Kids Whose Parents Make Them Do Chores Are More Successful

If you want your children to grow up to be successful, let them do chores. Tell them that that scientific research supports you when they balk you.

Even though it sounds good, there is a problem, science.

According to the Harvard Grant Study, the longest running longitudinal study in history, (spanning 75 years and counting from 1938 to the present,) researchers found two things that people need to be happy and successful.

  • Love
  • Work ethic

According to the experiences of the 724 high-achievers who were part of the study, including people like future-President Kennedy and Ben Bradlee, the Watergate-era editor of the Washington Post, there’s a consensus to develop a work ethic in young people.

A “pitch-in” mindset

Julie Lythcott-Haims said in her 20XX TED talk that, “(The study) found that professional success in life, which is what we want for our kids … comes from having done chores as a kid.”

(The author of How to Raise an Adult and the former dean of freshman at Stanford University if Lythcott-Haims. In my free book, How to Raise Successful Kids, you can read more about her advice.)

Lythcott-Haims said, “The earlier you started, the better,) (You can see her whole TED talk here.) “(A) roll-up-your-sleeves- and-pitch-in mindset, a mindset that says, there’s some unpleasant work, someone’s got to do it, it might as we be me … that’s what gets you ahead in the workplace.”

The catch

Even though your kids do chores, it doesn’t mean that your work as a parent is going to be less. My colleague Valerie Williams at Scary Mommy said that,

“That’s cool, research lady. It really does make sense. But do you have any idea how much (stuff) we already have to beg our kids to do any given day?

I called today a victory because both of my kids brushed their teeth the first time I asked and haven’t killed each other yet on this, the fifth day of their week off from school. If I asked them to do chores, they’d listen, but they’d whine. And they’d do a shoddy job. Ain’t no momma got time for that noise. … Have you seen the results when a child sweeps the floor?”

It is more difficult than first sight. Here’s an analogy that I probably will never get to make again. I can remember the days of writing about military counterinsurgency and the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

If you want some other person to learn from the experience, you need them to do it just barely-passably, even if you could do that perfectly. It’s the same as US soldiers training the Iraqi Army and parents letting their kids empty the dishwasher.

Lythcott-Haims told Tech Insider: “By making them do chores – taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry – they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need at this moment.”

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