What are you doing for your children that they can do for themselves
During the month of March, our Thoughtful Thursday questions are focusing on Teaching our children life skills. As quick and easy as it is to do things for our kids, the reality is that we need to teach our kids how to live out in the real world so that they will feel confident and capable to exist independently once they leave home.
If you’ve worked with Parenting Power in the last 5 years, you will certainly be familiar with our first tough question of March:
What are you doing for your children that they could be doing for themselves?
In Tim Urban’s article, Why Generation Y Yuppies are Unhappy, he outlines clearly, and in an easily readable (and illustrated) way just how unrealistic expectations about life can lead to unhappiness. We’ve included it for you here because if we raise our awareness of this problem, we stand a chance of changing it for our kids. Otherwise, we will be raising a second generation of adults who are disappointed in their lives and themselves.
There is nothing wrong with money and sharing nice things with our kids. The reality is that our parenting job is not to provide a lovely life for them. It is to prepare them for real life by teaching them how to make a bed, cook a meal, unplug a toilet, do the laundry, get somewhere on a bus and manage their hygiene and temper.
Parents often tell us, “My kids appreciate nothing!”
How can they possibly appreciate something if they have not had to work for it, earn it, save for it or wait for it? They cannot. If it is all just given to them, all of the toys, treats, holidays, special equipment is just expected.
It is through having conversations about this with our kids AND through teaching them the skills to earn, and delay gratification, that our kids will learn appreciation.
This week: Consider one thing that you are doing for your child that s/he could do for him/herself. Take the time to teach that life skill. Only choose one at a time or it could feel overwhelming for everyone.
Do the task together with the child, breaking it down into manageable steps (writing them can be helpful)
Then watch the child do it and help where needed
Finally allow the child to do it independently
Hold your child accountable for the task – if a child knows that the parent will do the task, there is no incentive to take responsibility.
If you need help knowing what to expect of your child, we’ve attached our our lists of Age-appropriate tasks below.