Small Town Living – A Grown Up Job

Today Abby (6) asked me if she could get a grown up job. She wants to make money so she can buy things that she wants. She also wants to feel important in this world. I get her. However, she’s six. I can’t even get her to clean her own room or do things around the house without alot of prompting. Hmmmm….

The thing is, I remember this. Those things like cleaning my room or helping mother were not on the priority list for me – even if I got paid for helping, it felt fake. I wanted it to be real! I wanted someone to appreciate me for my skill and my contribution and I couldn’t understand that with my parents.

Even now, it’s hard. I work for them. I run their business and I feel every minute like I need to justify the job I’m doing with profit margins or payable reports or whatever. I get my six year old. Now how do I help her?

Here in a small town, I’m sure there are people who would allow me to use them as parenting helpers. I’m thinking about finding a neighbor and asking them to allow me to use them as a front man. She’ll come in and do something and I’ll give you the money to pay her. I mean, I think I could work that out. Is that lying to my kid?

Yeesh…. Parenting ain’t easy!

tom-sawyer-whitewashing-the-fence
Finding jobs in a small town
rockwell11
Kids spending hard earned money
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4 thoughts on “Small Town Living – A Grown Up Job”

  1. I think you should do everything you can to help her to get a grown up job. She may even be able to help you figure out what is best for her.

    As a second grade teacher, I had discussions with my students regarding the concept of “exchange” and how it relates to families. Exchange is the idea of give and take in any relationship. It might not be exactly equal but it is whatever two or more people agree is fair. Parents do jobs for their bosses who then pay them money so they can pay for their house, food, clothing and fun. Try to keep it simple. If they do a good job, then their bosses want to keep them but if they do a bad job then their bosses might find someone else to do the job. This helps to orient them to “quality” in work.

    Next, I went over the exchange that children have with their parents. Their parents provide a home, food, clothing toys and love. What kind of things could kids do to help their parents…and then just listen to their suggestions. I write them down, obviously easier when done in a group. They come up with some good ones to such as wash dishes, take out trash, rake the leaves, wash the car (lots of kids wanted this one), clean the bathroom and mow the lawn. I had each child pick out something they would like to do at home and write a note to their parents asking them for help in learning how to do that particular job.

    I guess it also helped that the kids at our school were already indoctrinated in doing daily jobs. The last half hour of the day, they each had a job to do, really young ones (4-5) year old only had 15 minutes. Depending on their responsibility level, they got simple or complex jobs. The second grade class had jobs such as: erase the chalk board, empty the trash, sharpen pencils for the next day, vacuum, wash off the desks, feed the class pets (including cleaning the cage with supervision). I had a couple of girls in charge of taking everything off the bulletin board when it was time to change the holiday theme. Really the sky is the limit.

    If you feel that she would not think of it as a grown up job, if you paid her then go ahead and get a co-conspirator. Helping your child feel useful and gain confidence is always a good thing. Usually younger children need frequent changes or they get bored of doing jobs. I’d recommend allowing her to pick a new one in a month or two…unless she really likes her current job.

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