Does this slippery slope sound familiar? I recently heard myself say to a friend, "It's just faster and easier to do it for him." I was referring to something as simple as dressing Trenton. (He has never had much interest in doing it himself.) As I thought about it more, I had to ask myself, what else do I do for him because it's faster and easier? Clean up toys, put clothes away, clear the table... I am in trouble!
I don't do those things alone all the time, and I do have him help here and there, but unfortunately, it is not my first instinct. My oldest child is only three(!), and I can already tell this about myself.
Even before Ryan and I had kids, we knew we wanted to raise children who didn't feel entitled to x-boxes and iPhones and nice cars. They may (and probably will!) want those things, but I hope they won't feel like they deserve them just by virtue of being alive. Ryan's time in Chile and my short time in Zambia cemented that desire in our minds. (How many preteens in sub-Saharan Africa demand an iPhone of their parents?? Um, not many! I want my kids to have a little perspective!)
But I also know that raising children who take ownership for their actions is a tremendous task. So for starters, I've preordered this book and redoubled my efforts to have Trenton contribute more (age appropriate here - I'm not expecting miracles overnight!) at home. If you're interested in this topic too, check out this blog post with a rough draft introduction to the Eyres' book. (By the way, I love that blog. The author, Shawni, inspires me to be a better mother!)'
Those of you with children, especially older ones, feel free to share any tips that have worked for you!