Living your best life with arthritis.

Parents with arthritis: Put away that guilt and put those kids to work!

Tip for parents with arthritis: Let the kids load the dishwasherFor people with inflammatory forms of arthritis, fatigue, depression, pain, and sometimes disability are all part of the package. Those living with arthritis may need help from family and friends with household chores, and even from their kids. So, for parents with arthritis there may be extra layers of guilt (as if there aren’t enough already) that may come with the disease.

If you are wracked with guilt about having to make your children do more chores than their friends have to, you may be glad to hear that the work is good for them.

Most people like to be part of a community. We all (er, most of us) want to help out and feel needed. When a couple in a household share the duties equally, they each tend to feel respected and appreciated because they both have responsibilities in that relationship. We forget that children, too, like to be active contributors in that teeny-tiniest of communities called a family.

Also, your kids would not develop the skills to be independent, unless you teach them how to wash the dishes, mow the lawn, and fold the laundry. You love ‘em, but how long into their adulthood do you want to be cleaning up after them?

A recent article from a Globe and Mail series titled “Dirty Work”, which was about housework, discusses the ‘helplessness’ of children in many North American homes compared to other parts of the world, for example, Sweden “where children are taught to be fairly self-reliant by age seven and the culture views chores as a family activity that teaches social responsibility — rather than a monetary exchange of allowance.”

So, if you have no choice but to involve your children in the household chores, take heart. You do not need to worry about doing them harm. Rather, you are most likely doing them, and yourself, a favour, in the long run.

Now, without guilt, go ahead and make that child put away the dishes and run a load of laundry!

Have you ever felt guilty about asking your kids for help in your household? Please leave your comments below.