Lazy Parenting

I believe in lazy parenting.

Lazy parenting can be a good thing

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.

Lazy parenting can help your child feel like a super hero

Drop a comment about your experiences with being a lazy parent!

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About Heidi

My name is Heidi and I live on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I have three young girls and a baby son, and a husband who makes me laugh. We love to turn up the music and dance in the livingroom, bend down and smell fresh grass, and play at the beach in the sunshine. I run a stand up paddle school, sharing good times with tourists on the island. I love teaching stand up paddling, and it proves a challenge to do a good job raising a family while running a business. Like my post? Please leave a comment.
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6 Responses to Lazy Parenting

  1. Pingback: Families Who Play Together, _____________ | Five Real Moms

  2. Amanda says:

    This post is awesome! I have three sons that are always ratting each other out and it makes me a little crazy to say the least. I am gonna try our approach today! Thanks, Heidi!

  3. Sunny says:

    Of course “lazy” parenting is harder than it looks, at least for some of us. It can be hard to let things go wrong, and then not fall into the trap of saying something that turns out to be hurtful instead of helpful. It’s a true skill worth pursuing.

    There’s some story about a little girl helping her mother put away the eggs and her mother verbally jumping on her and stopping her so that they don’t get broken. And then some great quote about how you have to break a few eggs if you’re going to raise confident, capable kids, or something like that.

    I tend to be worried about breaking the eggs as my first reaction. But I have started having the kids (though at the ripe age of 12) do all their own laundry, and that has been a good thing all around. And I recognize that I need to be more relaxed, and that’s part of the battle.

  4. Kathryn says:

    I think this post should be called REAL parenting, as this approach is anything but lazy! Nice!

  5. Heidi says:

    But that’s perfect! Think about what he is learning as opposed to what he would learn if you picked them up for him.

  6. Molly says:

    I love this! Granted, my oldest is 22 months and doesn’t talk yet, so getting him to do stuff himself really consists of making him pick up all the cheerios he just dumped all over the floor. 🙂

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