How Morning Coffee Taught My Children Responsibility

If there’s one thing that makes me jump out of bed, it’s coffee. Yes, “I’m Stacey, and I’m a coffeeholic!” I go to sleep thinking about that first cup of coffee in the morning. My two-cup minimum in the morning and a pick me up in the afternoon satisfies my coffee craving. The nicest thing anyone can do for me is to bring me coffee in the morning. Seriously, whoever does this, has my heart!

One day, while at my office, I announced to my coworkers that I was ecstatic because my daughter made me coffee and brought it to my bedside. One coworker asked: “How does she know how to make it?” I said with a frowny and confused look on my face, “I showed her how.” It was at that moment that I realized some parents continue to do for their children instead of teach them how to do for themselves…or others.

Now, I don’t teach my chicks how to do things that are solely for my benefit, like making coffee—although I have to say that was genius! I’ve taught the chicks how to do their own laundry, how to organize their rooms, how to do their homework (where to search for answers, etc.). These are all tasks that they need to know how to do to be productive adults. Besides, I’m getting too old and too tired to do EVERYTHING for everyone else. I take my kids food shopping and give them their own list. Hey, if they want a particular type of cereal, then they can walk over the the aisle and choose it while I pick up other items on the list! Or if they need some toothpaste and are particular about it, I send them to pick out what they want! It’s important to give kids the opportunity to be accountable for their actions; to take responsibility for their choices. Hey, if nothing else, if they make the choice and aren’t happy with it, they can’t blame it on me!

I’ll be darned if my kids are sitting watching tv while I’m preparing a meal. They set the table, they help clean up. It’s a group effort. Not to say I don’t have to oversee and give instruction, but as time goes by, they’ve caught on and take pride in their participation.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. —Chinese Proverb

Some kids today act entirely too entitled. Parents cart them to and from expensive activities, allowing kids to not participate in daily upkeep of a household because they are hopeful that their child is the next Ashley Tisdale or Justin Beiber. My question: Who is going to do their laundry when they go to college? How will they know how to cook, or shop for that matter? My philosophy: If my kids are ill-prepared to take care of themselves as adults, and they’re knocking on my door after college, I haven’t done my job! Of course, I support my children in pursuing activities, but it’s balanced and they’re not overbooked. Do I hope my little chick will be the next Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? Sure. Do I take that hope and forget about teaching her the necessities of taking care oneself. No.

So parents, give your chicks simple tasks to start really being part of your team! If there too young to do their own laundry, show them how to fold. Kids love that! They love to play house, so give them some “real” housekeeping duties. My little chick has always loved to dust or run the dry mop all over the house. It may not get done exactly how I’d like, but it gets done…and I didn’t have to do it!

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