Raising kids in this day in age is tough. Raising kids to become responsible productive adults is even tougher. As parents we all want the best for our kids and for them to develop into happy, independent adults. How will they ever become the productive adults that we want them to be if we continue to do everything for them?
I am not saying we need to turn our backs on them. Of course they still need us. I am just saying that once they reach middle school I think they need to start being held accountable for their actions. We need to do this because we love them.
Here are a few things we can do to guide our kids into becoming that productive adult.
I do not get up with the older kids in the mornings to make them breakfast. They are all capable of feeding themselves and cleaning up their messes. In a few years when they are in college we will not be there to make sure they are getting breakfast. It is better that they get in the habit now. They also know they have to get themselves up in time for the bus. We will not be there every morning to make sure they get to their job on time either. They all have working alarm clocks just like ours.
We should not have to deliver things that they forgot. They need to learn how to prepare and have what is needed when they leave. If we constantly bail them out how will they learn this? I know I am guilty of this at times because we feel obligated to them. We do not want them to feel bad or to be left out. If this happens once or twice I can guarantee you that they will be better prepared next time. They will also learn that if this happens its not the end of the world. That they will get through the day and everything will be alright. It helps them to develop positive coping skills.
I do not get overly involved with their school work. They are at school every day and they know what is going on way more than I do. Their teachers give them their home work and what is expected of them. They know when their tests are. I should not have to ask them if their home work is done or if they studied for a test. This should be on them. If they get a bad grade because they did not study for a test that they knew they had, that is their fault. If they choose not to turn in homework that they know is due, that is on them too. They also know the consequences for bringing home bad grades on their report cards. Of course I give guidance and help when it is needed but I do not ask or keep track of everything. My kids get good grades and are on the honor role. They know that they earned that themselves. It was not because of me making sure they did what they were suppose to do. Again, once they are in college they are going to have to do this on their own.
Something new we started with our kids is we have added a chore chart on the wall. Everyday we switch up who does what. It is their responsibility to look at it and complete the chores. It is a magnetic dry erase board. Once they complete the chore they can move the magnet into the completed box next to their name. When I first did this everyone thought it was a weird idea. What I put on there are just simple everyday things that they did before but only after us asking them multiple times. I have been amazed how well this has worked. I do not have to ask. Now they just know what is expected of them and know that before they ask to do anything this needs to be done. Our 7 year old has actually asked for more to be put on hers because she loves to move the magnet to completed. She must get some satisfaction out of this. Either way it works!
This last one is a lesson well learned in our home. Their emergency does not become mine. I know that they are given plenty of time when they are assigned a big project. How many of you have had kids come to you at 8 o'clock in the evening freaking out because they need craft supplies or poster boards for a project that is due the next day. I fell victim to this a few times. After getting myself worked up and stressed out about a project that they knew about for 3 weeks and made the choice to wait until the night before to suddenly worry about it. I will never do that again.
I know this may be hard at times because they are our kids and we want to love, nourish and protect them. If you think about it that is what you are doing by teaching them these lessons now before they are in the real world where things are not so nice all the time. Things are not fair all of the time. We want to know that when the time comes for them to leave that they are leaving strong young adults that will be able to navigate their way through life and think back to what we have taught them. They will not realize this now, but one day it will click that we did this because we loved them more than they ever imagined.