We’re concluding our mini-mini series today on chores – and on paying children to do chores, which leads us to larger conversations about money. If you missed the first part of this then then you might want to go and listen to last week’s interview with Dr. Andrew Coppens, who explores the ways that families in different cultures approach chores and what lessons that can hold for those of us who want to encourage our children to do their chores.
Today we’re going to take that conversation to its logical conclusion by talking about money, and what better guest to do that with us than Ron Lieber,who wrote the book The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids who are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money. It’s a really practical guide to talking with your children about money – from what information they should have at what age, to what to do with a child who always wants you to buy them something at the store, to what to say when a child wonders why homeless people don’t have enough money.
This episode is on a topic that I find fascinating – the cultural issues that underlie our parenting. I actually think this issue is so important that I covered it in episode 1 of the podcast, which was really the first episode after the introductory one where I gave some information on what the show was going to be about.
But recently I read a book called Generation Me by Jean Twenge, a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, which discusses some of the cultural contexts that have led to the generation of people born since 1970 to develop a certain set of characteristics that sometimes seem very strange to those who were born before us, and may be leading us to raise children who are just a bit too individualistic.
In this episode I discuss some of those characteristics and what implications they have for the way we parent our own children, and offer some thoughts on how we can shift that our approach if we decide we want to.
This is the second of a short series of episodes on issues related to divorce. The first was our “All Joy and No Fun” episode, where we talked about how parenting today can be the most joyful thing in our lives – even if it isn’t always a whole lot of fun from moment to moment.
The series was inspired by a listener who sent me an email saying: “I was divorced when my husband was 2 ½ years old. He is now 5 years old and has a very hard time expressing his feelings. I have an intuitive “gut” feeling that it has to do with the fact that he went from being with me every day (I was a stay at home mom) to suddenly spending 7-10 days away from me and with his father, and also away from me as I set up a career. Do you know of any research on this?”
Well, I didn’t, but when I started looking around I realized there’s actually so much of it that it makes sense to break it down into two episodes which is what we’re going to do. So today’s episode focuses very much on the factors leading to divorce and the impact of divorce itself on children, and the final episode in the series will look at how what happens after divorce – things like single parenting, ongoing contact with both parents, ongoing arguments between parents, and remarriages and stepparents impact children.
Today’s episode is about a book I read way before I started the podcast, called All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior. I actually got a question from a listener recently asking me whether there’s any research on whether and how her divorce might have impacted her son’s development. It turns out that there is, and quite a lot – so I decided to make a series out of it.
We’ll have one episode on how divorce impacts children, and a second on single parenting and step families, and we’ll open the whole lot up with this one on All Joy and No Fun, which is basically about the idea that if you ask a parent what is their greatest joy they will invariably say “my kids,” but if you ask them moment-by-moment if they’re having fun with their children then unfortunately the answer is pretty often “no.” I know that a lot of factors can lead to divorce but surely “all joy and no fun” is among them, so it sort of seemed like it fit with the other two topics. Since I first read the book several months ago I’ve had a chance to think about it a bit, so I’ll start as usual with the research and will end with some ideas on how we can change our approach so we can have “some joy and some fun too.”
We have a pretty cool mini-mini-series launching today. I’ve been seeing a lot of those “chores your child could be doing” articles showing up in my social media feeds lately, and I was thinking about those as well about how children in other cultures seem to be MUCH more willing to help out with work around the house. I’m not saying we want to train our children to be slave laborers, but why is it that children in Western cultures really don’t seem to do chores unless they’re paid to do them?
We’re going to hold off on the “getting paid” part for now, and we’ll talk about that very soon with my guest Ron Lieber, the Money columnist of the New York Times who wrote a book called The Opposite of Spoiled. But today we’re going to discuss the chores part with Andrew Coppens, who is an Assistant Professor of Education in Learning Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. If you’ve ever asked your child to do a task in the home only to have them say “No,” then get comfy and listen up, because I have a feeling that our conversation is going to surprise you and give you some new tools for your toolbox.