Tuesday, March 01, 2016

are you mothering or smothering?

Are you mothering or smothering?

In different words essentially this was a question asked by an Elder at a public forum of about 100 people that my husband went to in Alice Springs last year.

It was a good question that made me think. Smothering is different in a way to what we think about when we use the term 'helicopter parenting'. It is more about getting kids do things for themselves and in fact getting them to do way more than most of us probably do right now.

Another way to look at it is that lots of kids today are raised sitting on the couch so to speak. You know, they don't do much around the house, aren't expected to do much or parents have given up asking.

Before we go on, I am as guilty as the next parent of doing things for my kids that I know full well they can do for themselves OR that I really should take the time to teach them to do for themselves.

My boys have their jobs to do around the house - make their beds, empty the compost bin, empty the recycling bag and the rubbish bin, wash and dry dishes (I'm not consistent enough with this one yet), putting their clothes and toys away, and from time to time sort and fold the washing. Looking at that list it isn't much really.

So why do I and so many other mums I know do too much for their kids?

One of the number one reasons some of my friends tell me is because they don't want to have to listen to their kids whinge about whatever the said task is.

One of my main reasons is because I know I can do it faster myself and often I can do it better.

Really, none of these are good enough reasons.

We are not doing our kids any favours (or the other people around them at school, at friends houses and later in their workplaces) if we are not teaching them to be capable and independent.

I am making a concerted effort before I just do a task, I make a point of asking River or Sol to do it.

Instead of feeling like you have to do everything around the house, start delegating. Not only does it lighten your load and teach your kids skills, it relieves any underlying resentment you may be feeling about having to keep on top of the household chores and perhaps you're not even aware of it.

So join with me, take the time, let go of perfect and let's put the effort into raising capable, independent kids.

Love to hear your experiences with this in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. My boys (11 and 8) have to tidy up after themselves and do various chores on request. Their only set chore is setting and clearing the table, so a pretty light load I would say. However, you would think they are treated as slaves the way they complain every single time! It's wearisome and although I don't give in I am starting to wonder not only if they will stop whingeing about helping around the house one day, but also if they will ever lift a finger without being asked. That's what I'm aiming for - to have them know how to do domestic tasks and just do what needs to be done when it comes up (when they're grown, obviously) rather than expecting someone else to do it. We don't seem to be going in that direction, so any tips would be appreciated!! Unfortunately we are living in Italy, in a culture of smotherers, so their complaints that no other child in town (especially boys, grrrr) is expected to help out are probably true.


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