STOP DOING THAT FOR YOUR KIDS: I wrote this a few years ago, but I was reading it today and wanted to share it again. It is always a good reminder. ENJOY…
No matter how many children we have: one or ten, we need to know when we are doing too much for them. We need to empower our kids to be independent when they can be, so they will grow up to be responsible adults.
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Yes, I do things for them.♥ I’m happy to, in fact. I get their shoes when they are running late, I make their breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks every day. I do things just because I love them and I want them to know that. I want them to know that I am their mom and for that reason alone, I will always be there to help them and do kind things for them. However… I also want them to know how to be responsible for themselves.
It is a fine line and it is a HARD line to walk. When do you do it for them and when do you stop doing that for your kids?
A few weeks ago, our son had some friends over… less than a handful of his closest friends. We went out to eat and then we came back home and had their snack at our house (it was a little birthday gift for our son). That night, my eyes were opened. The kids ate dinner and had a ball! They came home and ate their snack like they had never eaten dinner (haha!)
Then it happened.
You see, one of his friends that came that night comes from a different background than our kids. He comes from a house with MANY children and a single mom raising them all on her own. This friend doesn’t have all of the luxuries that our kids are used to.
His mom worked many jobs and when she is home, she is taking care of more than ten children on her own. She doesn’t have the time to cater to their every need, honestly. She isn’t able to clean up after them or fold all of their clothes. She isn’t able to give him everything that he asks for (monetary & attention), because she is providing for many other children and working several jobs when she is not at home.
Something happened that made me open my eyes.
I said “Hey, guys, when you are done with your snacks, just leave your plates on the table and I’ll get it. You can go play before you have to go home.” Now, I have taught our kids to clean up after themselves, but if they forget, I remind them.
If they forget, I even (shhh….) clean up after them, at times. If they forget, I help. So, back to the story… I had just finished giving these directions, about leaving their plates on the table, when five kids (including my own children) finished eating, got up and ran back outside. They happily left their plates, forks, cups, and napkins for me to clean up.
Don’t get me wrong- I love these kids because they are all very sweet. They are kind, considerate kids and they were doing what I asked. They all did this, except one… The one little boy that I mentioned earlier. He brought his plate over to the sink and he said to me “Miss Becky? Ma’am? I am used to washing my own things.”
He then walked over to the sink to wash his plate. I stopped him and took over, but in that moment I thought about my own kids and I realized…
I told myself…
When you take over for our kids, because they are young and it is EASIER…
you are doing more harm than good.
When you clean up their rooms for them because they are young and it is EASIER… you are doing more harm than good.
When you let their manners slip this one time, because they are young and it is EASIER… you are doing more harm than good.
When you make their beds for them, because they are young and it is EASIER… you are doing more harm than good.
When you let them get away with “Just ok” work, instead of what we know they are capable of, because they are young and it is EASIER… you are doing more harm than good.
Think about the future:
- Do we want them to rely on their college roommates to wash their plates?
- Do we want our sons to become husbands that rely on their wives to clean for them?
- Do we want them to lose their jobs because they are used to someone helping them all of the time, reminding them of their responsibilities, following behind them to tell them what to do next?
- What happens when our children, that didn’t do their best on homework when they were young, become adults that don’t do their best work for their jobs?
We teach our children to do chores. They unload the dishwasher every day. They clear their plates after dinner and put them in the dishwasher. They make their beds (well, some of our kids do) in the morning, normally after I have reminded them. They put away their clothes, after I wash them, fold them and take them to their rooms. They have real chores, from the chore basket.
I can’t say that they don’t do them, because they do…. However, there are many times when I just do these things for them, because they are young and it is EASIER to just do it for them… but now I realize that and I am doing more harm than good.
Are you? I also have a post about Raising Responsible Adults (I often re-read my own posts as little reminders to myself)… I read it tonight.
Here is a sneak peek: THE ONE RULE FOR RAISING YOUR CHILD TO BE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT IS TO REMEMBER TO let them make mistakes now to prevent them later. Feel empathy for them, not anger. Teach them by showing them through their mistakes.
An example of this: If your kids leave their toys around (and they are old enough to know that they need to be put away), tell them that the next time they leave them out, you will have to take them for a day. Here’s the kicker… YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO DO THIS! Read more of that post here.
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