Speaking of Trendy Treehouse, let me also encourage you to visit and participate in our weekly Shutter Love Tuesday photo contest. Link up and get some new followers! A little shout out: I met the original author, Tara way back in January, when she had just started that blog, it was at around 50 followers. Today, just about 5 months later, the blog has more than 1200 followers! She has a way with people and a real knack for building a brand and business!
In fact: here is my Shutter Love Tuesday photo, under the theme: Children.
Now that you see what I have to work with, I thought I might share one of those things I've been thinking a lot about.
If you've been paying attention, you might have caught that my son just turned 7 years old, and for me, that does two things; 1. Makes me feel old. 2. Makes me feel like my kids are getting older.I know 7 isn't old. I am aware. It just sounds "big". Plus my "baby" girl is almost 5 and I am really not sure how that happened.
So, the question of the day is "What is your purpose as you parent?" I would love to ask the question and allow you to answer for yourself before shoving my opinion down your throat, but I'm ready now.
Ready? Some might have the purpose to raise a child who is "successful" in life. Some might have the purpose to raise the next President of the USA or the next Bill Gates. Others might really just want their children to happy as adults.
My personal parenting purpose is two-fold. 1. To raise children who love God and desire to have authentic relationships with Him, and 2. To raise children who are successful adults because they have #1 and they are independent enough to own it all and make it happen.
What do I mean by "it" - that would be just about anything they put their mind to. For now, that means I will fully support my son as he talks about being the next President of the USA. That means I will gently redirect my daughter to a more realistic career goal other than "Princess", but she's not 5 yet, so I think there is still time.
So, how does one garner independence in children? Starting from infancy and the ability to self-sooth, all the way to the teen years and their first job, a healthy sense of independence is a valuable tool that children need to become successful adults
Tip 1: Never do for your child what he/she is able to do for him/herself.
This is one I have found challenging for about 7 years. It is easier at times to just take care of it, to not have to watch them struggle with their seat belt, to not have to deal with a toilet clogged with half a roll of toilet paper or listen to the whining voice complaining that they can't do it.
So, practically speaking what does this look like?
At what age do you require them to independently use the bathroom?
At what age do you expect them to make their own bed?
When do they start sorting and loading clothes into the washer?
When do they start doing chores such as cleaning the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming and the like?
When do you allow them to start cooking and/or baking?
What are your guidelines as a parent?
As a mother of a 7 and 5 year old, I am quickly realizing that my children are capable of doing so much more than I give them credit for, and they seem to be okay with me doing it for them.
I think as a mother I also experience a little bit of guilt that I am subconsciously forcing my children to do things for themselves because I am selfish and lazy, and don't want to work any more... and when it comes to dusting, that is SO true. I am mostly kidding, but really think that somewhere inside many mothers, this is a potential hidden thought.
Being independent is so good for kids. It builds self-esteem, it gives confidence, it fosters more independence. Who wouldn't want a child who can make his own breakfast and lunch? Who wouldn't want a teenager who can responsibly take care of their own car?
Come and visit next week and we can continue this conversation with Tip #2. In the meantime, tell me today, what are the battles for independence in your home? Does your 5 year old demand you wipe their bottoms after going to the bathroom? Does your 10 year old refuse to clean his room? Or you can answer the question: What is your parenting purpose?