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Summer and Chores

   Posted by Patsig on July 2, 2013

Well it's that time a year again where we all wonder, how did it go so fast. Most of us are trying to figure out our new schedules and how to implement camp, work, childcare and quite frankly what to make for dinner.

One thing is for sure that routine is detrimental to any family even when the "Routine" has changed. One of the best things to keep the kids busy, is to incorporate some summer chores for your children.

Your tots can do small basic chores such as helping pick up their toys or helping put their laundry in the laundry basket.

Your elementary child can take on more tasks like helping with yard work along with maintaining their rooms and wiping down their sinks.

Your tweens can mow the lawn and help prepare meals especially if both parents are working.

A lot of teens may be entering the work force at this point with summer jobs or they may have part time jobs . This gives them their independence as well as their own spending cash. While this might be the case in some homes, others may choose not to depending on the age of the teen or other circumstances. If your teen is not working and perhaps needs spending cash for the movies, have them earn some around the house. Either way It will keep them busy so they are not bored or getting into mischief.

We hope you have a wonderful summer this year.

Eliminating Arguments and Conflict

   Posted by Patsig on March 1, 2013

By: Michael G. Conner, Psy.D,

Published in the Family News, 2002

Parents will often ask me how to eliminate the arguments and conflicts they have with their children. Getting children to listen and do what you want is not nearly as difficult as you might think. There are approximately 20 techniques that can virtually eliminate argument and conflict. None of these techniques involve spanking your child. Here are two techniques that work with most of children - especially when they are five years or older. The remaining 18 techniques are for the "hard cases."

"I want… I understand. I don’t agree. Never the less I want…"

The first technique involves telling your child what you want, that you understand their objections, that you don’t agree with their objections, and then telling them what you want again. Here are some examples of phrases that you can use with your child.

"I want you to… (insert a specific request).

For example, "I want you to take the garbage out to the trash right now and then come back and tell me that you are done." Using the words, "I want…" is far more effective than saying, "You need…" A disagreeable child can easily take the position that you do not know what they need. Or, "What I really need is what I want." "What I need to do is certainly not what you want." Regardless of what your child may be thinking or saying, that is one good place to start.

If your child objects, whines or gives you a lame excuse, tell your child, "I understand" and wait to see if they have anything else to say. Better yet, you could say, "I understand. Is there anything else you want to say or tell me?" My favorite one is to say, "I understand what you are saying. I do not agree. But regardless, I still want you to take out the garbage."

At this point you assume the role of listening while telling your child that you understand. Then tell them again what you want.

Avoid Answering "Why?" Questions

The "I want…, I understand…, I don’t agree, and never-the-less…" approach will usually be challenged by most children. But the challenge is simple to deal with in most cases. It helps if you realize that children believe they have a right to ask "Why?" whenever they want. They also think that parents are required to answer any questions they might ask. Young children ask questions in order to learn. But older children often learn to ask questions in order to find fault, to get what they want or to make parents feel bad. They do this all the time with their friends and become rather skilled. I can tell you that children have repeatedly told me that they believe they should get what they want if the reasons people give them are not fair. Of course, a child’s view is very different from the parents perspective - "I am the parent and you don’t always get what you want. You have some freedom and some choices."

Parents win arguments when their children are young, but children are naturally motivated to get better and better at arguing. Trying to beat your child at arguing can be a real mistake. Most children become more argumentative each time you argue with them and each time you answer any question that results in an argument. Remember this. The more you argue with your child, the better your child will become at arguing.

Here are some ways to avoid answering "why?" questions. The first best thing you can do is not answer your child’s question right away. I suggest you wait at least 10 seconds and a little longer if necessary until you know exactly what you want to say. The next best thing you can do is to ask them why they should get to do something or why they think they should get out of something. After listening and not interrupting you should say, "I understand. Is there anything else you want to say?" After you listen to everything else, then you can say, "I understand. I don’t agree." Then tell you child what you have decided. Never explain the reason for your decision unless you want to encourage arguments. Before you answer those "why?" questions, always ask yourself, "Does my child want to learn from me or do they want to see if they can find a way argue with me in order to get what they want?" Either way, it is usually better to wait for them to finish what they have to say and then tell them "I understand. I don’t agree. And I still want you to do what I asked."

