Parents have varying views on the value of chores and responsibilities in the home, assigned to their kids.
While some are pretty relaxed about them, others think missing out on chores is punishable, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwwwawway912121, for example, decided the best way to teach one of her children the value of their responsibilities in the home was to cancel her birthday party.
But when her punishment was considered too harsh by some, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she had taken it too far.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for canceling my daughter’s 10th birthday party when she didn’t finish her chores on time?”
The OP was teaching her children responsibilities at home.
“I (32 female) have 5 children. My husband (34) of 13 years works full-time, and I stay home with the kids.”
“We have a small three-bedroom townhouse and no dishwasher. We live frugally as we have a large family, student loan debt, and a mortgage.”
“We teach children the value of chores from a young age.”
The OP argued with her daughter in the last week to do the dishes.
“Last Sunday was my 9-year-old daughter’s turn for dishes. She kept getting distracted by her siblings (ages 11, 8, 6, 4) and didn’t get them done.”
“Every time I went to the kitchen, she wasn’t there, and I had to go find her to bring her back.”
“She said the water made her hands itchy, and there were too many dishes.”
“Eventually, it was bedtime, so I said she would have to do them tomorrow.”
“Every day last week was the same thing. I left her to do the dishes, and she wandered off playing outside or sitting watching TV.”
“She complained that now there were even more dishes than before.”
“I said, ‘That’s what you get for putting it off.'”
The OP gave her daughter an ultimatum.
“On Wednesday morning, I told her, ‘If you don’t finish these dishes by tomorrow at bedtime, I will cancel your birthday party.'”
“At first, she was mad and cried. Then she seemed like she didn’t believe me.”
“She washed a couple of things that afternoon but ended up playing outside again.”
“On Thursday she acted like the dishes didn’t exist and didn’t try to do them at all, so at the end of the day, I told her the party was off like we had talked about the day before.”
“She threw a massive tantrum. She said I was ruining her birthday and she only turns 10 once.”
The OP followed through with her punishment.
“On Friday (her birthday), I sent messages to all the parents of the invited kids, letting them know we were canceling.”
“I let her pick what I made for dinner and I baked a homemade cake but she was still very grumpy with me and struggled to get along with her siblings.”
“The party was supposed to be on Saturday. A few people who didn’t get the message showed up, and I turned them away.”
“My daughter wouldn’t come out of her room and screamed at her sisters who share the room with her.”
The OP received mixed responses for the punishment.
“She called her aunt (my sister) on the family landline, and my sister said that I was too harsh and I’ve traumatized my daughter.”
“My husband says what we did is no one’s business, and she’s growing up and needs to learn how to help around the house and learn about natural consequences.”
“I did let my sister and parents come over and bring her some gifts this Sunday (after my daughter tearfully finished the dishes), and we had a little ‘family party’ with siblings, grandparents, and aunts.”
“Today some of the kids at school gave her the gifts they got for the party, so she has those.”
“But my daughter is still moping around and now it seems harder than ever to get her to do chores.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP was absolutely too harsh on her daughter.
“It sounds like there’s more happening than the kid just kept getting distracted, clearly she was having some trouble with the task but neither parent ever bothered to figure out what.”
“I also think it’s crazy to have a child that age do all the dishes for a dinner for 7 people. That’s at least 7 dinner plates, cutlery sets, glasses, and whatever serving ware they happened to use… and potentially the pots/pans used for cooking too, if OP decided those were the kid’s responsibility as well.”
“Chores are a great way to teach kids responsibility and self-sufficiency, but this seems a bit much.” – LarkspurSong
“Also, the OP said it was this daughter’s ‘day’ to do them but then made her clean every other day, which means significantly more dishes than she should be washing.”
“It also means at least one other person just got off scot-free for not doing a chore either for a whole a** week.”
“Like d**n, she’s a kid, and a birthday isn’t something she should have to earn.” – Seliphra
“Canceling a party for not doing dishes is a disproportionate punishment!! All this does is upset the child and chip away at the respect the daughter has for OP.”
