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From Focus On The Family

Dr. Dobson Q&A

Question: Can you give us a guideline for how much work children should be given to do?

Dr. Dobson: There should be a healthy balance between work and play. Many farm children of the past had daily chores that made life pretty difficult. Early in the morning and again after school they would feed the pigs, gather the eggs, milk the cows, and bring in the wood. Little time was left for fun and childhood became a pretty drab experience. That was an extreme position and I certainly don't favor its return.

Contrast that work-a-day responsibility with some families today that require nothing of children-not even asking them to take out the trash, water the lawn or feed the cat. Both extremes, as usual, are harmful to the child. The logical middle ground can be found by giving a boy or girl an exposure to responsibility and work, but preserving time for play and fun. The amount of time devoted to each activity should vary with the age of the child, gradually requiring more as he or she grows older.

Dr. Dobson is president of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family, PO Box 444, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; or www.family.org or 1-800-A FAMILY. Questions and answers are excerpted from "Solid Answers, "Published by Tynsdale House. Copyright 1999 JAMES DOBSON INC.