“During a TED Talks Live Event, Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult,” said “If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them. And so they’re absolved of not only the work, but of learning that work has to be done and that each one of us must contribute for the betterment of the whole,” she said.”1
Starting at minute 8:30, Lythcott-Haimes says that our children should have a childhood built on love and chores, the earlier the better. She affirms that the longest, longitudinal study of humans ever conducted, called the Harvard Grant Study, says that professional success in life comes from doing chores as a kid, the earlier the better. And if your child has a roll up the sleeves mindset, such as, “There is a lot of unpleasant work to be done. Some has to do it, it might as well be me” and “I will contribute my effort to the betterment of the whole”, the Harvard Grant Study says, that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace.2
Julie Lythcott-Haims also talks about self-efficacy. She says, at minute 6:14, the definition—”that one can see that one’s own actions leads to outcomes” or the definition is an person’s belief in his or her inner ability to obtain their goals. When we hand over our children’s life to them instead of a “checklisted childhood”–where grades and awards are the most important thing and the parents are the concierge of the child’s life, making all the decisions and doing all the planning–self-efficacy can start. Lythcott-Haims continues, “if our children are going to build self-efficacy, and they must, they need to do a whole lot more of the
experiencing of life
In our family, we have seen our age bench marks absolutely develop self efficacy in our children. Julie Lythcott-Haims, above, only talks about chores in the home. We have taken it a step further when our children turn 14 and get a job outside the home. It doesn’t have to be more than 5 hours a week at the minimum. But having to show up for someone else other than you, is invaluable.
To recap our Age Bench Marks that I have covered so far:
- We change our children’s expectations that we pay for everything in their lives and when they turn 12–they get to start paying for their school clothes and entertainment, because that is what they seem to care about the most.
- Our 12-year-olds start doing their own laundry.
- Our 12-year-olds start making their own appointments and contacting people for the activities in their lives.
Now onto the 14-year-olds:
- They keep doing all of the above and then we add more responsibilities.
- We wait until our children are 14 to get a cell phone. (last post)
Some examples of work our children have done are:
- One daughter worked at clearing tables at a wedding reception center, finding the job through one of her friends.
- Another son worked for my friend’s home based candy business, packaging and shipping the candy.
- Three of our children worked for a ward member at her scrapbook store, starting at the age of 14.
- Other ideas are working for a contractor, a painter or a landscaper.
I remember having a conversation with one of our children, a 14-year-old daughter about earning money, back in the day. She was discouraged by her lack of funds and said her cell phone was 50.00 a month. She said. “That may not seem like a lot of money to you…” I cut her off and said, “No, no, no! That is still a lot of money to me! We need to find you a job with someone in the ward, or neighborhood, like the other kids have done.” She said, “Really? The other kids had jobs when they were 14?” So I went through what everyone else had done and she and I figured it out together. She ended up calling a woman in our ward who owns a scrapbooking store. My other children had worked there before they had gone to college. This daughter had to make the hard phone call to ask our wonderful neighbor if she needed part-time work after school and on Saturdays. Because her siblings had been good workers, they paved the way for their little sister.
After my daughter got her scrapbooking job, there was one day when no one was home and she needed to get to work. She jumped on her bike and rode the 5 or so miles to her job. I was super impressed. That’s what working for other people will do for your child. They are learning that people are counting on them and they need to make things happen. They need to show up. They learn to start coping with what is expected of them.
Self-efficacy. “That one can see that one’s own actions leads to outcomes”. This is another stepping stone to self-sufficiency and #adulting. Your children are talking and interacting with people and expanding their skill sets. Your expectation is such an incredible gift that you are giving your child. Your belief in them will help them to step up to their own plate of adult life. You aren’t being mean or hard on them. You are excitedly showing what they can accomplish, and with someone else, other than you counting on them, they know they have to step up, buck up and show up. What jobs did you or your children have when they were young teens?