Justkeepsteppin's picture

Teaching children to be self sufficient...

...and the harsh backlash it causes. I was talking to (read as: getting talked at) by my mother and younger sisters about my parenting. Apparently they see me teaching my children to be self sufficient as child abuse and neglect. Puzzled

Why in the ever loving hell do people flip when they find out children have chores? My mother is also accusing me of "forcing" DD, who is 2 1/2, to grow up to fast.

VENT: My mother! who refused to cook, clean, or do laundry after I was 8 years old. AND I was they oldest of her children. I was left basically raising my baby sister who is 7 years younger than me, doing all the cooking for a family of 11, and doing my 4 younger siblings laundry.

My mother didn't even do the grocery shopping. SDad left me $20-$40 in a cookie jar and I walked 2 blocks to the grocery store every day and bought things for dinner and whatever else we had ran out of.

My 5 stepbrothers were assigned the cleaning and trash chores and the youngest 3 didn't have to lift a finger. (2 of which are the sisters that I'm referring to) My mom and SDad were rarely home. It was a "big kids watch the little kids" house.

Now I'm getting the third degree from her for teaching my children basic life necessities. Puzzled

A giant can of worms opened because my sister came over this weekend. DD 2 1/2 was helping me unload the dishwasher. When we were finished I started dinner with DD's help. She loves to help cook. I let DD cut up some of the tomatoes and onions. My sister lost her mind. DD has been using a sandwich knife since she was 1 1/2 years old. The girl can seriously make her own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I open the jars for her. You would have thought I'd given her a machete and walked away with the reaction out of my younger sister.

To make matters worse, DH was in the back yard with the 3 older kids. They were cleaning the yard up, cleaning out the shed, and filling in some holes the dogs had dug. That just added to the load of crap that spewed out of their mouths about DH and I.

Next thing I know I'm getting a giant speech from my sister about parenting. (Her oldest is 5 and she's a helicopter SAHM to 3 kids) Who then leaves and calls my mother. By the end of it I was basically told I was wrong for everything I had taught my children and step children to do for themselves.

Children shouldn't have to help clean or cook and I'm using them for child labor << seriously my sister's words.

I don't know where I'm going with this. They just pissed me off...grrr.


DirtyDiane's picture

SD is 4. DH and I both talk

SD is 4. DH and I both talk to her about needing her to clean up how own toys, clean up after herself after we eat, etc. She wants nothing to do with it and throws a complete fit. I can only imagine how a child that was never taught to clean up after themselves would act.

I think you're doing the right thing.

Justkeepsteppin's picture

You should see my younger

You should see my younger sister's and mother's houses... I don't even visit them at home because their houses are such a mess all the time. My sister's blame their kids and my mother blames my sisters for bring their kids over and not picking up after them. Meanwhile, I have the largest family and my house is usually always clean.

—

Dory: Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay".
I wonder what that means?
That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."

LadyFace's picture

Wow. Your mom and sister have

Wow. Your mom and sister have some pretty warped views. I hope you stood up for yourself and told them where to shove their unsolicited "advice."

—

Keep on keepin' on!

Justkeepsteppin's picture

You bet I did! Now they are

You bet I did! Now they are canceling Easter dinner. Boo freaking woo. They use my house for every holiday and invite the whole family. It doesn't bother me one bit if they want to skip it now. I get sick of playing hostess to a party they are throwing.

—

Dory: Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay".
I wonder what that means?
That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."

justanothergurlNJ's picture

And it's that mind set is why

And it's that mind set is why e have teens and young adults who can't do for themselves. Yet is wasn't child labor or abuse when our parents taught us. Brush it off. You are doing your kids and skids a great service by teaching them life skills.

—

The custodial parent is the parent who has physical custody of his or her child/ren for the majority of the time. As such, the custodial parent carries most of the responsibility for raising the child, even though the non-custodial parent may be involved.

