I'm mortified to admit this. I don't even know when it happened. But my children are spoiled. Not in the Veruca Salt I-Want-It-Now type of way. But in the I-Can't-Do-Anything-For-Myself kind of way. I first realized we had a problem when tripping over abandoned shoes and backpacks became a daily occurrence for me. The problem escalated further when even the simplest of tasks were handed over to me:
- "Hey Mom, can you get me a drink of water?"
- "I can't get dressed. Can you do it for me?"
- "But I like it when you brush my teeth."
Every time I ask anything of the kids, one quickly responds with "I can't" (Translation: I don't want to); while the other stands like a statue, unmoving, staring at me like I'm an alien directly from the planet Zebulon.
- Time to put on your shoes. I can't. // Bewildered stare
- Put on your seatbelt. I can't. // Bewildered stare
- Take your dishes to the sink, please. I can't. // Bewildered stare
I'm the cause of the whole problem. It's embarrassing to admit, but it's the truth. Oftentimes, it's easier (and quicker) to do things for my kids than to coax and plead and listen to their never-ending chorus of complaints. Clearly the path of least resistance is getting us nowhere fast. So it's time for some changes.
I'm mentally prepared for the imminent eye-rolling, whining and protesting as I unveil and enforce our new plan. But it's high time I teach my children to be self-reliant. They'll thank me for this someday. And even if they don't, I'll know I did my best. And that's worth something in my book.
My plan: Simple, realistic, non-negotiable chores and expectations. No rewards. We all live here; we all get to help. And I promise to stop doing things for my children that I know they can do for themselves. Easy, right?
To make things a bit more exciting and motivating, I've made some visuals. Everyone gets their own daily dry-erase checklist. Even the grownups. (Who doesn't love a good checklist, anyway?) That way everyone can see we're all helping out. And I've got "chore sticks" for some additional weekend fun.
Wish me luck as I stand my ground and teach my kids some good life-lessons. I'll let you know how it goes.
Nolan will be teaching a free seminar on new and unusual dishwasher unloading techniques this weekend. Come learn from the expert.
And if dishes aren't your thing, Charlotte will be teaching a mini-class on leaving an array of hand- and footprints on refrigerator doors. It's her special talent.