Parents send their kids to work for their relatives in the country so they can learn responsibility, do work, and learn some discipline instead of sitting around all day. Also, maybe because the kid is the only one fit enough to work to get more money.
This trope is common in Coming of Age
stories. In the first week, they will usually try to get out of doing it or complain that there isn't any TV, games, or any other entertainment they are used to. But they are eventually forced to work anyway. They tend to make a lot of mistakes at first. But, when they go through a Hard Work Montage
, they get the hang of it and receive Character Development
The kids are usually sent to work on the relative's farm, ranch or some other business. The child is usually a City Mouse
if the story is set in the country and may complain or try to get around going to the relative's place.
In other stories, a Country Mouse
kid might have to be sent to the city so that they can have some education in a school there. They are sent there so they can work for the relative, and won't be a burden, when the rest of the family can't work or get enough money to support themselves. The child in this story tends not to have as many problems as the City Mouse
. They also might actually look forward to being in the city. Although, sometimes the Country Mouse
will be just as lazy and uncooperative as the typical City Mouse
This is Truth in Television
, as sometimes parents want the children to get work experience or earn money for the family since they are unable to.
Anime & Manga
- Suzuka: Yamato is sent to his aunt's girl's only dormitory where his duties involve cleaning the baths. His parent's sure weren't trying to punish him by sending him to work there.
- Birdy the Mighty: After everyone in her family/household is dead, to causes both related and unrelated to the plot, Sayaka is sent to work on a farm with relatives.
- Hanasaku Iroha: Ohana's mother runs away with her boyfriend and sends Ohana to live with her grandmother who owns a ryokan. And then the grandmother forces Ohana to work there. At first it seems somewhat cruel, but grandma's point actually was to not make Ohana privileged over other people who work there.
- In the 2006 film The Ultimate Gift, one of Jason's first "gifts" is the gift of hard work. He is sent to a ranch in the middle of nowhere, to work for a close friend of his grandfather's, until he understands the value of hard work.
- In the backstory to the Earth's Children series, as a teen Jondolar got sent to his divorced dad's new settlement to learn a trade after he got in trouble for beating up another character so bad it knocked his teeth out.
- Discworld: This is standard practice for dwarfs, who are sent to their already-established relatives in (usually) Anhk-Morpork, learning a trade and sending money home. Others stay in the mines, but there's little connotation of punishment. Carrot Ironfoundersson was sent to join the Watch as he was a human raised by dwarfs.
- Chronicles of Prydain:
- Taran works Craddoc's farm thinking mistakenly that Craddoc is his real father.
- Eilonwy is sent to the Isle of Mona to learn to be a lady, "working" at being a princess for several years.
- In the Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms, this is the fate the protagonists are trying to avoid by putting on a show.
- Benjamin Franklin was apprenticed to his half-brother, a printer. That's why he ran off to Philadelphia from his native Boston.