This diary started as a comment in a thread about banishing sex-role stereotypes, but I decided to flesh it out.
I was raised very pampered, with my mother doing all the cooking, and all of my laundry. My mother made sure I knew the essentials before I went to college, so I can take care of myself, but I never had to.
My wife and I decided that our house was going to run rather differently.
We have two sons, now 12 and 16. They started being required to help with their laundry when they were 6, and were fully responsible for it when they were 9. Of course, they also help out with cleaning.
The most wonderful thing, however, is that they both cook. The 12 year old is still learning, so last night he forgot to drain the grease from the taco meat before adding the spices. No problem. We helped him drain it, and he added more spice and was good to go. If you don't make mistakes, you don't learn. He has already mastered breakfast, so when the whim strikes him, I wake up to fresh waffles in the morning.
On Monday, my older son was responsible for making the Salmon that we had bought over the weekend. Usually we grill salmon, but my son decided he was tired of that, so he went online for a recipe. My wife was surprised when he asked her to stop by the store to pick up asparagus and puff pastry, but she brought them home. The result was a delicious meal.
One moral of this is that sex-role stereotypes that keep boys out of the kitchen are a waste.
Another is that the more you ask of your children, the more you will get.
Finally, one of the incentives we gave our boys for learning how to cook is that it is a skill that will make them babe-magnets when they get older. (The 17 year old's girlfriend was over on Monday, and was quite impressed, so I think he knows we are right.