Chores versus Slave labour

child labor

Child slave labour or teaching responsibility? That is the question currently burning a fair to middling size hole in my noggin.

Is it abusive parenting to make my children wash my car as punishment?

Is it abusive parenting to expect them to clean up after themselves?

I thought I was teaching them to be responsible adults, understanding consequences and taking pride in their environment.

My daughter believes I am using her for cheap slave labour to do things I don’t want to do.

“You are treating me like a slave! You are training your kids to be slaves. I do not want to be a slave when I grow up. You make us clean and clean and clean while you do nothing. Slaves!”

My sons just clean up when I ask them to. Yes, they mutter under my hearing, but they do it nonetheless.

My daughter seems to regard it as her right to make an unholy mess of the living room as she redecorates it into Monster High. I don’t mind tripping the light fantastic around pink Lego pieces and zombie Barbies, as long as it all gets picked up afterwards. There our opinions seem to diverge.

My daughter’s teacher advised me to take the Diva’s mood swings in my stride. She said that my daughter feels comfortable enough to act like Lady Gaga in front of me because she knows my love for her is not in question.

Mothers can take it and more without our love wavering (although our patience may flat line).

Next time I am told, “I hate you. You are the worst Mummy ever. Why can’t you just let me have one happy day?” I will take it as the backhanded compliment her subconscious intends it to be.


Her father approached it a different way.

Father, “What you like for lunch?”

Daughter, “Pizza.”

A pause of 10 minutes

Daughter, “When are you getting my pizza?”

Father, “Never. I am not your slave.”

Daughter stumped, “Oh.”



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