helping dad

I want to know how to let my 10 year old son know that he needs to help his dad around the house and not play with his friends. This is real important to his dad. I also want to not worry about him when he is with friends. Please help.

It sounds like you actually have two questions. On the one side, you’re struggling with your 10 year old being willing to spend time helping his dad when he’d rather be playing with his friends. Let’s take that one-first. It’s normal for any child to prefer playing with friends to working with one of his parents. But there needs to be a balance of both.

A couple of things come to mind that might help. For one thing, we as parents need to be sensitive to the fact that the child wants to have adequate time to play with his friends. It helps if we put a time frame on jobs we want him to do so that he knows that when he’s done working with his dad, there will be ample time to play with his friends. Also, it’s great if we can do as much of the chores and jobs in the off time (meaning the time that most of his friends aren’t available to play). We always told the kids to set aside all of Saturday morning and about half of the afternoon for work around the house. If we got done earlier (which we usually did) they could head out and play. Keep in mind too that this is a 10 year old. For this child you might want to limit the duration to a couple of hours of working alongside dad at a time. Then a break to play. And we need to make the time working with dad something to look forward to. We should avoid yelling at him, putting him down, or constantly pointing out his shortcomings. If work is made to be more fun, encouraging, exciting, adventurous, etc., it could get to where he prefers to be with his dad more than his friends.

Your second question has to do with allowing him to play with a variety of different kids and not worry all the time about what he’s doing, hearing, seeing, and learning. The best way to keep your kids from being drawn into a bad influence is to show them what an exciting Christian life looks like as parents. They don’t want to hear our negative lectures about their friends but rather a clear and concise idea of what a great Christian young man looks like. I’m not talking about spouting a bunch of verses and putting the full court press on all of their friends to give their life to Jesus. I’m talking about being a leader, positive, and willing to stick up for the little guy, not letting anyone have fun at another person’s expense, being truly interested in others, etc. Also, we’ve got to assume that our children will make some foolish choices and do some things that will get them in trouble. Just let them face the consequences of their foolish choices, correct them, and move on.

Childhood is very challenging to parents. But the more we make living in our homes a gracious environment for a young child to experience every day life, the more we create a spirit within our child that is inclined to respond properly to our desires and correction.

Blessings on you and your husband as you raise this 10 year old for true greatness.

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