The Thought Box.

Raising Independent Children- The Pros & Cons At Chaos HQ.

Wednesday, 23rd November 2011

Raising Independent Children- The Pros & Cons At Chaos HQ.

As a parent I have always had it in my mindset that I want to raise independent children.

Inspired by my own brother’s upbringing, I am adamant that no child of mine is going to leave the nest incapable of looking after themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, my brother is more than capable of looking after himself now, but there was a time in his late teens where cooking could’ve become an issue.

We look back and giggle now, but the prize meal this young man would prepare was a microwaved meat pie with some baked beans poured on top….

So we have tried to instill the ‘can do’ attitude from a young age.

Soon as our monsters are capable, we stop dressing them, as they’ve gotten older they’ve been able to get their own clothes out.

Veruca dressed herself age 3
The begining of independence!!

They have charts and are able to follow them for morning and evening routines, that include things like:

* Get Dressed

* Eat Breakfast

* Brush Teeth

* Make Bed

* Tidy Room and so on.

Lately they have taken it upon themselves to get the breakfast stuff out and create their own special chaotic mess when preparing it.

They want to do things like flood the bathroom run their own baths and showers, and pack their own school bags.

They even love to cook stir and wash up play with water occasionally.

Zaf cooking Pizzas
Cooking up a…. MESS with Chef Zafirah!

So how can there be a ‘con’ to this situation???

Well while I am very proud of their efforts on the home front, their ‘want’ to do more and more is resulting in a somewhat HALF-ASSED effort at everything else!

* They ‘forget’ to make their beds, so that they can be the first to rummage through the breakfast food.

* They neglect their bedrooms in favour of ‘helping’ make a bigger mess somewhere else.

* They are needing more and more reminders to do the basics in their quest to be more capable.

* If the bloody school has to call me just one more time about a missing hat, a missing lunch or a missing notice, my head will fly off my shoulders and explode whilst on the phone.

Enough is enough.

I have heard parents say their mornings are problem free….. then go on to explain that they do absolutely everything for the child.

The problem free bit sounds quite tempting, but is it really any good long term for the child?

I also feel like if I had to double check everything that I had asked them to do, I may as well have just done it myself in the first place.

Veruca is up to something
Little miss independent….

So here’s the deal.

I think I am going to dumb it down a bit for a while.

Back the truck up and set them maybe 5 or 6 basic tasks to complete each day.

When I feel they’re doing these tasks without the issues, I may add one more.

I just don’t want to insult their independence and cause them to feel useless, but the chaos is causing me a bigger headache than the mornings do alone.

We’re not talking one menacing independent toddler here, we’re talking 5 fully fledged monsters that think they ‘can do’ EVERYTHING!!!!

I guess the question is HOW?

How do I strip them of jobs without causing an argument?

What are your thoughts on this situation?









    Written by:

    1. Brooke

      Maybe you could approach it kind of like a 'work meeting', delegation of tasks, sit them all down & make them feel VERY important... maybe kind of strip them back, but give each of the responsibility of a whole task while still giving them individual tasks that meet their own needs along with 1 or 2 each that meet the group need - or even 1 or 2 that are shared... this way you are teaching them independence AND to work together toward the common goal? You could allocate the group ones based on their ages & skills - ie. maybe one of them could be responsible for checking everyone's school bags have all their stuff in it and 2 of them could be responsible for dishes - 1 wash 1 wipe.... you would know better the tasks that could work like that for you house!! I only have 1 little monster at the moment, 19 months & #2 is 1/2 baked... so your current dilemma is one I won't be facing for a little while yet, but it is still something I feel I need to have in mind already as I believe you have to lay the foundations for this sort of thing very early :) GOOD LUCK :)

    2. Hmm, what about explaining they need to now learn how to master a few tasks as a part of being independent?? I haven't had to address this yet, so just throwing it out there. Good luck! I think it's very admirable that you're doing this!

    3. michelle

      I know how you feel, mornings are chaos at our household. they are good on the whole, but i feel like i'm constantly yelling at my daughter as she will drag her heels at the last moment, taking half an hour to brush her hair, etc. but we are never late to school EVER - which in the end pleases my son as he detests being late. I still can't fathom how every morning as I'm dropping them off to their classrooms and walking out to my car, the parents who only have one child to get ready is constantly late. lol

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