Author Topic: Kids and Free Labor  (Read 16428 times)

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oogyda

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #105 on: September 27, 2013, 07:42:50 PM »
I see Tween's work as more of the "hand me that screwdriver" or "fetch the tape measure and sweep that crap off the floor" and the story wasn't told completely truthfully to either the parents or the OP.

This is coloring my attitude and where I am coming from as well.  Personally, I have met a few Tweens who were not Drama Tweens, but they are few and far-between.

Actually, I'd rather be tearing down drywall than standing around for 8 hours, waiting to hand someone a screwdriver when asked. Could there be anything more perfect for driving you mad with boredom?

Tearing down drywall is a lot more likely than putting it up.  The only contribution a tween could offer would be unskilled labor-  probably mostly helping paint (quickly learned, mistakes easily fixed).  And they would be good at doing demo.  I can't see a tween not wanting to take a sledge hammer to things.

But, anything else would be a matter of learning and just helping out.

I think that its an ideal opportunity honestly.  The skills that this kid could learn would be very valuable down the line not only in getting a summer job when he's old enough but not having to hire a handyman to do household tasks.

Add in seeing up close the whole concept of buying something, adding value and selling it for more and he's got some pretty powerful life skills.

Audrey, this is what I was thinking. 
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JoieGirl7

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #106 on: September 27, 2013, 07:44:13 PM »
I think that its an ideal opportunity honestly.  The skills that this kid could learn would be very valuable down the line not only in getting a summer job when he's old enough but not having to hire a handyman to do household tasks.

Or he could decide he hated it so much he will never pick up another tool in his life and then either always hire someone or let it fall apart if he can't afford it.

That he chooses to waste a valuable opportunity does not negate the fact that it has value.  Most kids hate going to school, but I rarely see that being used as a reason not to go.

Deciding that one dislikes a task enough to pay others to do it is not "wast[ing] a valuable opportunity." That's very judgmental. Also, not every experience of performing a new task is a "valuable opportunity." Many can be, but if the experience is unpleasant enough to turn someone off from an activity they would otherwise have enjoyed, I'd say it's quite the opposite.

For example:
When I had my first car, my older brother offered to walk me through changing the oil. Although I appreciated the offer, I found changing my own oil to be a miserable experience and decided I'd much rather pay for an oil change in the future. As it happened, when the next oil change rolled around, my very kind brother offered to change my oil along with his own, since he didn't mind the task. Afterwards, he said he hated changing the oil on my car due to its design (things he hadn't realized while walking me through the process), and he completely understood my decision to have professional oil changes. In the future when I have a different car, I'll probably try again. But that experience was valuable for only two reasons: A) because I enjoyed spending the time with my brother, who loved teaching his baby sister about cars, and B) it taught me that changing the oil on that car wasn't remotely worth my time and discomfort. Fortunately for me, my brother realized that it was my car that was the main problem--otherwise, it would probably have turned me off from ever doing my own oil changes again.

The child in the OP apparently didn't enjoy the time spent working with the grandparents, so if the experience does turn him off from future DIY work, I don't really see how it was particularly valuable. And if the experience was so unpleasant that he's willing to pay to avoid ever doing it again, then I don't see how that implies any fault with the child.

I think feel like you are missing my point.

This is not about how he feels.  This is about learning skills that have value.  The skills do not lose their value because he doesn't like doing them.  He could just easily find that he loves doing them.  It doesn't matter.  It's still a worthwhile thing to know/be able to do.

He may not like painting houses, but he may find that it pays much better than working at fast food restaurant.  So, even though he doesn't like it, he will do it for the money on the way to something better.

It's a skill that has value to other people that you can be paid for.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 07:53:45 PM by Audrey Quest »

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #107 on: September 27, 2013, 08:03:17 PM »


Promise wrote:

"Even my sons' teen friends, when they came over, helped out with things if I needed an extra set of hands. No one ever stopped coming over because they were put to work."

Did you ever ask one of them to build you a shed or paint your house?  The OP is talking about a full time job here.


My cousin and I built a chicken coop during a weekend visit to an uncle. She didn't get paid but I got a pair of Rhode Island Red hens.

Weirdest Job asked to do by family: change my grandfather's catheter. I was 16 and had learned to care for them at 14 from a home health nurse for my stepdad. I didn't think how strange a request it was until days later.