MorriMom's picture

"Mom, sis, I include my

"Mom, sis, I include my children in day to day activities to both teach them HOW things are done and get them used to responsibility. It is my goal that they be self sufficient and feel part of things. Balancing work and play is a vital part of being a healthy individual and I want to instill those values within my children at an early age in the hopes that it becomes natural to them as they take on more responsibilities with age. While I appreciate your input, I do not welcome accusations of abuse. Talk to me like that again and I swear in the name of all things sacred I will tear open the skies and rain down the wrath of-"

And it just goes on like that...

—

- Qualified resident goose
- Zealots normally say that this tastes like chicken. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. There are no loose ends
- Remember, if nothing will count you out, urine.

ESMOD's picture

I would tell mommy that you

I would tell mommy that you learned this from her Evil

"Don't you remember me going grocery shopping for the household and cooking our meals".

Seriously, there is nothing wrong with kids doing age appropriate tasks with supervision. I have to say that doing certain things... like being in charge of setting the table or making the salad dressing can make a child feel special.

Justkeepsteppin's picture

I think that's the part that

I think that's the part that pissed me off the most. My mother is delusional when it comes to her memories from our childhood now that we are grown. She thinks she was June Cleaver.

—

Dory: Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay".
I wonder what that means?
That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."

classyNJ's picture

Did you remind them what you

Did you remind them what you did when you were 8 years old? That should have shut them down!

sunshinex's picture

When SD was 3, I started

When SD was 3, I started getting involved in parenting her/teaching her things because I worked days, DH worked nights, so I would be left alone with her all night. Up until then, my husband (then boyfriend) was quite the disney dad who didn't have her doing much, mostly because he felt bad about her mom walking out (he's changed now but still) so I started teaching her simple things - how to get a glass of water, cleaning up her toys after herself, how to turn the bath knob and start the bath, just little things that would help her in her day-to-day life.

DH's family was NOT happy. He went to brag about all the great stuff sunshinex was teaching her - telling them how independent she's gotten since I started watching her at night - and they were like "she's not supposed to be independent she's 3!" "why can't sunshinex just run her bath for her!" "can sunshinex not get her a drink when she needs one?" lol he just gave up and told them he thinks i'm doing a great job teaching her things she'll need to know in life and that was that.

It's ridiculous how much some people baby their children. Like holy crap, if you don't teach them simple basic things at a young age, how do you think they'll pick it up? Do you think they just magically develop life skills when they're older?

zerostepdrama's picture

Sometimes I find it so much

Sometimes I find it so much easier to do certain things myself and not make BS11 do them.

BUT then I remember... what he knows at 18 is what he is going to know when he is an adult and out of my house.

Sounds like you are doing a great job!

—

"I don't take stuff personal from a person who doesn't know me personally."

"It so doesn't matter who likes us... WE like Us."
-Pom Pom Squad

Maxwell09's picture

This is stupid. Kids at 2-2.5

This is stupid. Kids at 2-2.5 LOVE to help their mommy with chores. It's usually listed as a common trend in two year olds to be Molly's little helpers and part of a milestone. I remember SS at 2 walking around with the swifter because I was mopping. I also bought him the kids utensil set from the grocery store that has a mini bigger knife and I let him use that all the time to cut his own bananas for oatmeal and fruit salads. HE LOVED IT. He still helps me unload the dishwasher sometimes and is responsible for keeping his room tidy at five. I also make him put his dirty school clothes in the wash for tomorrow. Don't listen to them! Forming these self-sufficient basic life skills now and encouraging the habit early will make it second nature for them when they're older. My mom sometimes says I'm too hard on SS of BS but I ignore it. She was harder on me and my older brother, our kids have a damn good life and spending a few minutes each day tending to "LIFE" isn't going to kill them.

TwoOfUs's picture

Exactly. My nephew is 3 and

Exactly. My nephew is 3 and cries if anyone else sorts the silverware. My mom has chickens / eggs and she won't collect them if she knows he's coming over because he loves to do it so much...he loves to count them, talk about the colors, wash them off in the hose, and put them in the containers. How are kids supposed to learn applied math and other skills if they never have to do anything for themselves. My nephew can do basic addition and understands the concept of a dozen and a half-dozen...all because of chores.

