I understand that as parents we want what is best for our kids. We want them to do their very best on a project, make good grades, and keep a clean room. I want all of these things too, I do, but not at the expensive of doing this FOR my kids. I will set up my children for success, but I will not complete the tasks for them.
Each of my children have age appropriate chores. Why? Because one day, my children will be adults, and I want them to know how to run a household. My children participate in laundry, dishes, floors and cleaning their rooms regularly. Also, it is my son’s responsibility to always empty to garbage can when it is full. I want my son to pay attention to when the trash is overflowing and take it out. No, I don’t tell him when to do it. He has learned that when it is full, he empties it.
When my son has school projects, this is HIS project. If you need me to do something, ask. If you do not ask, I will assume that it will be taken care of. If you need items purchased, let me know. Again, I will set up my children for success, but I will not do tasks for them. If this is a group project, you need to coordinate what time and which library you are meeting at and let me know. I will not be coordinating this; it is your responsibility.
Lately, I am seeing this happening a lot in my pre-teen’s life … maybe I am wrong? He goes to school, he is responsible for homework, and he is responsible to study for tests. I know the level of maturity needed to take care of their own things varies by child, but I stand strong in the thought that this is something that we as parents can instill in our kids.
If you are sitting there thinking, what happens if I don’t help and he fails? I am pretty confident he will only fail a couple of times, and then he will learn. He will learn to ask for help (instead of his parents telling him what to do and how to do it), and he will be better prepared next time and ask you to go to the store for his supplies. We have to teach our kids a lot of things, and I think independence is up there at the top.
I am not saying to let your three year old run wild in the neighborhood alone, let’s not get crazy. But the next time your late elementary / early middle school child has a project, let them take the lead! Tell them you are here to help, but they are in charge!
My mind set is if the child CAN do it, let them. Test their capabilities, push them and challenge them into new areas.