Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Are We Raising a Bunch of Idiots?"

A friend showed me this article last week in the local newspaper.

It made me take a step back and think about what I allow my children to do on their own. Children are more capable than we often give them credit for. The other point the article made was that certain things, like ice cube trays, are somewhat obsolete in society today. However, are we giving our children the problem-solving skills they need to figure out something like that when presented with it?

I like to think that I do a pretty good job of this. When I was a new teacher, a veteran teacher gave me some very great advice that I think applies to parenting as well. She told me to not do anything for the students that they could do for themselves. It really decreased some of my workload, as I allowed them to do some prep work for their activities rather than doing it all myself.

In our family, my 7-year-old knows how to tie his shoes and has for about a year and my 5-year-old has almost got the hang of it. My 2-year-old drinks from a regular cup, only occasionally bringing a sippy cup for a long car ride, but the others can use water bottles without my help at all--they can even refill them without my help.

All but my 2-year-old can buckle into their own seats. They take out the trash, wash dishes, set the table (and correctly, too), and the oldest (age 7) even makes his own lunch for school. And not just a lunchable or a poptart, he makes a turkey sandwich and takes along a fruit, a whole-grain snack and a cookie.

But after reading this article, I decided that my children need to learn to do more things on their own and that I need to give them more opportunities to solve their own problems. I'm not sure I do that last part enough.

What do you think? Do you think our children are too reliant on technology? Are they too dependent on us too? Do we not allow them enough responsibility so, while they certainly are adopting more adult attitudes and interests earlier and earlier, they are not growing up timely at all (I know 5-year-olds who still drink from sippy cups)?


Devin & Ruthann said...

I think you are doing a great job at teaching your kids to do things for themselves. I have the same motto, "If they can do it for themselves, let them." I don't put the clothes in the hamper, their shoes in the shoe box, get their cups at mealtime, clean up their toys, etc. I will help them if they are having trouble getting it done, but usually, they know if they are able, they are expected to do.

Katy B. said...

I think that many parents do make the mistake of enabling laziness in their children. And most of the time it is unintentional, but still, the issue is there. I applaud you for bringing this topic up and for reminding me that I need to do the best I can as a mom to teach my children to be as self sustaining as possible but within reason per their age.


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