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New Salem - January 25, 2006

Counselor’s Corner

© 2006 By
Dr. Gaylynn Becker
National Certified Career Counselor
New Salem & Hebron High Schools

Job Descriptions For Children & Parents

At times I make a comment to students or parents that a particular act or duty is part of either a child's job description or a part of a parent's job description. Sometimes I say it in a kidding manner and sometimes I am very serious. At the risk of receiving some disagreement on this topic, I am writing this article about both a child's job description and a parent's job description. I do not mean for these job descriptions to be for every family. However if a family attempts to develop job descriptions, all members involved should mutually agree to these descriptions. If the job description needs to be changed, call another family meeting. Oh before having a family meeting, be sure to develop some basic ground rules to help insure a productive meeting.

When Karl (our son) was in first grade we drew up a job description for Karl. We made a list of things that my wife and I thought should be included. We then had a family meeting and discussed it with Karl. He provided us with some feedback and we came to an agreement as to what should be in his job description. Each of us got a copy to keep and refer to. We updated this a few times with Karl throughout the years. Below is a copy of one of those versions from when Karl was in middle school.

Karl's Job Description

1. Respect yourself
2. Respect Mom and Dad
3. Do your best in school: schoolwork, listen to the teacher
4. Practice keyboards
5. Take good care of your belongings
6. Make your bed
7. Keep your room straightened out
8. Keep your things orderly in the family room
9. Prepare dinner the first and third Thursdays of each month
10. Vacuum the steps - weekly
11. Keep your clothes in their place
12. Place your dirty clothes in the proper place
13. It is okay to make a mistake as long as we learn from it
14. Mom and Dad want you to feel that you can always come and talk to us about anything and we will listen
15. Say your prayers before you eat and at bedtime
16. Remember “Mom and Dad love you no matter what you do. Sometimes we may not like something that you did, however, we will always love you.”

Shortly after Karl's first job description I was thinking, “If my son has a job description perhaps we as parents should have one as well.” So, I sat at the computer and typed up a job description for parents. We had a family meeting to discuss the job description and then made appropriate revisions. Here is the job description that we came up with.

Parent's Job Description

1. Respect ourselves
2. Respect Karl
3. Take time to play or be with Karl
4. Work in a career so we can afford to buy things that we need and want
5. Help Karl with any problems that he may have
6. Listen to Karl
7. Provide food, clothing, house, love
8. Tuck you into bed every night
9. Tell you that we love you every day
10. We love you because you are our son
11. If you do something we do not like, it is what you did that we do not like. We love you no matter what you do.

The above job descriptions are not meant to be what every parent or child should have. I would prefer that for families that would like to explore job descriptions to use these as a starting place in developing their own. If I would have had a job description when I was growing up on a dairy, cattle, and grain farm in the 1950's, '60's, and the early '70's, my family would have had some of the above items but there would have been some additional ones as well.

Job descriptions helped our family to have a better understanding of what was expected of each other. It was nice having it in writing. It was also a good topic to discuss during one of our many family meetings. I hope this article precipitates some healthy discussion in your family too.

For more information on financial aid, career information and links, please see my Career Planning website at If you have any questions on career, counseling, or assessment topics, please contact me at New Salem High School at 843-7610, at Hebron High School at 878-4442, or at my residence at 222-3222.

Have an excellent academic day!