I believe if a teen/child works an adult's job and saves a person the wages hiring someone would bring, they ought to be paid. In cash, privilege, fun experiences or hens.

Twik

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #108 on: September 27, 2013, 08:06:32 PM »

It's a skill that has value to other people that you can be paid for.
Well, he actually learned that it's a skill that he won't be paid for.

If a child is given responsibilities, I think they should be given certain rights as well, such as being given an appropriate reward for efforts towards a shared goal.
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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #109 on: September 27, 2013, 08:14:16 PM »
Helping in normal daily activities, even if those daily activities to include some hard labor = acceptable to me, as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities - homework, boy scout/tae kwon do activities, etc..

Having an activity scheduled to take advantage of the fact that a kid is there to provide free labor = not so much, especially if the activity takes more than say, 25% of the time the kid is visiting.  So I don't mind a case of 'ooh, look, we've got an extra hand, let's spend a few minutes seeing if we can't move that couch' instances, but 'hey, look, we've got an extra hand, let's remodel the living room' is a different story.

I guess my view comes down to 'kids are people too, and deserve respect' viewpoint.  If you'd be uncomfortable asking a visiting adult to pitch in, it's wrong to expect a visiting child to do the tasks.  I used to hate going to family gatherings because I'd be expected to watch all the other kids, and this seems on the surface to just be a variation of that.  I think the kid should have been asked, and there should have been a reward attached to saying 'yes', even if that reward is nothing more than 'getting to visit in the first place'.

This is where I come down on it. I see a big difference between helping out and an unpaid 40-hour work week.

My brother and I helped around the house because we were expected to, but when it came to heavy work like shoveling the driveway or stacking our winter wood, we got paid, because my parents felt it was unreasonable to treat us like free labor. 
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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #110 on: September 27, 2013, 08:17:47 PM »
When I was a kid I was tasked with painting my own room. When I grew up and bought a home, I painted some of the smaller rooms, but I felt perfectly comfortable paying for others t be painted, because I knew exactly what I was paying for - not so much the painting, but the luxury of not having to paint myself.
I also learned basic electrical circuiting (in 4th grade science) and had the skill re-enforced over my youth by my electrician grandfather. when tasked with updating light switches, light fixtures and electrical outlets, I'm perfectly capable and happy to do it myself.

Having skills is power. Its the power that I can do it myself, but not the obligation I have to do it myself. Its the power of an informed decision as to whether do it or pay for it.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #111 on: September 27, 2013, 08:24:36 PM »
[trimmed quote tree]
That he chooses to waste a valuable opportunity does not negate the fact that it has value.  Most kids hate going to school, but I rarely see that being used as a reason not to go.

Deciding that one dislikes a task enough to pay others to do it is not "wast[ing] a valuable opportunity." That's very judgmental. Also, not every experience of performing a new task is a "valuable opportunity." Many can be, but if the experience is unpleasant enough to turn someone off from an activity they would otherwise have enjoyed, I'd say it's quite the opposite.

For example:
When I had my first car, my older brother offered to walk me through changing the oil. Although I appreciated the offer, I found changing my own oil to be a miserable experience and decided I'd much rather pay for an oil change in the future. As it happened, when the next oil change rolled around, my very kind brother offered to change my oil along with his own, since he didn't mind the task. Afterwards, he said he hated changing the oil on my car due to its design (things he hadn't realized while walking me through the process), and he completely understood my decision to have professional oil changes. In the future when I have a different car, I'll probably try again. But that experience was valuable for only two reasons: A) because I enjoyed spending the time with my brother, who loved teaching his baby sister about cars, and B) it taught me that changing the oil on that car wasn't remotely worth my time and discomfort. Fortunately for me, my brother realized that it was my car that was the main problem--otherwise, it would probably have turned me off from ever doing my own oil changes again.

The child in the OP apparently didn't enjoy the time spent working with the grandparents, so if the experience does turn him off from future DIY work, I don't really see how it was particularly valuable. And if the experience was so unpleasant that he's willing to pay to avoid ever doing it again, then I don't see how that implies any fault with the child.

I think you are missing my point.

This is not about how he feels.  This is about learning skills that have value.  The skills do not lose their value because he doesn't like doing them.  He could just easily find that he loves doing them.  It doesn't matter.  It's still a worthwhile thing to know/be able to do.