There is one thing I can promise. Most children will understand and accept what you are asking when they don’t want something else from you. It is better to talk to your child before they challenge you. Talk to them about what you expect when they aren’t trying to manipulate you. Children are more likely to understand what you want and why you want something when they are not angry, defensive or trying to get what they want. Tell your children what you want and why you want something long before you even need to ask them.

What If My Child Defies Me?

You are dealing with a hard case if a children does not respond to this approach within a month. A child who defies their parent is either testing the limits of what they can get away with or they have had arguments with their parents in the past that created power struggle and resentment. A power struggle is any situation where a child challenges a parent’s authority and the parent then threatens a child with a severe consequence if the child doesn’t give in. Parents usually win power struggles when children are young, but they get harder and harder to win as the child gets older and bigger. Eliminating arguments and conflict gets harder the longer parents and children have engaged in arguments and power struggles.

So what can you do if your child says, "I’m not going to do it", or "I’ll do it later", or "I’m going outside anyway"? One thing is for sure. This is not a good time to threaten your child with a consequence that you just made up. If you do, you might find yourself arguing about the consequence being unfair. Giving a child another consequence for arguing is a power struggle and will usually create even more resentment and drama.

Threatening a child on the spot with a made up consequence is much less effective than reminding a child that you have already established and talked about the consequences for defiance. Making up consequences during an argument or after a child expresses their defiance creates resentment, but it also creates a desire to get even.

My best advice is that you never threaten your child unless you don’t mind creating a risk that your child will learn how to threaten you back and try to get even later. The best response to defiance goes something like this, "You have a choice, and you know there are consequences." At this point, any child will decide if the consequence is worth it, or they will wonder whether you will follow through with a consequence.

Copyright 2002 to 2005, Michael G. Conner

Should kids be paid for good grades

   Posted by Patsig on January 30, 2013

This topic has been thrown around for ages with varying opinions and studies. Some say that it's not a great idea because we teach our kids that it's all about the money and not the benefits of academic achievement itself. They also worry that they have two different types of kids. It may come easy for one, where it's effortless to get great grades and perhaps the other child struggles and puts in the effort, but still only achieves minimal grades. Some parents feel this can be very unfair.

Others will say, that yes we should pay kids for good grades. In some cases, adults work for companies that give bonuses for a job well done. Why not reward them in the same fashion. This will help them to create a great work ethic that will carry them through to their adult years.

Each parent will have to decide what works well for their own family.

Try setting up their academic achievement under personal growth with You can even evaluate the points for the effort that they put in (satisfactory, good, needs improvement) and not on the grade itself. Motivate them in a positive manner. You could even convert the points to be redeemed for other options like charity. This way you can show them that their good effort can be put towards helping others.

Beat the winter blues

   Posted by Patsig on January 23, 2013

Not only do adults get the winter blues, so do our kids! It's important to keep them active and healthy, making sure that they get enough exercise outside. The fresh air will do them good.

First, you need to dress for success. Make sure that they are dressed properly for the winter conditions with warm gloves, hats, boots and all other outerwear.

Make it fun! If your lucky enough to live near the slopes, take advantage when you can. Family outings to the local outdoor rink, sledging, a hike, or even create a scavenger hunt, are just a few ideas that the little ones will love.

As our kids age they tend to become less active. Do your part to encourage and participate with too will loose the winter blues as well. The more active your child is their over all demeanour will be healthier and happier.

10 Basic Points of Good Disipline

   Posted by Patsig on January 19, 2013

We found this article from the Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System 2004 Helping Children Thrive and found the points to be very insightful....

Children are not born knowing the rules of life. They learn to be good men and women by first learning to be good boys and girls. Expect mistakes, tantrums, pouting, and crying. How you respond is an important part of how they learn.

