Monday, 11 October 2021

Defying Gender-based Roles: Why Boys Should Do Chores

Times are changing and so are the norms towards gender-role stereotypes. Everyone must learn to clean up after themselves. Here’s why you need to teach young boys to do housework.

Contrary to popular belief, house chores aren't a gender-based job. We can't box boys and girls to do specific tasks that fit societal expectations and gender stereotypes anymore. The fact is, anyone can and should know how to clean up after themselves at some point in their lives.

The times are changing, and so are the views and opinions of the general public towards these so-called gender roles. Thus, as much as we want to introduce little girls to the various housework, it doesn't hurt to teach young boys its importance. After all, the benefits of learning how to make your bed extend to how you will approach life later on.

They become independent and responsible

One effective way of inculcating values is to teach children basic life skills early on. To do this, you need to remove the notion that kids doing chores is cruel. However, try not to overdo it and instead start with assigning them age-appropriate and straightforward tasks. This includes cleaning their play area, making their beds, and bringing their plates to the sink after eating.

Despite their age, experts say that children are capable of understanding things around them. So, don't be afraid of starting them young. The earlier they learn the value of chores, the faster they become responsible and self-reliant.

Make sure that the tasks you give will have a direct impact on them. For example, if they don't do their laundry, they won't have clean clothes to wear for school. This will teach kids that the outcome of their actions influences their decisions, whether it be a benefit or a downside. Therefore, they can learn to refrain from relying on and blaming other people should things turn sour.

It helps diminish the idea of toxic masculinity

Boys are raised to be tough. They aren't allowed to show emotions, and asking for help is usually frowned upon, thinking that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. This results in suppressed and unresolved issues that further reflect on their actions affecting their mental health and harming others.

Thus, toxic masculinity comes in. Raising young boys using the old-school tough love concept result in bullying, discrimination, domestic violence, and even homophobia, to name a few. In addition, it prohibits one from growing as a person, leading to depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

If you aren't careful, they may carry this behaviour until adulthood and pass it on to their offspring - and the cycle continues. However, it doesn't have to go on that way forever. We can start changing these archaic narratives by normalising boys doing chores and housework.

For example, you can introduce fun crafting and sewing activities using patterns for boys or gender-neutral designs for their toys, bedsheets, clothes, and other room decors. Then, observe how they react to it and entertain any questions they may have. Letting them try hobbies outside their comfort zone can help them get to know themselves better and express their thoughts and feelings healthily.

Moreover, teaching them to sew and patch their worn-out clothes gives them the chance to find solutions to fix things instead of throwing them away and buy a new one. This is also an excellent way to introduce them to the value of money and take care of their possessions.

Of course, you can always ask for your son's help in the kitchen either by measuring spices or washing ingredients. This task teaches them patience and allows them to appreciate the process of making nutritious food. This can also encourage them to eat what you put on the table and practice gratitude. Later in life, they will learn to value relationships, jobs, and money because they know the effort exerted to build them.

It fosters empathy

Letting your son experience various chores enables them to understand the energy, satisfaction, and stress it takes to finish each task. In return, this gives them the ability to empathise and extend their help when necessary. They become more considerate towards their parents, siblings, and later on, their partners and spouse.

So, take time to list down age-appropriate housework for your son and make it part of their routine. Let them observe or join you when washing the dishes, mopping the floor, and weeding the garden. Try to take it lightly by giving them praises, rewards, and room to learn.

Of course, there isn't a perfect formula to successfully raise a child. It is a complex process requiring expert advice, personal experiences, and the openness to try a new method. So, if we want to move away from the gender stereotypes that are harming our children's mental health, an excellent place to start is at home.

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