Most of us as parents are guilty of raising entitled kids rather than empowered and responsible ones. We are buying what they don’t even need or ask for (and then complaining when they demand); we are not expressing and emphasising enough on the values of sharing and saving (rather only spending); we ourselves give in to peer pressure (& expect them not to). All these come back to bite us over a period of time. This topic of entitlement deserves a separate blog post (or even a book!) of its own, but today what we are going to discuss is the opposite end of the spectrum – making our children more responsible, capable, and empowered.
Start Young – Yes, an infant can’t put away all the toys in the basket, but a toddler can. A toddler can’t load the dishwasher, but the pre-teen can. You get the point? There are age-appropriate chores for all age groups. Make them do it (Even if you have a full-time nanny or two for the children). Don’t plead, nag or threaten, simply tell. It is a way of living and needs to be imbibed as early as possible.
Let Them Make mistakes – Who gets it right the first time? Don’t snatch away the books which they are trying to stow away in the book shelf or shoo them away when the bed they made looks more un-made than before. They will get it wrong – a good number of times, and you (and they) will have to clean up the mess. But eventually they will get it right and will thank you for not giving up on them.
Be Consistent – Habit takes time to develop. Be consistent with them else it is easy to fall off the track within no time. Unless they are unwell, don’t change the rules – not during their exam time, not when they are running late, not when they are not in the ‘mood’ to do it, and not ‘just for today’. You get flexible a few times, and these smart beings will know how to manipulate you into doing their work for them.
Stop Treating Them Like Guests – Your house is not a guest house, you are not raising guests and above all you are not the housekeeper. Once they take care of their responsibilities on their own, not only will they grow up to be self-reliant adults, you will become a more cheerful and pleasant parent as well with more time for yourself.
No Gender Division, Please! – No there is nothing which a boy should or should not do, or a girl can or cannot do. Don’t raise your kids with the same stereotypes with which we were raised. If that were so effective, why do we have so many men who can’t switch on the gas stove and so many women who can’t change a light bulb?
Walk The Talk – Our actions speak much louder than our words. We like our children are still a work in progress. We are learning, making mistakes, falling, rising all at the same time. And the scariest part is that our children are observing us and absorbing from us – slowly and steadily. If we are not a good role model as a self-dependent, active, independent adult…trying to teach them to be one is a far cry!
So, what are you waiting for? There is no better day than TODAY to get them started. They will sulk, cry, get angry today; but will thank you later. And not only they, their future partner/ spouse/ in-laws/ children will all thank you as well.