Many people may think I’m a bad mother to my teenage boys. The reason for this is because sometimes they go to school without their hair combed and forget their homework. Sounds appalling right? I guess I should make sure they have it all together before they leave the house, right?
See, I think differently about parenting, say than 75% or more of most other adults. I see children with hair all in place and they always seem to have neat new clothes on. My kids, on the other hand, sometimes look like they rolled over and fell out of bed right into their mixed matched socks and into their shoes. Then out the door, they go, dragging their jackets and screaming at each other.
I guess, to most of you, that sounds rather dysfunctional. To me, it sounds normal and even necessary. Here’s why. How can we raise adults, if we do everything for them? How can they grow properly if they aren’t allowed to be messy for a while and make mistakes? So here are a few things you should stop doing if you want to watch your child grow up and make decisions on their own.
Stop making breakfast every morning and pack lunches
You heard me right. You must stop doing these things because doing these things only inhibits your child’s ability to make their own food. And why should they do this, you may ask. It’s important when you are raising teens to become adults, that you let them figure out what they want to eat.
Better yet, it’s important to give them room to practice packing healthy meals. They will fail, more often than not, but a little guidance will help them perform better the next time-guidance, not doing it for them, mind you! As for not cooking breakfast every morning, they also need to learn how to be self-sufficient in finding their own first meal. I know this sounds tough, but you will be amazed how much your teen will learn by trial and error, and that much less you will have to worry when college days arrive.
Stop doing all their laundry
I really despise it when my child would question why he didn’t have pants to wear when I was just finishing the last of three loads of laundry. I have a five-member family and I have so many things to clean, including my clothing, my husband’s clothing, which consists of work clothes, church clothes and regular clothes, which all must be washed separately.
Then there are socks and then there are whites. Then there are towels and then there’s bedding. You get my drift here? If your teen desires certain articles of clothing, then they should be capable of washing those clothes themselves. Not only is it inconvenient, it’s also unfair to assume full responsibility on the mother or even both parents.
A child must learn to do their own laundry to also give them an opportunity to grow up and take responsibility for what they want. Stop doing all the laundry and let them take some of the responsibility for their own belongings.
Stop saving the procrastinating child
I know most of us mothers have been through this many times. Your child gets an assignment, holds onto it, maybe forgets it, and then the night before its due, they panic. They look at you and expect you to save them. Don’t do it! Oh, this is a hard one too, but my statement to them is always.
“It’s your problem, you’ve had long enough to do this.”
That sounds mean, I know, but your child or teenager must learn the consequences of procrastination. I am not perfect either, and I know how easy it is to forget to do something. The point is, a parent should not have to go into emergency mode every time a child fails to mention an assignment earlier on. If you save your child every time, they will make little effort to improve their actions.
Stop Filing out all the school paperwork
You know that bundle of paperwork you get at the beginning of each year? Yeah, I hate that too. That is why, when the kids became teens, I made them start filing it out themselves. I mean, I do some of the important parts, like my personal information, and I provide signatures, but they are required to help out in massive portions.
Think about it this way. Will you be there to fill out applications for jobs for them? Will you be able to apply for their first apartment for them? Probably not! This is definitely something you must let them learn to do on their own.
Hey, and these are only a few things. It is tough love, granted, but give this tough love a chance. You may be surprised by the monumental difference it makes in child’s future. Letting them learn things on their own is a huge way to say…
I love you