“And it’s not ridiculous to think a ten-year-old is going to need more guidance and help fulfilling expectations than just saying, ‘go do the dishes’…” – SerialPizzaThief
“Also, ‘it’s harder than ever to get her to do her chores,’ because, OP, she’s figured out your system is rigged against her.”
“She was overwhelmed, overworked, and instead of helping her, instead of making it family effort, or making it more fun for her, you just kept dumping more and more work on and then took away her party.”
“So why should she bother doing chores? Might as well refuse and get some of her free time back.” – Confident_Profit_210
“You expect a ten-year-old to do dishes for SEVEN PEOPLE? Stop having kids, buy a d**n dishwasher, and get off her back.”
“Also, ‘She kept getting distracted by her siblings (ages 11, 8, 6, 4).'”
“How was she getting ‘DISTRACTED’? Were they asking her to do things for them? Where were you? What were you doing, AS THE PARENT, to stop the other children from ‘distracting’ her? What were their punishments for preventing her from doing her chores?”
“I’m all for kids doing chores. I give my own kids chores. But, if you can’t manage the house with all your kids helping out, you need to rethink some of your choices.”
“You could have let her have the party, but locked up the gifts until the dishes were done. There were so many choices you could have made, but you chose the laziest one you could.”
“Allergies to dish detergent IS A REAL THING. I am extremely allergic to dish soap, and this was started when I had continual exposure to it, with barely any breaks.”
“What would have been a normal irritation turned into a violent reaction, and now I can’t be near it, or near laundry detergent, without gloves.” – AbbyFB6969
Others questioned the responsibilities the OP was taking on in the home.
“OP mentioned having to go find the daughter and she was playing with the other kids or playing outside. So OP didn’t have eyes on ANY of the kids!”
“How do you not know where your kids are. How does a kid go outside without you knowing or bothering to care?!!!!”
“YTA” – sleepy-popcorn
“YTA. She kept getting distracted by her siblings? So she was cleaning up after 7 people, and watching her siblings. What were you doing? Clearly not parenting.” – ndcollector
“Stay at home parent here. I get it, it’s hard. I work from home with 3 kids, but they have school, and I get crap done because, I’m the mum, and it’s my job.”
“Sounds like the kids are taking more responsibility than the parents here!” – PeauntOreos
“Dishes for 7 people, as well as the dishes for serving and the pots and pans for cooking? That’s at least an hour of washing! And she’s supposed to be in the kitchen by herself this whole time? That’s cruel.”
“If you want to assign dishes to a kid, there have to be child-friendly boundaries. Maybe she only does the dishes for eating, and a parent does the heavy-duty washing up (the pots and pans for cooking).”
“Also, someone should be there with her, bringing her the items from the dining table, wiping up surfaces, and putting things away. Maybe alternating tasks so she gets a break from the water. SOMEONE TO KEEP HER COMPANY AND ON TASK.”
“I have a nephew that age, and I cannot imagine making him wash up after 7 people.” – saucynoodlelover
Some were also concerned about what the daughter meant by feeling itchy.
“OP mentions the daughter complaining about her hands getting itchy. So she’s washing the dishes BY HAND (no machine) AND WITHOUT GLOVES.”
“WHY DON’T THEY HAVE GLOVES?!” – saucynoodlelover
“I have to wear gloves because I get eczema on my hands. The poor kid might be developing the same thing.” – biteme789
“I’m in the middle of a bad eczema flare-up and finally buckled on using gloves again. I hate myself for taking so long.”
“10-year-olds are children— they have sensitive skin, and she’s probably got little a** hands too. She needed breaks and gloves.” – eggrollin2200
“Also, the soap makes her hands itchy, she might be allergic. Get her some rubber gloves and make her do that day’s dishes, not several days’ worth when it irritates her hands. Try to solve her problem. Plus the insane amount of dishes there must be.” – Meandwe123
The subReddit could understand the frustration of a kid not completing their chores, but they also agreed there needed to be a limit to this annoyance.
Clearly, the child was struggling to complete the task, so some other way of getting it done may have been in order.
Also, canceling a birthday party, the subReddit agreed, also was not the way to ensure that task was completed.