need us then we’ve done it right because they can stand on their own and do it for themselves.

We’ve switched from raising children to guiding then to functional adulthood.

I’m still working on that part … but aren’t we all?

Comments 9

  1. I am definitely a helicopter parent and worry that I am disabling my children. When you figure it out please please please blog about it because my latest motto is, ” Parenting with a prayer and as much patience as I can muster.”

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    2. I am reading what you are now faced with. I am not learning or discovering what you are doing to get kids to not half-ass chores. My kids are now 14 and 15 almost 16.. the older child is a boy. Yes, very blessed to have my babies.. they will always be that to me. At the adolescent age they are now, I am now able to work outside the home once again, something I did above and beyond prior to having children. During child-rearing years, I worked from home.. so while people tend to have this misconception that working from home is a dream job.. they dont know or haven’t done it to know that this is not exactly a ‘dream job’. For me, it was $8.25 an hour, micromanagement with my employment to where if I got a 15 min break.. by the time I made something for lunch I’d literally have 3 mins to choke or ‘wolf it down’ before I had to be back on call. If I took my break late I had to fill out a report as to the reason.. albeit long-winded customers on the phone.. I did this for 4 and a half years with one company. I simultaneously worked another customer service/sales position along with same company to where my then other half was not a participant to household upkeep or child upkeep parenting. as it were.. kids were missing momma but she was in survival mode to pay the rent and electric and buy food and pay car insurance.

      moved upwards of 8 times within a 7 year period due to economic hardship, visiting churches and food banks so I could feed my kids. we move on.. my kids are now teenagers and no longer am I the most important thing in their lives.. I get that.. I can also remember how I was at their age.. wanting to be with friends and doing things outside the family. Space and developing your place in the world is equally important.

      However, since I still remain the person in their lives who provides clean clothing, dinners, and events and/or trips here and there including expenses and or usual and customary parenting requirements, I strive to be all of those things. However, now that I am out of the house working so I can still do these things and provide for them, I am at my wits end when I tell my child to take care of this or do that .. often I am told .. I’m getting to that.. or ‘okay’ and then I see it’s not done or done in a hurried manner to where I you want it done right you have to do it yourself. I am an older mom. I will be 54 in may.. and My oldest is only 15 years old .. I came upon this article in hopes of finding how you can actually successfully get your teen to do a job or chore in completion. as they would have it done if they were the ones wanting it taken care of. I could not find a solution. so I had to post this.. where do you get a child to get past their own agendas to care enough .. or do you have to wait til they have children of their own to come to the conclusion.. “ooooh!!! that’s why mom did this or said this.. the way she did’ ?

  2. I hate arguing with kids over chores. My youngest is 19, the oldest 23. All I ask is pick up your towels so they don’t stink, because a front load washer does NOT remove musty smells, put dishes away and put groceries away. I don’t care if they don’t wash dishes – I like doing that – but I hate putting them away.

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  3. It’s easy as parents to second guess ourselves Molley. I do it all the time. Raising kids isn’t easy, and the times we live in? It’s complicated. But it’s good to have a network of other parents to kind of check in with, to share ideas and realize we’re not in this alone. We all have our struggles. Thanks for this post.

  4. It’s an observation of mine (and nothing more) but it’s kind of ironic to see that generation being programmed (indirectly) by the very lifestyle changes that our generation desire.

    What I’m saying is, our generation are the leaders of labor saving innovation and the necessary power to bring ideas into reality, which in turn influences generations behind us into believing that effort is a side effect someone else should have to deal with.

    We cause the effect.

  5. Didn’t really answer the question in the article title.

    I would find ways to show your children how half-assing stuff really makes things harder in the long run.

    Half-ass your way through school, and you end up with a crappy low-paying job after graduation.

    Half-ass maintenance on your vehicle, and you’ll be much more likely to get stuck with an expensive repair bill.

    Half-ass your work, and you’ll be passed-up for any promotions.

    Half-ass cleaning your house and you’ll scare away many potential spouses!

    You reap what you sow, most of the time. You have to teach your children to internalize their quality standards and develop a strong work ethic. External pressure will be ineffective at motivating them in the long run. Probably the best thing you can do is work together with your children on various projects that require a sustained effort, and set a good example for them. When the project is completed, they can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in the work they have done. That will do more to develop their internal motivation than anything else. The key is to start early. If your kids are already in their teenage years, the process will be much more difficult.

  6. Pingback: Custom Housekeeping Chore Charts Based on Your Cleaning Personality – Modern Housewives

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