He may not like painting houses, but he may find that it pays much better than working at fast food restaurant.  So, even though he doesn't like it, he will do it for the money on the way to something better.

It's a skill that has value to other people that you can be paid for.

And I think you have missed my point that choosing not to use a skill does not mean one is "wasting" anything. Your post strongly implied that this child would be wrong and wasteful if he chose not to employ his new "skills" in the future. People make choices all the time about what they will do themselves and what they are willing to pay to avoid doing. If they didn't, those skills wouldn't have monetary value.

I also disagree that we have enough information to know that this child was learning valuable skills in a way that will be beneficial to him later. That is one possibility. It's also possible that he either didn't learn valuable skills (e.g., was used for unskilled, manual labor only, or was taught incorrect/subpar techniques) or that the circumstances of learning will discourage him from using skills he might have enjoyed without those associations.

JoieGirl7

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #112 on: September 27, 2013, 09:53:04 PM »
[trimmed quote tree]
That he chooses to waste a valuable opportunity does not negate the fact that it has value.  Most kids hate going to school, but I rarely see that being used as a reason not to go.

Deciding that one dislikes a task enough to pay others to do it is not "wast[ing] a valuable opportunity." That's very judgmental. Also, not every experience of performing a new task is a "valuable opportunity." Many can be, but if the experience is unpleasant enough to turn someone off from an activity they would otherwise have enjoyed, I'd say it's quite the opposite.

For example:
When I had my first car, my older brother offered to walk me through changing the oil. Although I appreciated the offer, I found changing my own oil to be a miserable experience and decided I'd much rather pay for an oil change in the future. As it happened, when the next oil change rolled around, my very kind brother offered to change my oil along with his own, since he didn't mind the task. Afterwards, he said he hated changing the oil on my car due to its design (things he hadn't realized while walking me through the process), and he completely understood my decision to have professional oil changes. In the future when I have a different car, I'll probably try again. But that experience was valuable for only two reasons: A) because I enjoyed spending the time with my brother, who loved teaching his baby sister about cars, and B) it taught me that changing the oil on that car wasn't remotely worth my time and discomfort. Fortunately for me, my brother realized that it was my car that was the main problem--otherwise, it would probably have turned me off from ever doing my own oil changes again.

The child in the OP apparently didn't enjoy the time spent working with the grandparents, so if the experience does turn him off from future DIY work, I don't really see how it was particularly valuable. And if the experience was so unpleasant that he's willing to pay to avoid ever doing it again, then I don't see how that implies any fault with the child.

I think you are missing my point.

This is not about how he feels.  This is about learning skills that have value.  The skills do not lose their value because he doesn't like doing them.  He could just easily find that he loves doing them.  It doesn't matter.  It's still a worthwhile thing to know/be able to do.

He may not like painting houses, but he may find that it pays much better than working at fast food restaurant.  So, even though he doesn't like it, he will do it for the money on the way to something better.

It's a skill that has value to other people that you can be paid for.

And I think you have missed my point that choosing not to use a skill does not mean one is "wasting" anything. Your post strongly implied that this child would be wrong and wasteful if he chose not to employ his new "skills" in the future. People make choices all the time about what they will do themselves and what they are willing to pay to avoid doing. If they didn't, those skills wouldn't have monetary value.

I also disagree that we have enough information to know that this child was learning valuable skills in a way that will be beneficial to him later. That is one possibility. It's also possible that he either didn't learn valuable skills (e.g., was used for unskilled, manual labor only, or was taught incorrect/subpar techniques) or that the circumstances of learning will discourage him from using skills he might have enjoyed without those associations.

You are reading things into my posts that are not there.

This is what I wrote:
"That he chooses to waste a valuable opportunity does not negate the fact that it has value. "

The opportunity is being able to  learn new skills.  Nowhere did I imply that the kid is wrong if he doesn't use these skills throughout his lifetime.  I didn't even imply that he was wrong in wasting it, just that him doing so does not change the nature of the opportunity.

I think we do know that in this situation that his father, who grew up with this experience is allowing his son to continue to have it.  I think he knows what is good for his own son.  I am not willing to go down the rabbit hole of supposing that he is anything other than a caring and competent parent.





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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #113 on: September 27, 2013, 09:56:17 PM »
So how about church missions where kids are put to work doing all manner of things in third world countries? 

