As a mother, are your kids your #1 priority? If so, I bet every minute of your day is spent taking care of them and focusing on their needs.
You feed them breakfast, get them ready for the day, take them to school and other activities, help them with homework. You cook for them, clean up after them, and pray for them. The list is endless.
We need to stop deceiving our kids!
This constant action of doing everything for our children is actually deceiving them. We fool our kids into thinking that adults are the only people who can do anything efficiently.
From an early age, our kids start to believe they won’t be able to properly take care of themselves until they grow up.
We are doing them a serious disservice.
By pandering to their every need, we are crippling them. When we do everything for our children, we are teaching them that they aren’t capable of taking care of themselves.
We are teaching them complete and utter dependence. We are lying to them about the nature of life and how to work for what you need and want.
If we really want what’s best for our kids, it often means letting them suffer through a problem on their way to the solution. It means not immediately jumping to help but letting them learn to help themselves.
Unfortunately, that process can be difficult or even painful for a parent to observe. But the rewards down the road are substantial and life-altering.
Step back so they can step up.
Kids and teens today are amazing! They are hitting milestones, breaking records, and achieving results that many adults can’t even fathom.
Until I started cooking with my kids, I didn’t even realize just how clever they really are. Our children are capable of so many things!
So why do we avoid giving them responsibilities around the house and teach them complete and utter dependence on us? Why do we think they can’t do their homework AND take out the garbage in the same day?
Why do we keep them so busy with school, clubs, dance, art, sports, and music lessons, when the real activities that build character are available right in our own homes?
Give them responsibilities!
As parents, we want so badly for our kids to have the greatest shot at life. So we allow them to put all their focus on academics and extracurricular activities that will make them *great*.
We push them to ace every test, make every shot, and take home the gold. We fool our kids into thinking that achievements are all that matter.
But this is where we are so wrong! We need to stop deceiving our kids. We need to provide clear guidelines and expectations for them, especially where household work is concerned. Kids can become great helpers when they know what’s expected of them and are given a clear path to follow.
And having your kids participate in regular, assigned family responsibilities has so many amazing benefits!
Some of those benefits are:
- Teaching them responsibility for their actions
- Effective teamwork
- The value of hard work
- Personal accomplishment
Chores build character.
Expecting your kids to participate in household work instills in them the idea that they are not above serving other people. Deborah Gilboa, a family physician, and TedTalk contributor stated, “As our expectations are rising on their achievements, our expectations are simultaneously dropping on the character of the child in front of us.”
Also, Ann Landers has said, “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
When we expect great things from our kids, great things will happen. But if you nurture an atmosphere of scholastic achievement and talents alone, your child’s character will suffer.
One task I really feel is important for our kids to learn is how to cook meals for the family. Learning to cook has so many amazing benefits, such as the ones listed above, as well as several more that may surprise you.
Working alongside our kids is just as important as playing with them.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about spending quality time with your kids? Maybe you think of making a fun craft together, visiting a museum or amusement park, playing a board game with them, or even watching a favorite movie together.
But why don’t we ever consider “work” as an opportunity to spend quality time with our kids?
When we work with our kids, we are teaching them love, we are teaching them sacrifice. Families form a stronger bond when they help one another and work together.
By working alongside your kids, you are able to spend quality time with them AND nurture their character simultaneously.
Work is good for you.
Work is an unavoidable, yet important, factor in our every day lives. So it stands to reason, if we can gain an appreciation for work, our lives will be infinitely more enjoyable.
As we work with our kids, we have the ability to instill in them that same appreciation for work. And this appreciation will ultimately allow them to find success and happiness everywhere they turn.
Our goal in raising our children should not be to raise *great kids*. But instead, we should be focused on raising great adults! Our society will gain many more knowledgeable and capable younger adults if children learn to work alongside their parents.
Teach them effective teamwork.
Growing up, my dad always said, “Many hands make light work.” To put it plainly, this means when we work together, the task becomes easier and is finished a lot quicker.
This is such an important concept to teach our kids. If every family would adopt this idea and learn effective teamwork, then children would see the value in working together to achieve a common goal.
Kids see and hear everything we do.
There’s an old adage that says, “Actions speak louder than words.” I believe in regards to parenting, there are no truer words.
Our kids are constantly observing our actions. They study our facial expressions, internalize our words and vocal inflections.
Your children will mimic your choice of activities, including time-suckers such as television-watching, internet games, and social media black holes.
They also watch how we treat our neighbors, our friends, and especially our spouses.
In fact, there are so many studies out there that describe how observing others is one of the best ways to learn. So it stands to reason that when you work alongside your kids, they will watch and internalize everything you do.
Be the adult you want your kids to grow up to become.
This can really be a tough pill to swallow, but if you want your kids to keep their room clean, you have to keep yours clean too. If you want to hear them speak kindly to siblings and friends, you need to speak kindly to your spouse and neighbors.
If you want your kids to hang up their clothes, brush their teeth, give to charity, eat healthy and exercise, work hard, or develop their talents, YOU have to do those things too.
Teach them by example.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Well, this sentiment should NEVER apply to parenting.
We need to stop deceiving our kids! If we want them to pitch in with household chores, we need to get our hands dirty WITH them.
Kids are so much more capable than we give them credit for. They can do their own laundry, clean the bathroom or kitchen, rake leaves, mow the lawn, and shovel snow. They can easily load the dishwasher, cook dinner, entertain toddlers, help younger siblings with homework, sweep the floor, make school lunches, and so much more!
And they are counting on their parents to lead them by example! We are doing them a huge disservice when we deceive them into thinking they aren’t capable of these everyday tasks that are proven to build character.
Stop monitoring your child’s happiness.
When your kids are happy, your life may seem easier, but their happiness is NOT your responsibility; their character is.
Focus on character rather than achievement.
When we put more emphasis on extracurricular activities and less emphasis on helping with family chores, like taking out the garbage, we’re convincing our kids that their character is not quite as important to us as their achievements.
Are we as parents, willing to let our children take the path of least resistance on their way to success?? Nay, I say! Kids deserve more accountability and more respect than that!
We are deceiving our kids AND ourselves if we hand them their happiness on a silver platter and then expect them to procure a happy and successful life on their own when they become adults.
Because life just doesn’t work like that.
As individuals, we have to work, and we have to work HARD, for our own happiness. So we need to stop fooling ourselves into thinking that our kids will automatically *get it* without us first showing them the way.
Make sure they know you love them.
I need to make something clear. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your kids. In fact, when you are teaching them by example, that example can also mean performing a service for others. And service equals love.
So when you cook for them, clean for them, do their laundry, grocery shopping, and chauffeur them around town, they watch you. They see you. And they know you love them.
But in order for those acts of service to be appreciated and really benefit their character, we have to teach our kids the value of what they see. We have to remind them they are amazing and talented human beings, capable of greatness.
We have to stop deceiving our kids into thinking they are unable to care for themselves. And especially, they need to learn how to perform those acts of service for others.
So stop deceiving your kids. Today.