Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Ask More of Your Children

My mother gave me a copy of Cleaning House:  A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma, and I can't recommend it enough.  Wyma points out in this book that we parents are doing too much for our children, so they feel entitled to it and more.  A byproduct of this is that our children don't know how to do simple things, like make a meal or clean a toilet.  Here is a quote that I wanted to share with you:
It takes so much brainpower and emotional vitality and physical energy to do the so-called big things in life (work assignments, refereeing sibling fights, making your spouse feel valued) -- but if all their verve is drained because they're overwhelmed by the simple tasks of cooking and cleaning and shopping, how can we expect our offspring to be world changers?
So true!  Another thing I gleaned from this book is that when children learn to do things for themselves, their self-confidence increases.  When we push them to do something hard (that our children may not think they can do), and they accomplish it, they realize how much they can do.  And they are willing to try other, harder things.  For example, when I ask my children to walk across the fellowship hall at church to get forks that I forgot, it scares them a little bit.  But when they realize they can do it, they are willing to get dessert by themselves.  It boosts their self-confidence, and it has the wonderful side effect of helping me out!

When we don't let our children try hard things, because they might make a mess or they might not do it as well as we can, we tell our children that they can't do it.  So they want to try even less because they figure they will fail anyway.  Haven't you seen that happen?  I know that I have.

I want my children to grow up and leave home knowing how to cook meals, do laundry, and clean the house.  More than that, I want them to feel like they can do anything they set their minds to.  And I can set them up for success just by asking them to do more around the house.

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