Not long ago, in the hope that our sons might become a little more Matsigenka, my husband and I gave them a new job: unloading the grocery bags from the car. One evening when I came home from the store, it was raining. Carrying two or three bags, the youngest, Aaron, who is thirteen, tried to jump over a puddle. There was a loud crash. After I’d retrieved what food could be salvaged from a Molotov cocktail of broken glass and mango juice, I decided that Aaron needed another, more vigorous lesson in responsibility. Now, in addition to unloading groceries, he would also have the task of taking out the garbage. On one of his first forays, he neglected to close the lid on the pail tightly enough, and it attracted a bear. The next morning, as I was gathering up the used tissues, ant-filled raisin boxes, and slimy Saran Wrap scattered across the yard, I decided that I didn’t have time to let my kids help out around the house. (My husband informed me that I’d just been “kiddie-whipped.”)
Well there's your problem. There is no reason a teenager cannot pick up shards of glass that he himself caused. Other, worse examples are given, like the boy who demanded his father untie shoes for him or the 8-year-old girl who sat down at the table to find no silverware at her place setting and said, “How am I supposed to eat?” Those stories come from a study done by Anthropologist Elinor Ochs and her colleagues at UCLA in which they recorded an entire week of activity in 32 middle-class families in Southern California.
It isn't that the kids were unable to do the tasks or that their parents didn't express a need for help, say the researchers. Rather, the studied children didn't seem to view it as their routine responsibility to contribute, the researchers say.
Read more about this research at the Wall Street Journal. Link -via Metafilter