Getting your kids to be independent without going nuts

Posted by Lori Goldman on Saturday, June 2, 2012 Under: Parenting
So many parents want their kids to grow up fast and take on complete responsibility for themselves and their schoolwork.
The problem is that the parents often continue to do everything for the kids but abandon them to a chore that they need support in.

Here's an example.  Mom prepares the breakfast, packs the school bag and the lunch, drives the kid to school, all the while nagging her about what she should be doing.  Then after school, Mom picks up her daughter, brings her home and tells her to get to work while Mom cooks / watches TV / talks to her friends on the phone / whatever.  Later, the teacher sends a note home telling the parent that work is incomplete or sloppy, tests are not prepared for, and daily review is not being done. What a surprise!

Not really. 

The job of a mom is more complex than that.  Rather than do all the tasks for the kids, have the kids be part of the routine. Kids participate in breakfast, prepare part of their lunches and pack them, and if not ready when Mom is leaving, have to walk to school.  (if it is near enough)  After school, younger kids need someone to sit and help them look over their to-do's in their planner, make a priority list (what to do first, second, etc), and then a willing partner in review of the material for tests.  Mom should also help the kids to be critical of their work and encourage them to produce the best work they can to please the teacher.

Kids also need to have jobs in the house to develop responsibility - setting the table, clearing their dishes, sorting and doing laundry, vacuuming, dusting, bathroom cleaning, cooking - families work together. Then Mom has more time to support the kids. Mom is not the house slave!

A big calendar on the wall helps kids to do planning and make sure they don't forget activities, tests, special events, presentations, meetings.  Mom should not try to be the kids' daytimer. Involve the kids in the rule setting but remember that your house is yours and your family rules might be very different from other families.  Stand firm but listen to other suggestions as the kids grow up. They are smart and want to be treated with respect but need strong guidance.

Respect.  A good word for all to remember.

In : Parenting 

Tags: organization  study skills  parenting 

About Me

Lori in I got my Bachelor of Education degree in the USA but was born and raised in Canada. Working in Asia and with immigrant adults and children for 26 years has given me insights into the difficulties they face in a new country and school system. I like to help adults adjust to and explore the rich and diverse opportunities in Canada while also supporting them in their challenge of parenting in a new culture. I love to help children learn English, develop skills, and gain confidence to succeed in school and life.


“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part. "Most people don't plan to fail; they fail to plan." ~~John L. Beckley

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