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How would children run your family?
Photo: DPA

How would children run your family?

Published: 25 Apr 2012 16:33 GMT+02:00

Jochen and Helga Metzger put their 10- and 13-year-old children in charge of the family for four weeks, coming out the other end having begged for pocket money and gone to work without any lunch.

Although things were tight financially with the kids in charge, and Helga was once banned from watching television for "cheeky behaviour," it seems the Metzgers got off lightly.

Other children suddenly put in charge of their family might send their parents to bed and stay up all night watching vampire films – or blow the shopping budget on a pony.

The weekly walk in the country might be replaced with a mandatory trip to the theme park for scary rides, while teeth-brushing and hair-washing would likely be abandoned.

So did the Metzger children's unusual restraint just reflect their characters, or did the experiment reveal deeper truths about child - and adult - psychology?

What would you fear if the children were put in charge – and what would you secretly want them to do? Have your say below.

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Your comments about this article

17:56 April 25, 2012 by MeinSchwanz
There are many similarities between Children and parts of our society.

Children want food, shelter, and medical services provided to them for free. Children believe their parents (leaders) to be moral, just and wise. Children think that people who won't cooperate or think like them are mean, or just dumb. Children deeply believe in things that don't exist. Children believe that their behavior influences things that don't exist. Children shouldn't play with guns, smoke or drink. Children think their parents have unlimited wealth and power, some wish their Leaders had unlimited wealth and power. Children aren't overly masculine or feminine, some in society don't want gender roles. Children get very upset if their parents are made fun of or intellectually challenged, some get very angry when their leader is ridiculed or challenged.
11:07 April 26, 2012 by Dayzee
The only thing this experiment reflected was that the children knew that once the month was over, the parents would once again have reign so it would be better for them to not make waves as to act out and have to pay for it later.

A better way to see how well a child can cope is to give them a task to continually be in control of each week, throughout the year, and see how well they handle that, like for example: be in control of recycling/garbage duty, make sure the animals are cleaned up for and fed, etc. This way the child can have control and learn responsibility at the same time.
17:11 April 27, 2012 by nedmesis
@Dayzee

Just pay them proper salary. Just 3 Euro a a bag would make most kids do it. Unpayed labour is slavery.
16:45 May 4, 2012 by Dayzee
@nedmesis

Isn't that the whole idea behind getting weekly pocket money/ an allowance? The children do the chores because they want money to buy things they want. It teaches them responsibility of the household chore and the value of the Euro
20:01 May 15, 2012 by Gretl
@nedmesis - unpayed labor is slavery? So housewives are slaves? Or my unpaid labor inside the home (after work) is slavery?

Everyone in my house is required to contribute labor. I do not pay any of my children for their labor as I consider it false to teach them that someone will pay them to maintain their own houses when they grow up. Chores are a necessary evil. We need to wash clothes so that we have clean clothes to wear, we need to take out yellow bag so that our kitchen doesn't smell of old cat food cans and overflow with garbage. What I hope to teach them is laziness. If you do it right the first time, you don't have to do it again and again until you do. A poorly performed chore just means you need MORE PRACTICE! I guess you're glad you didn't grow up in my house.
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