TootsNYC

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #114 on: September 27, 2013, 09:58:51 PM »

The child in the OP apparently didn't enjoy the time spent working with the grandparents, so if the experience does turn him off from future DIY work, I don't really see how it was particularly valuable. And if the experience was so unpleasant that he's willing to pay to avoid ever doing it again, then I don't see how that implies any fault with the child.

Well, now he knows what he likes--or doesn't like!

He can be sure to not buy a fixer-upper when he purchases his first house.

sweetonsno

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #115 on: September 28, 2013, 12:56:54 AM »
So how about church missions where kids are put to work doing all manner of things in third world countries?

IME, the kids who go on church missions volunteer for them and in many cases are keen enough on participating that they fundraise or otherwise make money to pay for their tickets. They know what they're getting into well before they arrive. It sounds like this was sort of sprung on the kid.

Iris

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #116 on: September 28, 2013, 02:02:16 AM »
Helping in normal daily activities, even if those daily activities to include some hard labor = acceptable to me, as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities - homework, boy scout/tae kwon do activities, etc..

Having an activity scheduled to take advantage of the fact that a kid is there to provide free labor = not so much, especially if the activity takes more than say, 25% of the time the kid is visiting.  So I don't mind a case of 'ooh, look, we've got an extra hand, let's spend a few minutes seeing if we can't move that couch' instances, but 'hey, look, we've got an extra hand, let's remodel the living room' is a different story.

I guess my view comes down to 'kids are people too, and deserve respect' viewpoint.  If you'd be uncomfortable asking a visiting adult to pitch in, it's wrong to expect a visiting child to do the tasks.  I used to hate going to family gatherings because I'd be expected to watch all the other kids, and this seems on the surface to just be a variation of that.  I think the kid should have been asked, and there should have been a reward attached to saying 'yes', even if that reward is nothing more than 'getting to visit in the first place'.

This is where I come down on it. I see a big difference between helping out and an unpaid 40-hour work week.

My brother and I helped around the house because we were expected to, but when it came to heavy work like shoveling the driveway or stacking our winter wood, we got paid, because my parents felt it was unreasonable to treat us like free labor.

See, whereas I would maybe class these jobs as valid things for a child to be asked to do because they benefit the whole family and are jobs that need to be done (I don't know for sure, I've never done either). I do pay my kids for some jobs, but it tends to be jobs that I would LIKE done, but aren't essential. So for me it's more weeding the garden that gets paid - I like having a weed free garden but the kids couldn't care less and don't benefit from it, hence to me = paid job.

It's interesting I think to see so many varieties of paid/non-paid jobs.
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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #117 on: September 28, 2013, 08:02:55 AM »
Helping in normal daily activities, even if those daily activities to include some hard labor = acceptable to me, as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities - homework, boy scout/tae kwon do activities, etc..

Having an activity scheduled to take advantage of the fact that a kid is there to provide free labor = not so much, especially if the activity takes more than say, 25% of the time the kid is visiting.  So I don't mind a case of 'ooh, look, we've got an extra hand, let's spend a few minutes seeing if we can't move that couch' instances, but 'hey, look, we've got an extra hand, let's remodel the living room' is a different story.

I guess my view comes down to 'kids are people too, and deserve respect' viewpoint.  If you'd be uncomfortable asking a visiting adult to pitch in, it's wrong to expect a visiting child to do the tasks.  I used to hate going to family gatherings because I'd be expected to watch all the other kids, and this seems on the surface to just be a variation of that.  I think the kid should have been asked, and there should have been a reward attached to saying 'yes', even if that reward is nothing more than 'getting to visit in the first place'.

This is where I come down on it. I see a big difference between helping out and an unpaid 40-hour work week.

My brother and I helped around the house because we were expected to, but when it came to heavy work like shoveling the driveway or stacking our winter wood, we got paid, because my parents felt it was unreasonable to treat us like free labor.

See, whereas I would maybe class these jobs as valid things for a child to be asked to do because they benefit the whole family and are jobs that need to be done (I don't know for sure, I've never done either). I do pay my kids for some jobs, but it tends to be jobs that I would LIKE done, but aren't essential. So for me it's more weeding the garden that gets paid - I like having a weed free garden but the kids couldn't care less and don't benefit from it, hence to me = paid job.

It's interesting I think to see so many varieties of paid/non-paid jobs.

