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A Parenting Thought: What’s My Kid Capable Of?

I would like to start off with re-posting a comment my husband made on one of my recent Parenting Thought posts. I think it really is genius and sums up why I’m reading these freakin’ parenting books in the first place.

It’s a labor of love, really.

We know that a ship without a rudder can go far astray and smash into rocky shores or get caught in dangerous storms. And the same is with children.

We are here to love and guide and teach them.

~ my well-spoken husband

It is our social responsibility to train our children. To provide them with the basic tools and resources they need in order to be well-adjusted members of society. Sometimes we disagree with that society, but communes aside, we know that the boys have to fare well in it anyway. So in truth, I am reading and learning not to have “better kids” but so that I can be a better parent.  And in fact, although Dr. Leman’s book is “Have a New Kid by Friday“, it’s really just a trick to get you to buy the book.  The main focus of his principals are really about becoming a better parent.  But if he called it “Be a New Parent by Friday“, somehow I don’t think he’d be on the New York Time’s Best Seller list!

Moving on, I realize that I have bought into the lies that the boys aren’t “old enough” or “developed enough” to do many of the things that they are in fact quite capable of doing. Recently, I was about to start packing their towel, change of clothes, sunglasses, and other poolside necessities when I stopped dead in my tracks and heard a voice in my head saying “why on earth are you doing that?!”.

Silly mommy! The boys are quite capable of packing their own bag. It made me wonder how many other Make-Work-Mommy-Projects I’ve been creating for myself.

Do I really need to pick out their pajamas while they’re in the bath? Or retrieve all the random socks, toys and dirty clothes that somehow get shoved under their bed? Are my kind little deeds actually just turning me into an enabler? {gasp}

Think about it. What do you do (maybe even on a daily basis) that your child is fully capable of doing for themselves?

Discussion

9 thoughts on “A Parenting Thought: What’s My Kid Capable Of?

  1. My darling daughter! You are getting it! I like to think that you were brought up to be self-sufficient. But it shows you how easy it is to fall into the “enabler” mode. It is easier. At first. You pay for it later! Sometimes forever. Teaching and guiding, that is what you are doing as a parent. But have fun at the same time! Enjoy them! I sure do miss them!

    Posted by Mum | July 12, 2010, 8:14 pm
  2. Oh, how much easier it seems to do it ourselves! In the short term though I suppose. I wouldn’t think I’d have much to comment on this since Link only just turned one but he’s recently learned the concept of ‘bye-bye’. Not just when someone is leaving but with objects. I started to put away his blocks a few days ago and then realized if he got the concept of bye-bye, why not apply it to his toys? I opened up the bag and started putting blocks away in it, saying bye-bye each time. Sure enough, he started doing it with me! Man, they do catch on early don’t they? So thanks for posting about thinking about what our kids are capable of. I’m guessing much more than we think!

    Posted by Vanessa | July 12, 2010, 8:37 pm
  3. I think it’s so important to develop independence, responsibility, and confidence in our children. Sure, it’s easier and quicker if I do things for them, but this is often for my own convenience.

    On the flip side, we must be aware that our children desire nurture and comfort, and they want to know that we will help them if they need it.

    Posted by Tim | July 12, 2010, 10:35 pm
    • So true, Tim. Teaching them by example and encouragement. All in all, like I said before, enjoy them!

      Posted by Mum | July 13, 2010, 12:53 am
  4. Hey Tasha!

    I totally agree with your post! There is this child that i pick up from Jari’s school sometimes. She is 4. When I get her she waits at her cubby for me to put her shoes and coat on. I look at her and point out that her shoes don’t have laces and that she is a big girl and she can to it on her own. This dependence from a four year old has been driving me crazy! Now that we make our kids do the simple tasks in our daily lives I really notice it when other parents don’t. The blank looks I get from the kid when asked/told to do something on their own is kind of sad. We started making Jari make his own lunch about six months ago! He is a master PB and J sandwich maker now! I have totally found myself doing things for my kids because I can get it done faster. But all that did was teach them that if they dawdle long enough mom will do it anyways. With every kid Steve and I have learned and changed. A luxury that you and Tim don’t have with your two for one deal! LOL! I don’t read parenting books, I skim them. I take the advise that I think will work for our family and pass the book along. The one book that I have kept is “Kids Are Worth It” by Barbara Colroso. I have used and still implement much of her advise.

    My kids are capable of many things! I think by teaching them to fend for themselves their success and independence increases their self confidence and self worth. And when they realize the amount of work those small tasks make they learn appreciation and gratitude when the tasks are done for them.

    Take Care
    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey | July 13, 2010, 8:00 pm
    • So true Tracey! I think you have it spot-on and it encourages me since your kids are older than mine and seem to have turned out great (so far! lol!). 😉

      Too funny about Jari’s classmate staring at you blankly…I think you are right that your kids will develop a higher sense of self-worth and accomplishment if we let them achieve the little things all through their days.

      Posted by Natasha Kay | July 15, 2010, 2:52 pm
  5. I remember the looks I’d get whenever someone found out you guys were in charge of your lunch! Actually I made it a family affair. It was because of you, Natasha! You complained about your lunches and one day I asked myself why in the world I was doing this!

    Posted by Mum | July 15, 2010, 3:19 pm