Something really came to light to me the other day when we went skating with C, and that was that we over-parent. No two ways around it. The bright side to it is that it's never too late to change, and being more aware of it help us to change un-constructive behavior.
What happened was that C was over and we were going to the skating rink. Now usually I grab our big LL Bean bag and pack all the skates and stuff in there, and we're off. Unfortunately, this encourages kids to not have to think about how to deal with life, it's all done for them, and they develop undesirable qualities like not asserting themselves, expecting life to handed to them on a platter, and the inability to resolve problems. Now granted, I'm over-dramatizing this, but I'm just getting my point across.
What really struck me was that C took care of all her own stuff. She carried her own skates and was responsible for all her gear. The only thing she needed help with was tying her skates on, but even I need help with that. Our kids, on the other hand, just walked out the door without a care in the world.
The crazy thing is, most kids, ours included, jump at the opportunity to be responsible, it makes them feel like big kids. I've found our kids love helping out and even enjoy making breakfast of cooking. It's just much simpler doing it myself, not to mention quicker. But therein lies the point-it's a good lesson for kids to learn responsibility and not take things for granted, and it's a good lesson in forcing me, the parent, to lighten up and not try to control everything.
So with all this in mind, we now have bags for our kids to carry their skates, they make their own breakfast and pour themselves their own beverages (we help out by setting things up, but the act of serving is in their hands), and it is no longer acceptable to just drop their jackets, hats and gloves on the floor and be on their merry way. Responsibility. It's something you have to teach your kids, and it not only makes them better people, but it actually makes your life easier.
How's that for a lesson in parenting? Until the next time, thanks for reading.