The Role of Children in the Family

Children are some of the most sensitive and perceptive people you will ever find. Rebellion often comes during the teenage years when children feel their parents are asking them to behave in a way not consistent with their own behaviour. It is very difficult to be the shining example of all the morals and values we hold dear, but that is one of the responsibilities we take on when we decide to become parents.

The role of children in the family has changed dramatically in the last 100 years. Families needed children for their livelihood. When we were primarily agricultural, children were needed to plow the fields, feed the animals, make butter, cook etc. They had a sense of being a vital part of the survival of their family. In this automated world, how do we give our children that sense of self-worth?

Our children know they are loved, but if we want them to become active and positive members of the family we must make them feel that their contributions are absolutely necessary. Children may often feel like tenants instead of owners in their own home. The more they feel essential to the smooth running of the family, the more of a team atmosphere can be created.

Children are able to help cook, set the table, fold the laundry, take out the garbage, dust, sweep, vacuum and problem solve. Once children start school, they would love to do things around the house they see you doing. It’s a matter of looking at the chodre from the child’s perspective, seeing what the pitfalls might be and scaling it up or down to their size.

You might ask yourself, why would a child do work around the house? It isn’t like the family will suffer if they don’t do the dishes or make their beds. Their assistance doesn’t mean monetary disaster so what would their motivation be? Well, of course, your child wants to be just like you so helping you has its own rewards. The reward for my children was ‘time’. I would explain to my children that if they helped me, I would have time to take them for a walk to the park, or a movie or something special that they would like to do.

It is a fact that we spend time with those things in our lives that are most important to us. Giving your children the gift of your precious time during their first five or six years will be a lasting investment. As time goes on, our children need us less and less and look to their peers for companionship. Our morals, values, attitudes and perceptions on life can be passed on during these important years and will be the seed you plant in the heart of each of your children.



About johannamadeley

Johanna Madeley has worked with children for over thirty-five years. She is an AMI trained Montessorian who has been the administrator of the accredited Maple Leaf Montessori School in Woodbridge for close to twenty-five years. Her career includes writing and editing a Canadian Montessori teachers newsletter for over ten years as well as doing the same for her own school's Newsletter for the past twenty. Johanna is the mother of two and the proud grandmother of one (so far) so she brings not only her Montessori background into her musings, but her practical experience as well. She has guided hundreds of families through the trials and tribulations of parenthood. Her main goal is to make sure that we do not miss the joy each day can bring amidst the turmoil.
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One Response to The Role of Children in the Family

  1. Thank you for posting this. I am going to allow my child to participate in real household activities. What better way to develop confident, competent, conscientious people?

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