Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Raising Independent Kids

Disclaimer - my kid isn't even 2 years old yet. I am not an expert on raising children. My views may change as Squid gets older.

So, I'm browsing Pinterest and looking at some family cooking and craft projects. And most of these projects have mom doing most of the work or severely supervising the children. One in particular mentioned how her project was a good one because her kids didn't need much supervision after she microwaved the chocolate for them.

The kids were teens and preteens. She talks about them having cell phones. She showed pics of kids well over the age of 10. Why do these kids need to be supervised in the use of a microwave?

By the time I was 10, I was preparing complete meals on the stove. I was trusted to do laundry on my own. I was mowing lawns. When did we start treating children like imbeciles?

How can we expect kids to ever learn to be self-sufficient if we continue to do everything for them? Yes, they might screw it up. That's part of the learning process. They may even sustain minor injuries. They will survive them.

I consider myself a decent cook. Not awesome. But people usually eat whatever I make and I get compliments on some of the stuff. As a kid, I burnt a lot of food. I mixed ingredients wrong. I didn't time when stuff would be done, so the sides would be cold and the entree hot. I eventually got the hang of it through trial and error.

The same thing with everything in life. I learned to hammer nails by hammering rusty, crooked nails into scrap wood. That was my grandpa's idea of a toy to keep my brother and me quiet for a while. Ok, probably not the best example, but we never got tetanus, although we did hammer our thumbs a few times.

Kids need the opportunity to screw up. They need the opportunity to take risks. Success is meaningless if the parent is responsible for it.

Let the kid microwave the chocolate. What's the worst that could happen? Over-cooking it? Making a mess of the microwave? Those are not disasters. Those are learning opportunities. Make them clean the mess and try again. You aren't going to be there to microwave their ramen noodles in college.

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