Parenting: Tips for Success at Home (Responsibility)

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By Dr. Gwen Smith


Life at home can be so much more pleasurable when everyone pulls his or her own weight and you are not feeling stressed out over a continuously messy and disorganized home. From as early as four (even younger) your child can be taught age-appropriate chores. They can pick up their toys when they are done playing with them; they can put their clothes in the appropriate location such as a hamper; they can remove their utensils from the table and place them in the dishwasher; they can sort their clothes, be taught how to load a washing machine and dry their clothes, they can be taught how to hang the clothes up after drying and they can be taught to clean up after themselves.


Years ago when my husband and I got married, we had six children in the household! I tried to play super mom taking care of everything the first couple of weeks, however, I could not last. As a professional and a mom, I was continuously drained each Sunday (our laundry day) with little time to plan and prepare for my week. As far as preparing the meals on that day, I could hardly find time and energy to do that.  It took me just a little while and I knew that things had to change immediately.


I gathered the children together and announced that we were going to have chores for each person; everyone was going to be assigned. They were not thrilled. However, they were allowed to pick their chores according to age and preference. They rotated some weeks. Every single child, except for the youngest ones who were five at the time, did his or her own laundry. We set up a chart to track the chores and the kids were responsible for checking them off. Allowances were paid on the basis of completion so they learned to earn money instead of having it handed to them. If a chore was neglected, another child could pick up that chore and be paid the allowance that was forfeited by their sibling. We did not have trouble finding someone to pick up the slack! They loved getting the extra dollars.


Initially the plan did not work as well because there was no accountability of time, and also, sometimes areas were not cleaned as well as they should. We placed a timeline when the work should get done and a spent some time modeling and training on what was expected for the areas to be acceptable as clean. Eventually the process flowed like a well-oiled machine and everyone made their contribution to their home.


They learned the value of contributing to community, and they also learned to earn as they kept up with the responsibilities they were assigned. And for those who lost income because they neglected their duties, they also learned a valuable lesson: if you don’t work you don’t get paid.


What a fantastic lesson they have all carried successfully into adulthood!

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Liability, Support, And Other Legal Considerations

posted in: ALL BLOGS, Parenting | 0

By Dr. Gwen Smith


As a parent there are many considerations that you have in raising your child, and even some that you may not have considered, or some about which you have no precise knowledge about what to do. There are financial considerations, well-being considerations and in general other issues surrounding the support of your children that will help ameliorate some of the existing needs you and your children have. We recently had a conversation with Geri Chase, Esquire, about what it is that is important for you to consider in legal matters, as you are raising your children. We provide for you a summary of our interview with Geri. For more details please listen to our podcast interview on The Dr. Gwen Show.

First and foremost it is important to maintain adequate liability insurance for your protection against mishaps or trouble caused by your kids. An umbrella policy is an inexpensive way to do this. Umbrella policies can be obtained through your car insurance company and other insurance companies. Shop around for premiums and coverages. The umbrella policy is a policy that goes over and beyond any coverage you already have such as home or car insurances. Maintaining an umbrella liability can save huge headaches in case there is a mishap beyond the coverages already provided by other insurances.

We also spoke with Geri about issues concerning the well-being of your child, in the event that you are no longer around to take care of them. Having a will is an integral part of this solution. Naming a guardian to be responsible for the care and well-being of your child is an event that is never too early to engage in. You can revise this information as often as you’d like. Geri advises against putting your will in a safety deposit box, as that becomes sealed upon your decease. The will needs to be filed in your state at the register of wills, typically at the courthouse.

Personal property information can also be included on a list which should include financial accounts. It is good practice to have a well-trusted personal friend or relative aware of banking and online information as this is often not retrievable if not previously disclosed or recorded. A Payable on Death account can be established with your banking institution which will allow the bank to release funds to your designee upon your death, avoiding unnecessary probate issues. Geri recommends that avoiding probate is not necessarily the best thing. Listen to the recording for further details.

 Finally, in addressing provision for the needs of your children, child support is a viable option if the father is not actively supporting the child. Getting child support through the system is one route in addition to having it court-ordered. The Office of Child Support can support you for a nominal fee to open a case for support and also for enforcement of existing support. Listen to details and for other topics such as custody issues, etc., on The Dr. Gwen Show. 

Please leave us your comments below!

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