Justkeepsteppin's picture

My 2 year old is the same way

My 2 year old is the same way with the silverware. That is one of her favorite things to do. She loves to help put up the groceries. Every time I come home from the grocery store she starts unpacking everything and putting it up. If DH tries to help she tells him that she's a big girl and it's her job and takes the food away from him. Laughing out loud

—

Dory: Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay".
I wonder what that means?
That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."

TwoOfUs's picture

So strange that people

So strange that people actually think this way.

You could say what my mom used to say to me and my siblings when we accused her of "using" us to get "her" work finished. (How I cringe to realize those words actually came out of my mouth. How embarrassing and unfair to my wonderful mom. Like it was somehow "her" work to clean up after us, do all the laundry, cook us every meal...) Of course, we were totally inconsistent because there were other times that we wanted nothing more than to help her around the house, unload the dishwasher...etc.

Mom: "I'm not 'using' you to get work finished. I'm using the work to get you finished. Now set the table."

Peridwen's picture

That is a freaking AWESOME

That is a freaking AWESOME response from your mom! I'm using it on SD next time she complains about having to do chores!

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**************************************

"I'm not 'using' you to get work finished. I'm using the work to get you finished. Now set the table." - TwoOfUs's Mom

TwoOfUs's picture

I know. It really is perfect.

I know. It really is perfect. She was a great teacher and had a memorable way with words. A lot has really stuck with me.

Aniki's picture

Perfect!!

Perfect!!

—

"I feel like I'm reading food erotica. Fifty Shades of Aniki's Wine and Dinner." ~Gimlet

"When Echo met her hot hunky husband, shce was immdiately dickmatized." ~WOB

DaizyDuke's picture

I'm kind of torn on this. I

I'm kind of torn on this. I agree that children are only little once. Let them be little. They have the whole rest of their lives to do chores. I had a chore chart when BS was 5 or so, but that was at HIS request, he WANTED to do things. That lasted 6 months or so, then it just became a hassle to have to remind him to do things.. that I honestly didn't care about, I could care less if I have to clean the toilets, it takes all of 1 minute. I could care less if I have to unload the dishwasher, it takes all of 2 minutes...you know? To be honest, I didn't have to do chores when I was a kid, the only thing that I was required to do, was keep my own room clean (bed made every morning, no clothes on floor etc)

I believe that children model adult behavior. I think BS7 seeing that I keep the house clean and tidy and no dishes in the sink, laundry always done etc. IS teaching him how to live when he gets older. I am, however, a FIRM believer in picking up after your damn self. I do ride him if he leaves his pjs in the middle of his bedroom floor, instead of putting them in the hamper, I do ride him if he leaves his empty cereal bowl on the table, I do ride him if he leaves his toys in the living room etc.

He actually WILL do helpful things all on his own, so again, I think a lot of "teaching" kids is simply modeling good behaviors.

—

ღIt' all fun and games until someone doesn't pick up on the sarcasm ღ
ツ I wish I was as thin as my patience ツ

TwoOfUs's picture

Yeah...I agree with this to

Yeah...I agree with this to an extent, as long as you're not teaching your son that he only has to do work when he feels like it. That could end up being crippling. But it sounds like you are teaching him to be self-sufficient and clean up after himself. It also sounds like your son is naturally helpful, which I think most kids are at first, if that instinct doesn't get spoiled out of them.

I think a lot of what people refer to as "chores" is simply tidying up after yourself...plus maybe pitching in a little around the house that you live in and benefit from. For example, in my house we had the mom cooks, everyone else sets the table and cleans up rule. That seems like a fair division of labor to me. I'm the oldest of 6, so my mom really did need the help! I think my childhood was protected and certainly wasn't shortened in any way by having some chores in the house that I lived in.

