Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Loss of My Little Helper

I am mourning tonight the disappearance of my little helper. Once upon a time, my 7-year-old son was incredibly eager to always try to help me. He took great joy in little chores around the house and was always asking permission to do this or that for me. Even when he was 2-years-old he loved to clean and help me around the house or the yard.

But today marks the end of a beautiful and amazing era: my little helper isn’t so little anymore and he has now decided he hates chores. Say it isn’t so! I had mistakenly believed this time would never come. I had always assumed that since cleanliness seemed like second nature to my little boy, I would never have to worry about him. Boy, was I wrong!

This evening turned into a huge battle with my son over a tiny little chore…something he used to volunteer for with excitement. Now he tells me that chores aren’t any fun, and I am mean to make him do any work around our house. His words cut me to the deepest part of my heart. Once I was so proud of his strong work ethic and desire to be helpful. Now, I’m left wondering where I went wrong.

In reality, though, my son’s current state of mind has absolutely nothing to do with my parenting skills or lack thereof. He is now becoming much more independent, so he doesn’t like when he is told what to do anymore. Oh, when he chooses to clean he is still an eager beaver, but as soon as I mention that I want him to do that same chore, his stubbornness knocks all sense out of him. He whines, complains, drags his feet, and finds every way possible to take longer or not do nearly as good of a job. Seeing how much effort he puts into not giving his best effort is simultaneously infuriating and saddening. I know I have my work cut out for me until this phase comes to an end.

Maybe someday my little helper will return—and if he does, I promise to never take him for granted again! Maybe he is gone forever. Either way, I must find a means to show my son again why hard work and wholehearted effort is important in life. Slackers and procrastinators get nowhere in this life, and I want the best for my son. I want to see him flourish and succeed, not doom himself to mediocrity and the bare minimum.

Has your child ever gone through a similar stage? Did your little helper ever return? Did you find a way to show your child that working hard and helping out is a crucial part of life? I’d love to hear about your experience!


  1. I think every parent faces this at some point. Pray for an outside influence to work on your behalf as any nagging or pressure on your part will drive him further away from the joy and make your relationship less than ideal.

    By letting him know you love him no matter his performance, you will be giving him his own independence and a sense of security that doesn't rely on what he does but who he is.

    Being allowed to express our opinions without censure and having the freedom to decide when and how we want to work is an integral part of adulthood and you are (hopefully) aiming toward that as your ultimate goal.

    It is very sad when they enter a phase that seems contrary to what we have always known, but it is part of parenting--the best and worst profession around!

  2. Hi Amanda, I've nominated you for a liebster award. Check out the details here:

    My two year old is in this helper phase. I am so grateful and will cherish it all the more now knowing it may not last forever. :)