Do you ever find yourself complaining about the laziness of your children? Can you spend several hours cleaning your home only for the kids to come home and wreck your efforts in less than an hour? Do you have a hard time walking through your house without finding the left behinds of your kids lying all over the floor or couch? When you ask your kids to do something, do you literally have to force them to follow through with the chore at hand?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you might have lazy children? So who should take the blame for lazy children? While you spent your youth doing chores that ranged from cutting the grass to doing the dishes several times a week, your own children seem to have no sense of duty to the home. Have kids changed? Or has parenting changed?
The reality is that if you have lazy kids in the home, chances are good that you have raised them to be that way. Sure, you may not have done it on purpose – but somehow they have learned that laziness as a way of life is quite simply, ok. After all, if you ask your kids to pick up after themselves and then end up doing it yourself out of frustration or fear that your kids will think you are a nag, you play a part in their laziness. Your kids learn the ropes of life from mom and dad. If you haven’t set clear boundaries and expectations for your kids than naturally, your kids will take advantage of that. And if you teach your kids through your actions that if they don’t do what they are supposed to, you will take care of it for them – then you have no one to blame but yourself for their inclination to be lazy.
Truth be told kids are smarter than we give them credit for. If they think they can get out of work, they will. (After all, why not?) If they know that mom will come and pick up every crumb behind them, they will not bother doing it themselves. But, start throwing anything they leave on the floor in the trash can, and you might get a different result. Start making their chore lists a contingency for the rewards in life, and they may start doing their chores more eagerly. Start being consistent with your expectations and consequences and they will likely start listening. Start holding your kids responsible for the outcomes that they receive in life – both at home, in extra-curricular activities and at school, and your kids will be better adults in the long run.
The worst thing a parent can do is expect a child to care about something, whether it is the cleanliness of their room or their willingness to do homework just because mom and dad care. Your kids have to develop a desire for success in life, which can only come with being left accountable for their actions otherwise. Lazy kids are not born, they are created – normally by parents who do too much, expect too little, and parent under a veil of guilt that keeps them from holding their kids to high expectations.
The thing is that as your child grows up, the harder it will become to make them motivated. If they become accustomed to mom and dad doing every little thing for them and only have to listen to your disgruntled rants when they do not do what they are told or meet their expectations then you have certainly set the stage for them to be lazy and unmotivated.
The real question is how to raise kids that are not lazy? Inherently, kids will choose laziness. However, they can only choose it if the said laziness is an option. This does not mean that you should make extreme demands on your kids, or that they should not be able to enjoy childhood because they have countless chores and expectations. It does mean that you should be clear on what you expect from your child and ensure that they follow through. This commitment to task, and being able to manage their responsibilities, whether it is taking out the trash or handing in homework on time, is an essential life skill they will need to be successful adults. In other words, you shouldn’t feel bad about teaching your child the relationship between hard work and success. And this lesson starts in the home.
Obviously, kids will choose lazy if given the choice. And while kids should live carefree and relaxing lives, the also should be held to certain expectations. Motivating your kids is about finding what out what is important to your child. Teaching your kids that they will have to do things they don’t want to do, and don’t enjoy is just part of the payment required for doing the things they are passionate about, helps them to become self motivated. At the end of the day, every parent should want their child to be self-motivated rather than be reliant upon the constant nagging of a parent to do things.
Changing your lazy kids into ones that are motivated and responsible may take some work. It may also take some patience on your part to stop hovering and doing everything for your child. Even so, the reward for you and them by doing so is definitely worth the frustrations you might feel.