Self-Reliant Kids

I've been thinking lately about how to encourage Peter to help around the house. You know, sweep the floor, feed the baby, load the dishwasher. KIDDING!

But the thought has crossed my mind that if we continue to have kids, the older ones will need to help out more. Just like the pioneers. Oh, and my grandparents. hehe

I've been reading a very interesting book lately, Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World. I have the older version from the 80's...but it has been revised and updated in 2000.

It's called giving your child a meaningful role. Giving them significance, a place to contribute.

Glenn says, "From the cradle to the twentieth year of life, most children in America are told, 'Keep your mouth shut. Stay out of difficulty. Get good grades. Do what we tell you. Appreciate what we do for you.' They are not told, 'You are absolutely critical to the survival of our family. We need you. We could not accomplish what we do without your participation.' Is it any wonder then, that our young people feel resentful and are restless?

He goes on to discuss passivity and feelings of irrelevance. Says most children learn that they will get by in life if they do what they're told and not much more.

It's not about providing chores. It's about giving a child the opportunity to make a contribution to the household. To help them develop their sense of meaning and purpose. When people are needed, they get healthy. When people are coddled, they perceive themselves are inadequate and insignificant.

So I ask Peter to find Ezra a toy when he's crying and then praise him for how helpful and kind he is. I ask Peter to turn off the water when I have my hands full and then thank him for doing something I really needed. I hope I will be able to help my sons realize that they are capable and valuable and give them a place to be significant.