I think OP is more talking about self-sufficiency, though. Getting their own drinks, cleaning up after themselves, pitching in. I have been around kids who expect to be waited on hand and foot by the grown-ups, and it's sad for them and unpleasant for everyone else. In my experience, these are usually the children of parents who care more about having everything done to perfection than they care about teaching their children to take initiative.

HeavenLike's picture

I had this battle with my own

I had this battle with my own mother, who lived with me and my kids for a few years. I was soooo mean and soooo strict and those poor kids had way too many chores blah blah blah.

I wanted them to be as independent as possible. She thought I was a bad parent.

Something happens to the grandparent brain.

TwoOfUs's picture

I think their own genes are

I think their own genes are diluted just enough to make the g-kids utterly spoilable.

Like...your kid is half you, and therefore attached to you and to your ego in a complex and inexplicable way. You see your own faults magnified...it's tough. You're also more likely to be on the hook if the kid gets in trouble or doesn't launch. Lots of motivations to make the kids learn some self-suffiiciency!

JustMee's picture

I don't understand the

I don't understand the reasoning of letting kids be kids. What is the magical age that they suddenly have to stop being kids and start doing things for themselves?

In my opinion it is better to teach as early as they can comprehend and do. It's not harmful to learn anything.. it's a benefit.

SS6 is learning to do his own laundry. He sorts his dirty clothes and brings them to the washer. I fill the detergent, turn it on and he loads it. I transfer the clothes to the dryer and turn it on. When they are dry he folds his own clothes and takes them to his room to put away. His folding isn't the best, but it's good enough and he gets better at it every time he does it. I don't see the harm in letting him do this for himself. He also sweeps (badly lol) the floors and helps pick up after meals. He is responsible for keeping his room tidy and his toys etc brought back to his room at bedtime. He also has plenty of time for play.

When he is old enough to handle dishes properly he will be washing and putting away dishes.. and I'll not feel like he is being deprived his childhood. Instead I will feel like he is learning to be self sufficient and have the skills to take care of himself without relying on anyone else.

My DH was raised to be a kid and never expected to do any housework or to help out. He is a grown man who can not load a washing machine, does not know how to load and start a dishwasher or how to cook much. He does not want SS to be like that. DH is also learning, although he happily will let someone else to the house chores.

TwoOfUs's picture

Also...I remember, as a kid,

Also...I remember, as a kid, feeling like the days got soooooooo long and soooooooo boring. I think grown-ups forget that kids perceive time totally different than we do...and they generally aren't "stressed" by a huge To-Do list in the same way that we are. While doing chores or helping my mom cook or bake or whatever as a kid...I never once felt the weight of the responsibility. Sometimes, just out of laziness, I didn't want to do it. But it's not like I worried or somehow became a full-fledged grown-up too early because my mom asked me to set the table or dust once a week.

Aniki's picture

^^JustMee, I agree. From the

^^JustMee, I agree.

From the time we (my siblings and I) could walk, our parents had us put away our toys.
At age 4, we started helping with the dishes by drying silverware or get silverware out and setting the table.
In 1st grade, we packed our own lunches.
At age 10, we opened our own banking account.
By age 12, all of us could clean house from top to bottom, do all laundry (and iron), and cook a multiple-course meal for the family.
Every single one of us was self-sufficient and ready to launch at age 18.

—

"I feel like I'm reading food erotica. Fifty Shades of Aniki's Wine and Dinner." ~Gimlet

"When Echo met her hot hunky husband, shce was immdiately dickmatized." ~WOB

lintini's picture

I'll need to tell my DH that

I'll need to tell my DH that your 2 year old does more around the house than SS15. Every time, same old thing, load your dishes dude I'm not the dish fairy, close the toilet seat, get the dirty cups out of your room. Every. Single. time. DH still tells him to shower. It's weird.

