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Mom's crusade to teach son, 6, to share household duties goes viral

Posted October 27

MONROE, Mich. — Six-year-old boys aren’t always known for their cooking, cleaning and laundering skills, but one Michigan mother is determined to make sure her son has his household chores mastered before he leaves her house.

Little Lyle Paulun knows his way around the kitchen better than most men 10 times his age, his mother Nikkole told Today. That’s because she’s made it a point to help him understand that household chores aren’t just for girls.

“There are a lot of guys who think chores are just for women, and cleaning is just for women,” Paulun told Today. “Their moms don’t ever teach them to clean or cook. I want to make sure my son isn’t like that.”

The single mother of two recently posted photos of Lyle cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, washing dishes and changing out laundry, along with her thoughts on teaching children to share the responsibility of keeping the household running smoothly.

“Household work isn’t just for women,” Paulun wrote. “One day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry and not eat take out every night… Teaching my son how to do these things and be a productive member of society both outside the home and inside, starts with ME.”

The post seems to have resonated with other like-minded women — it’s garnered more than 155,000 likes and 60,000 shares.

“My son will never be too ‘manly’ to cook or do chores,’” she wrote. “He will be the kind of man who can come inside from changing a tire to check on his pot roast.”

Paulun told Today that while Lyle has mastered the grilled cheese, he’s currently working to conquer the pancake. In addition to his work in the kitchen, the 6-year-old cleans his room, makes his bed and takes out the trash, Paulun said.

“One day when he has kids & a spouse, he's going to need to do his fair share around the home,” she wrote. “Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn’t have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.”

Though the feedback to Paulun’s message has been overwhelmingly positive, some have criticized the mother for forcing her son to do too much. To them, she says, not so.

“It's OK to let your child be a child but still teach them lifelong lessons along the way,” she said.

She’s not alone in her thinking. Child health professionals have long argued chores empower children with valuable skills.

“It does the one thing that parents are striving to do for their children: build confidence and competence,” said Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a child development expert and family physician. “It’s up to us to ignore stereotypes, so every child learns every job needed to make a home run smoothly.”

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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