Don’t go on strike – just get those lessons in early

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The Canadian mum who became an internet sensation after going on strike deserves some credit for what she’s achieved in the past week.

By downing tools and leaving her children to fend for themselves, she certainly highlighted the plight of parents all over the world.

Without telling her kids what she was up to, Jessica Stilwell simply stopped cleaning up after her brood. She’d become so fed-up with their lazy and messy ways that she decided to see what would happen if she left them to it.

And as anyone who has ever met a child can imagine, the end result wasn’t pretty.

By nature, kids are egocentric. They’re just not programmed to think about the impact their grubby habits will have on anyone but themselves.

If you’re not careful, they’ll happily romp through your home dripping liquids onto the carpet. You’ll swear their stuff has magic powers due to the way it can spread through each and every room when no-one’s looking.

You might have spent hours choosing those soft furnishings but children are immune to the fact that delicate fabric and chocolate shouldn’t meet unless you bother to drum it into them.

Perversely, they appear to need no training whatsoever to produce an Oscar-worthy temper tantrum if you accidentally spill a cup of coffee on one of their hi-tech bits of kit.

And the fact they value their stuff more than yours is the key to why Mrs Stilwell’s experiment was actually a bit misguided. To be frank, it’s her fault her children treat their home like a pigsty.

Why did she ever assume that her children – twins aged 12 and a 10-year-old daughter – would want to clean up after themselves? When mummy’s always done it, there’s no incentive to get your hands dirty.

The kindest thing you can do for your offspring is take a tough love approach to housework from a very early age – and I say that as someone who no longer cleans, but who regularly had her hand down a U-bend from the age of 11.

Parents don’t need to go on strike to teach their beloved children a lesson.

They just need to teach them the right lessons from an early age.