We all need a little help sometimes.
Every little bit helps, as they say.
What happens, though, when that little bit of help comes from your child?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) ThrowAITAlianelee when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for clarity.
“AITA for making my 4 y/o help me with household chores?”
OP began with some cultural background.
“Just some context before I state my problem.”
“I am Asian, ethnically Chinese to be exact.”
“I am a second-generation immigrant in the US.”
“I grew up helping my mother do chores since I was 3/4 years old.”
“Just basic things around the house, at the age you can’t do the ‘heavy work’ any way.”
“Me and my husband are an interracial couple who met in college and we have a 4 y/o child.”
“Ever since my daughter was two I have been teaching her basic upkeep of the house.”
“She enjoys sweeping (we sweep together) she has a little broom.”
“I do the chores with her.”
“Whatever she does I do with her so, so it is communal and I also guide her on how to do it right.”
“As of now some of her daily duties are wiping windows, and some mopping here and there along with folding bedsheets, cleaning up her toys, cleaning the toilet(along with me) etc.”
“We try to keep a schedule and follow it everyday.”
She explained her husband is also on board with this parenting method.
“This is also something my husband supports and he also feels that it is an essential skill to learn since young.”
“Everything was fine until my husband’s parents recently came to visit and they were ‘appalled’ by my daughter helping me scrub the dishes after we were done eating.”
“They were not pleased with me for tasking her with cleaning up duties and we had a discourse over it.”
“I had tried to explain to them that this is part of my daughter’s daily enrichment and it is also to instill tidiness and its’ values since young e.g (when she leaves the home and has a family of her own).”
“They believe that my daughter should ONLY be having playtime and is often known to coddle her too much.”
“While I respect my MIL (Mother in Law) and FIL’s input I do not appreciate them wanting to dictate how I raise my daughter.”
“Husband defended me but when they left told me to reconsider if housekeeping was necessary for her to learn at this age.”
She was left wondering.
“I was pretty bummed out after this and I am confused on whether I am the a**hole for wanting to teach her basic cleanliness skills something that I myself was brought up with.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for an outside opinion.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Some reminded her to be equal opportunity in her chore-giving.
“Just make sure you teach any future sons the same thing.”~ daididge
The theme continued, with some worried dad wasn’t getting in on the fun.
“This is the perfect age to teach kids to do chores because they love helping mom and dad!”
“I am a little worried that OP didn’t say anything about her daughter doing chores with her husband though.”
“Does he do anything around the house? Daughter needs to see both parents doing domestic work.”~ Able_Secretary_6835
Not everyone was convinced, though.
“I’m going with ESH.”
“That’s a lot of daily chores for a toddler.”
“The daily upkeep I can definitely understand but that’s a long list OP has.”
“Some of the stuff seems excessive for a four-year-old like toilet scrubbing and daily washing the windows.”
“OP doesn’t say how much play time she gets, but with all those chores it can’t be much.”
“And OP in other comments is pretty sexist.”
“The grandparents overstepped and a child should definitely have some chores.”
“There needs to be a fair balance.” ~ TheWanderingSibyl
There was also concern about the daughter’s education outside of housework.
“Also, what does she do to teach her other things?”
“At four something I got a very kid friendly nature encyclopedia (with Winnie the Pooh) and I learned to read using that book.”
“Both my parents helped me learn how to read.”
“Even today I know more about astronomy than a lot of adults because my parents had an interest and would answer questions and watch educational programs with us explaining the context.”
“I had toy sets where I learned about magnets and about dinosaurs.”
“I was enrolled in early music classes and still remember something about musical theory even if I no longer care about it.”
“Learning to clean is important but what else do you do with your daughter?”
“Or does she need nothing else because she is a girl?“~ Frosty_Bass5787
While there was dissent, the majority still voted NTA.
“Kids naturally start enjoying stuff like sweeping as toddlers because that’s what the grownups do, and their whole life mission is to learn how to do what the grown-ups do.”
“To them, washing the dishes is the same as figuring out a puzzle. Each is about learning some skill they will need as an adult.”
“Is it as fun as watching TV? No, and eventually they will decide they want TV more – but TV watching isn’t a skill so there’s that.”
“Kids like to be involved in your life and activities.”
“They need to be taught age-appropriate responsibilities and tasks.”
“As long as you aren’t forcing your toddler to scrub toilets alone every day, it really isn’t an issue to involve her in your chores and give her responsibilities.” ~ UnApprovedActivities
OP did return to address the concerns raised in some of the responses.
“Thank you for educating me I didn’t realise this however my intention is to teach both my kids all the basic housekeeping skills regardless of gender.”
“My daughter has other hobbies too and I support her as much I can.”
“She loves playing football and we have recently let her try out at a football coaching centre near our place.”
“I do not believe my daughter should be a stay-at-home mom at all I myself was a software engineer before I became a SAHM for my daughter after we have our second I will go back to work.”
“😓 Sorry about that I was linking my own experience growing up and it was poorly worded”
Linking play and responsibility and helpfulness can change the course of a young life.
Just be sure you’re not falling into the trap of gender roles, and you’re giving those little helpers enough fun to balance out the chores.