Why Boys Need Chores – with Victoria Prooday

Chores, Victoria Prooday says, are the most efficient way to build our boys’ emotional muscle.

Prooday, a psychotherapist, occupational therapist and speaker, is convinced that self-regulation is the key to success — and science backs up her assertion. As early as 1998, psychologists were publishing papers and chapters stating that, “Self-regulation has major, important implications for success in life…People who are good at self-regulation show a multitude of advantages over other people, in both task performance and interpersonal relations.”

Meanwhile, our best parenting intentions led us astray. “Even thought we know the the key to success in life is self-regulation, what we offer our children is a lifestyle that promotes the exact opposite,” Prooday says. “They are constantly entertained. There is not a moment of boredom. No responsibilities, no chores.”

The answer, she says, is to “educate our children about what will actually make them successful,” Grades and popularity don’t guarantee success or satisfaction. Instead, our children need to develop the ability to work hard and persist despite challenges and boredom.

Chores can help our children develop self-regulation, but (as you’ve likely already learned), simply telling your child (OK, yelling at your child) “You need to help me around the house!” is not effective. That’s why Prooday explains the why to children.

“Your brain is just like a muscle,” she says. “You train it the same way you train a physical muscle; you train your emotional muscle.” Prooday emphasizes that fact that regular chores — which must be done even though they’re boring and regardless of whether or not one feels like doing them — help the brain develop persistence and the ability to delay gratification.

In this episode, Jen, Janet & Victoria discuss:
  • How good intentions can lead us astray
  • Regulation vs. dysregulation
  • How chores build self-discipline
  • Why parents should talk to children about the effects of technology on the brain
  • Balancing physical activity with screen time during the pandemic
  • The 20-20-20 rule — when using screens, look away every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, to a distance of 20 feet
  • Setting kids up for success
  • How frequent breaks can fuel productivity (& decrease fighting about online school!)
  • The importance of handwriting
  • Benefits of handwritten assignments vs. screen-based assignments
  • Tapping into boys’ desire to contribute to the greater good
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

yourot.com — Victoria’s website

The Silent Tragedy Affecting Today’s Children — Victoria’s 35 million download blog post

Screens and Boys — ON BOYS episode

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