I will not raise namby pambies. I want my children to know work. To grow-up to be independent, contributing members of society. To have common sense. And to understand that no one is entitled to anything in life; if you want something (anything, really), you better be prepared to work for it. This mom won’t coddle her kids forever and have a 30 year-old child still living at home someday. Nope.
My problem was always how to put this into regular practice. Sure, the girls help out here and there but I want to integrate this concept into everyday life, When we (gulp) decided to embark on this commuter family journey, I knew that it was a golden opportunity. At 7 and 9, they are the perfect age. And Chris being away was the perfect (if sad) excuse. The fact is, the kids need to pitch in if we are going to make this work.
“By making them pitch in, you’ll be helping them much more than you’ll be helping yourself,” my mom says.
As usual, I think she is right.
I was already in this mindset when I found this book, Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12 Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma. Excited to read about the experiences of a like-minded mom, I downloaded it on my Kindle Fire and read it right away. And boy, was I inspired!
“With the greatest of intentions and in the name of love, we have developed a tendency to hover, race in to save, protect from failure, arrange for success, manipulate, overprotect, and enable our kids.”
“We shower them with accolades, proclaiming how wonderful they are – yet we rarely give them the opportunity to confirm the substance of that praise.”
The author embarks on an experiment to require her 5 children(!) to perform duties around the house. There’s a different theme each month but the message is consistent – empower your children by requiring more from them. Yes! Exactly! There were so many good ideas in this book. I decided to put a few into practice right away as part of my no-namby-pamby crusade:
- I have started small. Making beds each day, bringing out recyclables, feeding the cat. That makes sense to me.
- Like the author, I agree that the kids’ good effort should be rewarded. She suggested an allowance jar. At the start of every month, a set sum is placed into the jar for each child. Each day, she checks to see if the day’s tasks are completed. If they are, the money stays in the jar. If a day’s tasks are not completed, then a fraction of the money is removed from the jar. At the end of the month, each kid gets to keep what is left. What a terrific idea! I am altering this a bit, since my kids are a bit younger. We’ll be doing the jar on a week-by-week basis. Each girl will start out with $7 (one for each day of the week) and $1 will be removed on any day that the tasks are not completed. We’ll be starting this on Sunday.
- There are so many other thoughts in this book that I just love — working together, serving others and equipping kids for errands. I will be gradually adding these to the mix later.
“Mom! Why do I have to do EVERYTHING?!” moans Allison.
I ignore her.
“Do I haaaaaavvvvveeee to do it nowwwwww?!” whines Lindsay.
La la la la … I can’t hear you.
I will definitely report back on the no-namby-pamby project :-). In the meantime, do you have kids or kids in your life? Do you worry about instilling independence and a good work ethic in them? How do you do it? Do you have any comments on this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts!