When I was growing up, I had chores, responsibilities, and rules. I feel as though we have made our lives so busy that we have forgotten to teach our children all of the above.
By Nicole Nowitzki
I saw an ad in a catalog a few months back for a broom, and it depicted a child that was probably around 13, and they were sitting on the couch, eating chips, while looking at a cell phone. The part of the ad that caught me off guard was that the child was making a huge mess on the floor with the chips, and the mother was sweeping with a smile. I can assure you that I would NOT be smiling if my absentminded child was lazily sitting in a pile of self-inflicted filth. They would definitely be sweeping up their own mess!
What on earth is wrong with our parenting mentality that we would prefer our child to sloth around all day while they have no idea that real life is going on around them. I’m not saying that children don’t deserve to relax, but to presume that it’s ok to smile at their beckon call is asinine.
We need to start teaching our children when they are small that they have to take care of their surroundings. If they break their toys, they are not getting more. If they don’t do the dishes or laundry, we will not have anything clean when we need it. This is extremely important in the grand scheme of things to teach our children that we have to work for things. Complacency is not going to get us good grades, a key position on the sports team, and ultimately the education and career we really desire.
I worked 3 jobs and went to school fulltime in college. Why? I wanted to be a teacher more than anything in the world, so I graduated with high honors, and I was proud of myself. I have student loans to pay, but I figured if I had to pay for them anyway, I wanted to make the best grades possible. I had a goal, and I worked my tail off to succeed. What happened to the hard work pays off mentality?
Today, our children are looking for the laziest way possible to get the biggest payoff. Let me degrade myself to get on television, sue someone for your own lack of common sense, and whine because I don’t get everything I want for free. What is going on with our society?
I want to guide my children to make the best choices, but if I make all of their decisions for them, I’m doing them a disservice. While they are small, give them reasonable choices (milk or water). They feel like they have some control, but they start getting experience with critical thinking. When they are a bit older they will need to make decisions usually caused by peer pressure. I don’t want someone telling them what they should do. I want them to use their brain. Are they going to make the wrong choices every now and then? Yes!! I hope they are able to learn from these experiences.
Also, they need to learn to speak for themselves. I won’t call your professor to ask them to change your grade. Chances are, you deserve the grade you have because you didn’t work hard enough. I’m not going to call your boss to ask them about promoting you. If your mommy calls your boss (unless your boss happens to be your father), I hope they fire you! I’m your mother, not your secretary. I think some of our youth need a reality check to the real world.
Don’t get me wrong, we all want what’s best for our children, but doing everything for them only stifles their abilities to think, be creative, and respond. Remember, children need you to be there to comfort, teach, love, and take care of them. They do not need you to live their lives for them. You already got your turn.