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Couples seek therapy for a variety of issues, but often the completion of household tasks is a source of frustration. Who cleans the house?  How is it cleaned and at what frequency?  Who washes, folds and puts clothing away? Who shops for groceries or takes out the garbage? If adults struggle with the division of chores, could establishing good habits as a child help future adult relationships?
The following ACA Blog explores teaching children how to complete chores and holding them accountable. We are sometimes overwhelmed with enforcing household chore lists when we also support our children with homework completion, sports and extracurricular activities and enjoying our limited time evening hours with them.
Check out the Blog posting below. As you support your child in learning how to complete chores now, know that you are also supporting their future relationships.
Getting Kids To Do Their Chores Doesn't Make You A Bad Person

When it comes to assigning our kids family chores to do around the house, virtually all parents think it's a great idea.  But many of us also find it can be a big hassle when we try to get the kids to actually do the assigned work.

Yes, it may sometimes seem easier to just take out that bag of trash yourself than to get into a big argument with the kids over whose turn it is, or why that simple job can't be done now. But what the experts advise is not to let such household responsibilities slide.

Having your kids do assigned chores can be an important factor in helping them develop in positive ways. Chores are a way for a child to feel part of the family, and to gain a sense of contributing toward the family good. These early life lessons make it easier for a person to feel like an active, contributing member of society later in life.

Chores are also a means for learning about responsibility and meeting expectations, skills necessary for success in school and the workplace.  They may involve simple activities, like making a bed daily or helping with the family pet, but the lessons derived from successfully completing family chores carry over into later life.

Getting chores completed successfully, however, does require planning and work on the part of parents. You want to make assignments that are appropriate for a child’s age and abilities so successful completion and positive experiences are most likely.

You also have to keep your expectations reasonable. If you are a perfectionist and criticize how every chore is done, you're setting your child up for failure, unable to meet your expectations.  Instead, set realistic, attainable goals. And don't let your child get away with little or no effort since that is teaching him or her to have their own low expectations and to question their abilities to do good work.

Talk to your child about setting up a chore system. Clearly explain responsibilities and what constitutes successful completion of a task. Develop rewards for work well done, and take the time to monitor chore activities and to offer honest praise for carrying out assigned tasks successfully.
Starting a child early in life to accept chores and do them well builds self-esteem and helps develop stronger life skills.

Not sure how to even start a healthy conversation about family participation in completing chores? This ACA Blog may help provide direction in setting up family meetings to discuss everything from chores to family vacations.
Harvest Outreach Center Parent Resource
Simple Steps That Can Improve Family Ties

But all too often we simply assume that good family relationships just happen. The reality is, however, that relationships within a family need to be worked on just as much as the good relationships we may have with friends or co-workers.

Instead, many of us ending up putting "family time" on the back burner. We have busy schedules and lots of activities already taking up a great deal of our days.  All of that can make it difficult to make special efforts to cultivate family relationships.  Yet if we don't do so it's easy for problems to develop unnoticed and for a family to grow apart.

Fortunately, it isn't all that difficult to strengthen relationships within a family.  One of the simplest yet most effective steps is to hold family meetings.  This doesn't mean simply hoping that everyone will be around for dinner on Thursday night, but rather it means actually planning a time and place when everyone can get together for a family discussion.

The purpose of a family meeting is to catch up on what has been happening to family members, and to work out every day hassles that may have arisen.  Try to make such meetings enjoyable, but first agree on basic ground rules. Such meetings require that everyone be present.  And keep it civilized with only one person speaking at a time, and no name-calling, yelling, accusing or blaming. The point is to work together to iron out family issues, problems and plans.  Meeting twice a month is an effective schedule for many families.

For busy families, another way to strengthen those family ties is simply to spend some relaxed, quality time together.  Maybe it's just agreeing that everyone will sit down together for dinner one set night each week. Scheduling a regular family game night with no TV or phones is another way to enjoy one another's company.

Our lives today are all quite busy, but making an effort to give family members more personal attention can pay big benefits. Spending just a few minutes each day to catch up with your spouse or your kids can keep you current on their lives and help catch small issues before they become major problems. It's well worth the effort.

Misuse of prescription medication by children and adolescents is of concern, particularly for commonly prescribed medications for ADHD symptoms, such as Adderall or Ritalin. Reportedly, 1.3 percent of 12th grade students misuse Ritalin and about 5.5 percent misuse Adderall.  Monitoring medication use by children and adolescents is important for keeping them safe. Misuse of the prescription opioid Oxycontin was recently reported at 2.7 percent by high school seniors.
We can support safe and healthy choices by talking with our children about substance use, creating healthy family systems by being involved in school and community activities, and monitoring our own use, storage, and disposal of prescription medications. The following resources are available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

  • Read Max’s story of how he became addicted to Vicodin and steps he took to get help.

Prescription Medication Misuse:ny, your products or services.”