1. Good discipline is not punishment
Discipline and punishment are different. Punishment is supposed to make a person choose not to repeat bad behaviour. But, from punishment, especially physical punishment, children learn how the powerful make rules and the weaker must go along with it, or else. They might learn to avoid being honest about mistakes or to divert the blame on to others (“he did it, not me,” “it’s not my fault”). Because young children do not choose to mis-behave, they can feel like failures if punished over and over.

2. Good discipline teaches
Punishment teaches what is wrong, but does not help a child learn what is right. The goal of discipline is to teach. It teaches self-control and socially acceptable behaviour. You encourage good behaviour by correcting misbehaviour and praising good behaviour. Discipline is an opportunity to model respect, patience, and good problem solving. In the long run, you teach them to decide all by themselves to do the right thing.

3. Good discipline is not a power struggle
“Do you want to go to bed?” “No!.” “But it’s 9 o’clock so you need to get to bed.”
“YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” You are in a power struggle. Where do you go from here? With small children, you can make them: you can pick him up and take him to bed. But is that going to work when he is 12?

4. Good discipline never involves physical violence or threats of violence
Never, ever hit a child. If you find yourself using physical discipline like spanking, you may be getting yourself into power struggles, exercising your power as the bigger and stronger person. Re-assess your overall discipline strategy and look into ways to replace spanking. For example, try time ins or time outs, but no more than one minute for each year of the child’s age (i.e., two minutes for a two-year-old).

5. Good discipline does not involve insulting or demeaning comments
For abusive parents, “discipline” means yelling, blaming, and putting the child down. This teaches a child he is a bad person, not a person who has exercised bad judgment or engaged in bad behaviour. Also, don’t put down one child by favouring or praising the other.

6. Good discipline does not involve anger and over-reactions
Good discipline is a planned out strategy to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour. It is consistent and fair.

7. Good discipline uses clear expectations, clear consequences, and consistent “enforcement”
1. 2. 3.
define clear expectations which are reasonable for the age of the child... ...and clearly linked to consequences that match the age of the child use fair, firm, consistent follow-through
* sit down as a family and make a list of “house rules” to post on the refrigerator
* some rules are “don’ts” (e.g., no hitting, don’t go in a bedroom without knocking)
* some rules are “do’s” (e.g., bring your dishes into the kitchen when you finish
what happens if someone breaks a rule? Decide now, also as a family * “consequences” should help the child learn what is right and how to act
When someone breaks a family rule, give them a chance to do it right before you apply a consequence. Be consistent. If you enforce a rule one day, and let it slide the next, you teach the children they can sometimes get away with it, so they are likely to repeat the bad behaviour.

8. Good discipline is neither permissive nor punitive
Some parents never discipline. The permissive parent lets kids do whatever they want, so he or she never has to enforce rules. With the punitive parent, children are too scared to step out of line. Neither style is good.

9. Good discipline solves problems
Using good discipline, you should feel the atmosphere at home getting more relaxed. Then you’ll know you are on the right track. Children learn not only what is wrong, but what is right.

10. The best discipline is the kind you never have to use
Using the “Everyday Essentials” of parenting (page 32) may help prevent the need for discipline in the first place. This may not work immediately, but over time it can.
• be a model of good behaviour: if you want “please and thank you,” use “please and thank you”
• be clear on the rules so they know what behaviour you do not want to see
• praise good behaviour 5 times for every 1 time you comment on misbehaviour
• when correcting misbehaviour, focus on the behaviour not the child
• when correcting misbehaviour, explain the logic behind your request or behind the
• keep your voice at a normal volume level and do not react out of anger, fatigue
or other emotion
• don’t get into a power struggle: state the “given” and give some choices
• don’t have rules that are impossible to meet, or impossible for the age of your child • you are the adult, you set the rules, you enforce the rules, you are in charge!
• if acting out is the only way to get your attention, expect children to act out
Thomas P. Phelan (2003). 1-2-3- Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2 to 12. Child Management. (also available as a video)
Barbara Coloroso (2001). Kids are Worth It! Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline. Penguin Canada.
What’s Wrong with Spanking? (2004).
Available from the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence:
Discipline is not possible with babies. They are too young to learn from discipline.

Helping Children Thrive © Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System 2004 61

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