Tough Love

Daniel peeling a carrot.

Tertia re-tweeted an interesting article last night from the New Yorker that I found very thought-provoking.  It basically boils down to how we are raising spoilt and lazy people.

We have domestic help (Yes! We have a lovely, sober new lady!), so hardly ever do the kids have to make their own beds.  Yes, they know to take their breakfast dishes to the kitchen (those 5 steps to the sink) and they can happily pour their own water from the convenient dispenser in the fridge. And yes, the kids can all feed themselves, dress themselves, cut their meat and brush their teeth.

But is it enough? I shamefully have to admit that Daniel wouldn’t be able to tie his shoelaces even if they magically almost tied themselves by way of fairy dust and glitter.

We make half-hearted attempts at getting them to clean up the playroom/their rooms. Etienne is way better at this than I am, I just close the door to the playroom and back away quietly.

We don’t really involve them in cooking and baking unless you count licking the bowl as helping and getting them to sniff and identify spices, something Daniel is really good at.  This is not because they don’t want to, it’s because I hover over them spooning flour etc into the mixer because God Forbid they should make a mess.  And it is infinitely harder to manage 3 helpers perched on the kitchen counter gleefully armed with spoons and flour then you might think.

But I digress.

I just often wonder about what type of people we are raising.

I wonder if we are spoon-feeding them all the answers to life or giving them the space to make their own mistakes.

I wonder if we invest enough of our own time in guiding and teaching or leaving it all up to others to do.

I wonder if we are tough enough with them.

Without sounding all Tiger-Mother-like of course.

What kind of adults do you think we are all raising? What chores do your kids have?

PS: Our new domestic lady definitely comes from a home where absolutely everything is done for the kids.  She wants to dress them, feed them and carry them the whole time.  I am horrified. I feel like a complete bitch asking her not to do too much for the kids.

PPS: Etienne left this morning on his Annual 5-Day Boys’ Trip.  Otherwise known as my Annual 5-Days of Single Parenting. Fancy that.  This morning went off well, let’s hope the we all make it to Sunday in one piece.  I’m lining up friends and partners-in-wine as I’m writing.

11 thoughts on “Tough Love”

  1. This bothers me a lot. My kids have a sense of entitlement that infuriates me.

    They each have daily chores – well they take turns and whoever is on “duty” must set, clear the table, pack/unpack the dishwasher and feed the dog. On top of this they have to tidy up after themselves. I think it is age appropriate and will be changed as they get older.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one worrying about this, I can only hope we keep the chores age appropriate.

  2. Very good question!!!! I think we r raising princesses … But when they don’t see their mother ever ironing … How can I talk???

  3. It is so easy when you don’t have kids to give advice! I think that we need to raise self sufficient children – those that know how to cope without the luxuries in life, we as adults can take for granted as we can afford them 🙂

    1. Agreed, but it’s hard to strike that balance between wanting to give your kids more and raising brats.

  4. I’m late to this discussion, but I also read the article and it interested me very much. I also worry that I’m raising helpless people. “Mom, I have no long pants,” said my 12 year old to me the other day. When his pants had been folded up (by me) and were sitting on top of the washing machine. He couldn’t look for them?? Like you, I find it way easier to do things myself than delegate and watch the mess unfold. Does that mean it’s our fault if our kids are helpless?

    1. I think we should try to find the balance between chaos and control. Easier said than done though!

  5. It is something that I think about but am not too concerned about. As a kid I was messy – incredibly so. I would NEVER clean my room no matter how much my parents begged, pleaded, bribed etc. I grew up, I moved out and I managed just fine. I do now have a full time nanny, but only after I got married. I lived on my own – neatly – for 16 years after leaving home.

    I am trying to teach my daughter independance though and the to have the ability to do things for herself, including clean up after herself. I believe this will give her the confidence she needs to take on the world. Luckly for me she wants to do everything for herself and it is a total neat freak – hopefully this continues.

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