Thursday, March 27, 2014

Parenting - when to let them grow up

I have failed as a parent. Well not failed, but I need to start pushing my 6 year old to do things. When I was her age I would run all over town and wasn't constantly monitored by my parents. In this world we have to be more aware of things like "stranger danger" and stuff like that. However, I have failed as a parent when it comes to teaching my daughter how to do things.

This became obvious when we had her Valentine's day party. The other girls were pouring their own drinks and eating whole pieces of pizza. We still pour all of our daughters drinks and more often than not it gets put into a cup with a lid. She has never used a knife (until today) and couldn't even open a bag of chips.

I decided this had to change. Yesterday I decided to take her to the store and teach her what it is like to go shopping. She helped read off the prices and let me know which one cost less. She read off the grocery list and helped find the items and even put them in the cart. I even showed her how to pick out the best produce (which bag of potatoes were best). She was so good. Usually she is running all over the place, asking for things she couldn't have and just being a handful. By having her become part of the process, she was a help instead of a hinder. When we got home, she crashed and slept for 3 hours.

Today she asked to help make her own lunch. I walked her through the process of making a sandwich. I gave her a butter knife and taught her how to cut off the crust. She didn't do it perfectly, but the point is, she is learning. I also had her get out the bag of carrots, open the bag and get out how many she wanted. She even helped make Bekah's sandwich. After they had their sandwiches and carrots, they wanted some chips. After Sarah asked me to open her chips, I realized she had never done it on her own before. I asked her who opens her chips at school. She said the teacher. WOW, eye opener. So I taught her how to open her chips.

I guess the moral of this post, is that when we try to protect our kids, we often keep them from growing up. We prevent them from learning to do things on their own so that they can make the right choices and be protected. I am taking this as an "Action Item" and will do better at teaching my kids how to do things on their own. Heck...tonight they will learn to put toothpaste on their own brush...yes...I am that mom.