Maria Wells, Guest Author
So, Dad hasn’t been picking up on the subtle hints you’ve been dropping. You are at the peak of frustration and almost ready to explode because of his lack of consideration for household chores. Before you get too frazzled, take a minute to remember that no two people communicate in the exact same ways. Inspiring your partner to take a more active interest in the household may require you to take a different approach.
1. Remind Him That Kids Should Learn from Both Parents – When you have children, they pick up on the behaviors of each adult role model in the house. If Dad doesn’t do chores but mom is constantly cleaning, this teaches them that this is the way things should be. They will mimic the behavior they would rather follow, which will almost certainly include taking the lazy route. Point this out to Dad the next time he says he’s “too busy” to help out when really all he’s doing is watching a bit of TV. If he wants to raise well-balanced kids who know how to do a little hard work, he’d better get off his tushie and pitch in from time to time.
2. Have a Heart-to-Heart Chat – These are difficult to have at times, and they can seem intimidating to the party being confronted, so tread lightly when taking this approach. Don’t make it seem like it’s the end of the world, or that everything is his fault. In fact, don’t place blame anywhere. Instead, simply talk in soothing tones about how much you’d appreciate it if he’d do some housework each week as well.
3. Let Him Know That It’s His House Too – If you want to take a more aggressive approach, remind him it’s his house too and if he were living on his own, he’d have to take care of these things. Encouraging him to take ownership and responsibility for his fair share may be enough to shake him up a bit.
4. Only Clean Up Your Own Mess – Take a break from cleaning the entire house all the time. Instead, only clean up the messes you create. If he cooks dinner, then put your dish in the dishwasher and leave the rest for him to handle. Make sure that you explain to him what you’re doing and why you feel pressed to take such measures so that your behavior is making a point, not being passive aggressive.
5. Go On Strike – To take it one step further and really emphasize your point, go on strike. If all of your pleas for help fall on deaf ears and don’t seem to make a difference, just don’t do any housework for a while. Let it be known that you’re on strike until an agreement is reached, then stick to your guns.
6. Adjust Your Expectations – You might need to bite the bullet and realize you’re aiming a little too high when it comes to the expectations you hold for Dad. You may have to compromise a bit, looking for a balance that both of you can live with to preserve peace in your home.
7. Praise Him When He Does Do Something – Everyone loves a compliment. When you do a task, you don’t necessarily expect praise, but it’s always flattering when it’s given. Making a point of letting your partner know that you do notice his efforts can inspire him to keep helping without being prodded.
8. Make a List and Assign Duties – Sit down and write out a list together. He may not realize just how many duties you’re handling around the house. Even the little things add up, so be sure they are on the list too. Once he realizes how much there is to do, he might be more willing to chip in. Divide the list into who will do what and be sure to stick to it. If you hold up your end without complaint, he should follow suit.
9. Allow Him to Parent His Way – Sometimes the issue is not the household chores, but more of the duties as a father. If you don’t think he’s playing with the kids enough or paying enough attention to your children, it may be because you’re overcrowding him and making him feel like he’s not as competent a parent. Let him do things his own way. Just because he’s parenting differently from you doesn’t mean that he’s doing it wrong; if he’s not actively harming his children and he’s taking an interest in their lives, it may be better to give him a bit of breathing room.
10. Remember That He’s Not a Mind Reader – Maybe you’ve been dropping hints for him to help out, but you’ve never tried to just come out and say it. Chances are, Dad has no idea what’s going on. He doesn’t see the hints that you think are so obvious. If you want something done, state it clearly and concisely. He will probably get the hint then.
11. Do Chores Together – Not many people actually enjoy doing housework, so make the tasks at hand a little more enjoyable by doing them together. Working as a couple or as a family, you can get a lot done in a short amount of time. Whether you’re all in one room completing different tasks or each have your own room to work on, doing it at the same time will feel less like a chore.
12. Simply Ask – Have you tried simply asking? Try this next time: “Honey, could you please do the dishes tonight? I have some other work I need to get done.” If you point out that you’re doing something too, it will be more difficult for him to say, “No.”
13. Incentives – If all else fails, give him an incentive. It can be as simple as cooking his favorite meal for dinner tomorrow, or as big as letting him choose the next vacation spot. Some people need an extra reason to get something done, and you may have to resort to an incentive-based plan to get the help you need.
Copyright © 2013 – Maria Wells, http://www.HouseKeeping.org/.
Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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