—

Parrots vs Stepson
Messy, loud, and they repeat what you say (and they pick up the bad stuff first)

B22S22's picture

My former MIL always bragged

My former MIL always bragged about how she had her 3 boys "trained" from an early age to do cooking, housework, etc. When she and FIL got home from work, it was expected that dinner had been started by the boys, laundry had been started, the dishwasher was unloaded, trash taken out, table set, etc. All MIL and FIL had to do was come home, sit and read the newspaper for a little bit, then be served a meal. And the boys had to clean the kitchen afterwards. They they had other weekly household duties they were expected to perform -- clean their rooms, their bathroom, lawn work, etc.

It all sounds good in theory. And hey, I thought it was a great thing when MIL told me all about it before my first DH and I got married.

I QUICKLY found out that she musta done worked all that out of my first DH in childhood because as an adult he wouldn't do ANYTHING around the house. It was horrible.

But I do keep my kids in line with their expectations... clean room, do their own laundry (mind you, my kids are 16 and 19), help in the kitchen, clean their bathroom.

—

Sometimes you don't realize you're actually drowning when you're trying to be everyone else's anchor

Justkeepsteppin's picture

That's pretty much how I was

That's pretty much how I was raised.

—

Dory: Hey, look. "Es-ca-pay".
I wonder what that means?
That's funny, it's spelled just like the word "escape."

LadyFace's picture

I think some people will do

I think some people will do the bare minimum unless their ass is being ridden. I was raised in a similar fashion. I had chores every day, house cleaning, laundry for a family of five, preparing meals for the family, PLUS farm work like weeding the garden, feeding the animals, picking rock, bailing hay, etc. We worked our butts off, all of us. As a family, we pitched in and made it.

My little brother and I work our butts off to this day. We definitely learned the value of effort. Older brother? He's a pig who hasn't worked in a decade. All of us were raised by the same parents in the same fashion. Some personalities just suck and no amount of parenting can cure that.

Were your former BILs slugs as well or did they turn out better?

—

Keep on keepin' on!

B22S22's picture

My first DH was the middle

My first DH was the middle child ('nuf said...). The eldest BIL to this day is meticulous about EVERYTHING. He's been a single parent for a very long time (his ex-wife passed away the year before my first DH passed away - their daughter was 8 or 9 at the time), so almost 15 years. That guy has shoes older than his daughter, and they look brand new. He's a better cook/housekeeper than about anyone I know.

When he and my DH were posted at the same Army post (after DH and I were married) he pretty much lived with us although he also had to maintain a room in the barracks. I LOVED having him around, as he was extremely helpful with housework, cooking, etc especially since I also worked and spent 2 hours a day driving back and forth. He did that in exchange for rent (not that I would have ever charged him rent, but it was nice!!).

The younger one was probably along the same lines as my DH. I don't know about now, as I'm no longer terribly close with former MIL, FIL, younger BIL or his family.

—

Sometimes you don't realize you're actually drowning when you're trying to be everyone else's anchor

LadyFace's picture

Interesting. I'm also a

Interesting. I'm also a middle child, but I don't know what 'nuff said implies lol.

—

Keep on keepin' on!

B22S22's picture

It was always a joke between

It was always a joke between my first DH and my older brother (who was also a middle child). Implying "the forgotten one"... therefore desires any attention, even if it's negative.

Huge assumption on my part, not every middle child is like that. No offense intended.

—

Sometimes you don't realize you're actually drowning when you're trying to be everyone else's anchor

LadyFace's picture

Oh, I was the only girl, so I

Oh, I was the only girl, so I had plenty of attention. And I'm harder to offend than that! Smiling

—

Keep on keepin' on!

Anonymama's picture

Ban them from your home! I

Ban them from your home! I make my kids help out, too!

Acratopotes's picture

have you reminded your mum

have you reminded your mum how your childhood life was.... I bet you she's going to deny it...

for your sister... I would tell her oh shut the hell up we can have this discussion when your kids are 30, still living at home and you still do their laundry while mine is out on their own, with their own families earning a huge huge income

—

When you are dead, you don't know that you're dead. All of the pain is felt by others...

The same thing happens when you are stupid