Teaching them to stand on their own feet NOW, not when it's time for College
"Sure. Get your cup is on the table."
"Mommy? I want my baby."
"I think it's in your room, go look for it."
"Mooooommmmyyyyy! She won't leave me allooooooonnnneeeee."
I'm a no good, terrible, horrible, mean mommy. No really, I am. When my kids stumble and fall I don't rush to pick them up. When they struggle to do something I don't hurry over to help. If they squabble I let them duke it out. And when they whine, I try my hardest to ignore them until they find a solution on their own or ask for help nicely.
But here's the catch. I'm not acting negligent to be mean. I'm doing it to teach them resilience, self-sufficiency, and strength of character. That it makes my life easier is just an added bonus.
I recently got frustrated as I read a Family Circle article about teaching self reliance in teens. (It was probably a summer issue, it takes me a while to catch up.) Our society labels us as negligent parents if we don't do our damnedest to make our kids' lives as easy and pain free as possible, then sighs in frustration when teens can't do anything for themselves. The article gave lots of examples of ways to help teens learn to be self sufficient. Dandy. But if parents would just let their younger children fail every so often, or struggle a little more they wouldn't have to scramble to teach their children key life skills moments before sending them off to college.
Around my kids I try to only intervene if someone is about to get hurt. I let them explore and try new things. I let them face challenges. I let them fail. Usually they eventually figure out things on their own. Sure, sometimes I don't approve of the solution (Uh, standing on a shaky bin of blocks to turn the light on? I don't think so.), but more often than not I'm impressed by their inventiveness and resourcefulness. My "neglect" is turning my kids into self sufficient, independent, strong little people.Continued on the next page