Responsibility: The pillar of “forced labor”

Chain Gang Street Sweepers, 1909
Chain Gang Street Sweepers, 1909, via Wikimedia Commons

What are reasonable expectations for an 11-year-old boy? Cleaning up after himself? Maybe doing some chores around the house?

One mother got a reality check when she asked her son to do just that.

From the BBC:

A boy of 11 called a German police emergency line to complain of “forced labour” after his mother told him to help clean the home.

Police say the boy from Aachen, who has not been identified, spoke to an officer via the 110 number.

They say he complained: “I have to work all day long. I haven’t any free time.”

His mother told the officer the boy had kept threatening to call them, having repeatedly complained of having to do housework during the school holidays.

A transcript of the conversation, printed in local newspapers, revealed the officer asking the boy to describe the kind of “forced labour” he was doing.

The boy replied that he had to clean the home and terrace, it said.

Asked if he knew what forced labour was, the boy said he did, and the police officer asked to speak to his mother, who at that stage was standing next to him.

She explained he had called after being asked to pick up paper from the floor, adding: “He plays all day long and when told to tidy up what he’s done, he calls it forced labour.”

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up thinking their messes are for others to clean up. Enforcing responsibilities at an early age gives kids a sense of community and avoids fostering an entitlement mentality.

Check out these parenting resources to learn how to teach your kids to be responsible:

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