I believe in lazy parenting.
I’m not talking about the “sit-in-the-couch-watching-TV-and-being-neglectful” parent, but I believe in not doing much for my kids that they can do for themselves.
My dad and his brothers and sister can fix anything that falls into their hands. My dad once told me that, when living on the farm, if any farm machinery broke, his dad would send one of his sons out to fix it – with no instruction of how to do it. Their confidence grew and their know-how continues to bless their families.
The other day, Keith, a friend of mine was telling me that by the time they were 4 years old, he and his siblings were cooking eggs and doing their own laundry. He asked his mom one day why they had to do these things when his friends’ moms did them for them. Her reply was, “Do you know how many husbands cannot take care of themselves when their wives are sick? I want you to be good husbands, that’s why.”
On the flipside, I have met many adult-children who have difficulty acting for themselves. I don’t necessarily know how their upbringing was, but it frightens me to raise children into unthinking adults.
In different ways I try to have my children think and act for themselves. When they ask me a question, I almost always answer with a question. Usually, it’s, “What do you think?” Like when my daughter is doing a desalinization experiment and wonders how the salt water turns fresh, I ask her, “why do you think?” Her answer may not be correct (“Magic?”) but at least she is thinking. And of course, I’ll explain afterward – but first I want her to think for herself.
When they ask me how to spell a word, I don’t tell them. Instead, I sound it out and they tell me how to spell it.
When they ask what time it is, I show them where the clock is and ask them.
When they ask me to get a cup for them to get a drink, I show them where the stool is.
When they ask me how many days til Halloween, I tell them how many days are in October and how many are left in September and ask them how many days are left.
When they come tattling to me about their sister taking their toy, I ask them, "Did I take your toy?" Of course they respond "No," And I say, "Then why are you talking to me about it? Talk to your sister about it."
My driving force behind this is an understanding that I am raising adults in embryo, not just children. If I do their thinking for them, or their chores for them, their thinking habits will not grow. And the independence granted and trusted in my children helps their self confidence grow as well.
Drop a comment about your experiences with being a lazy parent!