Thursday, May 01, 2014

File under: "Really? Just...Really?"

The article that sparked this blog post

Spain: Children 'must do housework' under draft law

Spanish children may soon be required to help out with housework, under a draft law that has been approved by parliment.

The measure, which would be part of a wider child protection law, says that children under the age of 18 have an obligation to participate in all areas of family life.  That includes "co-responsibility in caring for the home and performing household tasks regardless of age and gender", the ABC newspaper says.  The rules come under a section of the law called "the rights and duties of children".

Along with doing chores, children would also have to be respectful to their parents and teachers, and have a positive attitude towards learning.  But the bill doesn't say anything about penalties for children who refuse to go along, the Local website reports.  Other elements of the bill would see the establishment of a list of people who are banned from working with children, and it would become a crime for people who work with children to fail to report possible abuses against them.

Married Spanish men can also face legal sanctions for refusing to do housework - an update in 2005 to the marriage contract used for the country's civil ceremonies added a clause requiring men to share in household duties, and care for the children of elderly relatives.

Link to article:

I'm going to wait here, so you can have a few seconds to recover from the shock, amazement, confusion, or mirth (take your pick).

(Hums Jeopardy theme...)
Better now?  Good.  Let's discuss this. 

First, I think it's an excellent idea to make your children help you around the house.  Provided you don't think of them as personal slave labor, it's all good.  I believe that teaching children to help with household chores builds character (yes, I am turning into an adult even as I type) and allows a child grow into themselves; into a responsible grown-up.  (I believe that cleaning one's room is vital to success - but that's a whole other issue.)

I think, too, that parents should require their children to be respectful to everyone.  Period.  End of sentence.  Respect requires work, by parents and by other adults that have role-model-type relationships to the children.  To show respect is to teach respect.  So if you, the adult, are disrespectful, so will be the child.

I do not think, however, that there needs to be a law to make this happen.  I believe it's going to backfire pretty quickly if they pass it and they'll have to just go back to the drawing board.  Government (in whatever form) should not parent your child; YOU should.

Secondly, I think that anyone, regardless of whatever laws there may be, who does not report possible or suspected abuse to a child should be punished, too.  You may not be the abuser, but if you even suspect abuse it is your responsibility as an adult and as a human being to report it.  Again, PERIOD.  End of sentence.

Thirdly, and admittedly, I like the idea of establishing a list of people who are banned from working with children.  They, meaning these lists, should be prevalant (to quote Mirriam-Webster: generally or widely accepted, practiced or favored: widespread) and accessible to anyone.  But, though we have sex offender registry and websites that can help the average Joe or Jane find out if a sex offender lives in their area, does that automatically guarantee full compliance?  Or new offenders?  Nope. 

Then there's this other thing - that, to me, seems almost unrelated - of this 2005 update to the marriage contract...requiring men to share in household duties and the care of children and elderly relatives.  Ok, seriously, stop laughing.  (Wait, I have to stop laughing, too.)  They had to make a law or whatever to get men to assist in household duties?  Is there any documentation?  Are there numbers that can support the success of said law?  Yeah - don't bog yourself down in the details here, I realize that nowhere did it say this was a "law" and that it's simply written into the marriage contract but did they really think it was going to help?

I have so very many things I would like to say on the subject of men vs. household chores but I think, in the interest of maintaining my reputation as a clean and (for the most part) family-friendly blogger, I ought to keep my yap shut.  You can draw your own conclusions.  However, feel free to comment to your heart's content - we may be able to open a broader discussion here.


1 comment:

Elizabeth Haren said...

Seriously? I am consistently amazed at the stuff they try to legislate to allow parents to stop parenting... As for men and helping out with housework? I know that there are some that do, but I also believe that some day... if I am really lucky... and am a good girl and eat my broccoli... I might get to see a unicorn.