Change Your Language and Change Your Mindset

by | Jan 30, 2020

Week 5: Ideas to change your language and mindset

Clean up your language (and change your mindset) around household responsibilities.

  • Instead of “have to,” use “get to”
  • Instead of “chore,” use “responsibility”
  • Instead of “clean up this mess,” use “reset this space for a new adventure”

The words we use are infused with meaning whether we realize it or not. When we talk about laundry, tidying, dishes, etc. with language otherwise used for unbearably awful things, it gives them undue power over our mindset. Having a home IS a privilege. The ability to maintain it IS a gift.


The idea in this challenge is to practice shifting your attitude and that of your whole family around something many parents use as a punishment (more chores). They’re also often used as a means to earning money (chores for allowance) or, if nothing else, a common topic for complaining (my house is always a mess, and it stresses me out!).

Have you ever thought about the fact that there’s a value judgment made every time you use “chores” as a punishment?

You’re reinforcing a negative attitude toward basic respect and maintenance. Using household duties for money says taking care of the family home isn’t implicitly part of all our jobs as members of the family team.

If there are always toys and clothes everywhere, do you really need all that stuff? Again, it’s a value judgment you and your partner get to make within your particular family. Don’t forget, though, that you’re setting a precedent for the rest of their lives. (No pressure!)

When you “have to” put your stuff away, it implies a roadblock to something you’d rather be doing. When you “get to” do it, it becomes a privilege.

When you have “chores” to do, it’s an unwelcome weight and another barrier. When you have a “responsibility” to your family, you have something you can take pride in.

Doesn’t setting up for a new adventure sound way more appealing than cleaning up your mess?

You don’t have to pretend that you love everything. But saying that even though you don’t enjoy scrubbing the dishes, you are grateful to have food on the table and a family who helps dry and put things away (hint, hint) does a lot more good for our mental health than just being angry that there’s more to clean.

All of these techniques are establishing a pattern of behavior that will continue on through the rest of their lives.

More from the Family Bonding Challenge

Somer Loomis

Somer is the Chief Content Officer at Raising Families living in Southern California with her husband and four-year-old son. She spent 10 years in the architecture field as a designer and medical planner and now applies her love of integrative thinking and big-picture planning to her family and career. Read full bio >>

Let's stay in touch!

While we're putting the finishing touches on our membership program for Spring 2021, sign up for our mailing list to receive a weekly roundup of our family bonding challenges, new blog posts, newsletter, and member-exclusive freebies and discounts right in your inbox!