For us, it was partly that there wasn't anywhere else for us to earn money- we lived in a somewhat rural area and everyone else had kids so we couldn't hire out to do stuff for neighbors or get part-time jobs somewhere. The other part is, wood-stacking/house painting/snow shoveling were all hard, dirty, long jobs. Necessary, yes, but they weren't a 20 minute task- we're talking about hours (long driveway after a big snowfall, the wood for the whole winter, etc.)
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Iris

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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #118 on: September 28, 2013, 06:19:58 PM »
Helping in normal daily activities, even if those daily activities to include some hard labor = acceptable to me, as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities - homework, boy scout/tae kwon do activities, etc..

Having an activity scheduled to take advantage of the fact that a kid is there to provide free labor = not so much, especially if the activity takes more than say, 25% of the time the kid is visiting.  So I don't mind a case of 'ooh, look, we've got an extra hand, let's spend a few minutes seeing if we can't move that couch' instances, but 'hey, look, we've got an extra hand, let's remodel the living room' is a different story.

I guess my view comes down to 'kids are people too, and deserve respect' viewpoint.  If you'd be uncomfortable asking a visiting adult to pitch in, it's wrong to expect a visiting child to do the tasks.  I used to hate going to family gatherings because I'd be expected to watch all the other kids, and this seems on the surface to just be a variation of that.  I think the kid should have been asked, and there should have been a reward attached to saying 'yes', even if that reward is nothing more than 'getting to visit in the first place'.

This is where I come down on it. I see a big difference between helping out and an unpaid 40-hour work week.

My brother and I helped around the house because we were expected to, but when it came to heavy work like shoveling the driveway or stacking our winter wood, we got paid, because my parents felt it was unreasonable to treat us like free labor.

See, whereas I would maybe class these jobs as valid things for a child to be asked to do because they benefit the whole family and are jobs that need to be done (I don't know for sure, I've never done either). I do pay my kids for some jobs, but it tends to be jobs that I would LIKE done, but aren't essential. So for me it's more weeding the garden that gets paid - I like having a weed free garden but the kids couldn't care less and don't benefit from it, hence to me = paid job.

It's interesting I think to see so many varieties of paid/non-paid jobs.

For us, it was partly that there wasn't anywhere else for us to earn money- we lived in a somewhat rural area and everyone else had kids so we couldn't hire out to do stuff for neighbors or get part-time jobs somewhere. The other part is, wood-stacking/house painting/snow shoveling were all hard, dirty, long jobs. Necessary, yes, but they weren't a 20 minute task- we're talking about hours (long driveway after a big snowfall, the wood for the whole winter, etc.)

What a good way to teach you the value of hard work!
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Re: Kids and Free Labor
« Reply #119 on: September 29, 2013, 04:16:53 AM »
Helping in normal daily activities, even if those daily activities to include some hard labor = acceptable to me, as long as it doesn't interfere with other responsibilities - homework, boy scout/tae kwon do activities, etc..

Having an activity scheduled to take advantage of the fact that a kid is there to provide free labor = not so much, especially if the activity takes more than say, 25% of the time the kid is visiting.  So I don't mind a case of 'ooh, look, we've got an extra hand, let's spend a few minutes seeing if we can't move that couch' instances, but 'hey, look, we've got an extra hand, let's remodel the living room' is a different story.

I guess my view comes down to 'kids are people too, and deserve respect' viewpoint.  If you'd be uncomfortable asking a visiting adult to pitch in, it's wrong to expect a visiting child to do the tasks.  I used to hate going to family gatherings because I'd be expected to watch all the other kids, and this seems on the surface to just be a variation of that.  I think the kid should have been asked, and there should have been a reward attached to saying 'yes', even if that reward is nothing more than 'getting to visit in the first place'.

This is where I come down on it. I see a big difference between helping out and an unpaid 40-hour work week.


I completely agree. 40 hours a week manual labour for a 12 year old? Seems pretty harsh to me. I wonder how many people would think this was ok if it was an adult, rather than a tween?

Here's an interesting etiquette question. What if the boy had politely refused to work on the house renovations? What if he had said "No thanks Grandma and Grandpa. I'd rather sit quietly and read my book. I am happy to do normal household chores and yard work though."

Or even if - after a few weeks - he'd politely said "Grandma and Grandpa, I've worked 40 hours these past few weeks. This is my summer vacation and I just want to have some time off."