Thursday, April 5, 2012

Messy Parenting

Lately I've been reading a lot of parenting advice about how to raise your kids to be self-sufficient adults.  "Helicopter parenting" (hovering around your kids and making their choices for them) is discouraged and hard work and careful instruction are advised to help your children achieve the ultimate goal of getting the heck out of your house for good.  I need some serious work in those areas. 

I hate messes and, therefore, try to avoid any activity that has the potential to be messy.  (Maybe I should rephrase for anyone who has seen my house and knows that it is always messy.  What I really hate is cleaning my house.)

For the past two weeks I have made a conscious effort to avoid helicopter parenting and actually spend time teaching my kids skills.  I broke out the puzzles (which were in a box in the basement because I hated having the pieces all over the floor all the time) and taught Miles some learning songs.  I realized these are things I did with Harrison all the time when he was Miles' age, but that was before we had a Wii.  The Wii leaves no mess and involves little parental involvement.  What it all comes down to is my own laziness.  For shame!

Our dishwasher broke a couple of days ago.  Chloe and I washed the dishes by hand Monday morning and she thought it was pretty awesome.  I told her it was even easier with four people and she said, "Wouldn't it be so fun if you, me, Daddy, and Harrison all washed dishes TOGETHER?!"  She was for real.

Last night the four of us did the dishes together and she was right.  It was so fun!  We all have daily chores and my kids have learned that if they don't do their job, often it makes it so someone else can't do theirs.  My kids understand the concept of work, but rarely do we all work together on the same task.  It got me wondering what else we could accomplish together.

It's been a good week and I'm looking forward to teaching them what they need to know to get out of the house and make it in the world.

Until then, we have many more messes to make.

7 Wisecracks:

KQ said...

Love the cute pictures! Have fun making all your messes. What are you reading? I just checked out Love and Logic from the library and started reading it yesterday. I've been experimenting with Lyla this morning, and all of a sudden she likes me when I trick her into doing things that will make her a better grown up one day, like washing her hands after she goes potty. Weird!

Mom said...

Looks like Miles already has his Easter egg on his forehead! Aaron always had one there, too.
Good luck on the parenting skills - you can do it!

Nicole said...

You are freaking me out! Jen and I recently discussed that we have not taught our kids to do certain chores because it's too messy. We don't like messes. I'm betting I don't like having my kids live with me forever even more, though. Go team!

Jess said...

Same question as Kikka- are you reading Love and Logic? It has become my favorite parenting book ever. It's so hard to teach your kids to do their own cleaning though, because right now, it's twice as hard for the parents! Way to go on teaching them to be independent. Oh, and I love how excited your older two seem to watch Miles color his eggs. Mine were very down to business and in their own world. :)

Patti said...

Good decisions! I think my favorite part about our broken dishwasher was Jeff time. He would dry while I washed. Except for late night conversations, it was our best talking time. The extra mess,and extra time are worth it.

melissa said...

Other than Amy Chua's opposite of parenting book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", most of my reading has been short articles in the Ensign (this month and last month) and from my wise blogger friends. Amy Chua had a couple of good points (not rewarding mediocrity and believing our kids are strong enough to handle difficult situations), but Chinese parenting seemed to me to be the very definition of helicopter parenting. Also some slight verbal abuse.

Also, we started dyeing eggs while Miles was asleep and I told the other two that they had to leave the rest for him. That's why they're all up in his grill and not dyeing their own eggs. :)

Angie (Drowns) Kelly said...

Interesting thoughts about Chinese parenting. We had a Chinese family live across from us in our grad school days. They spoon fed their 4 year old and it was a multi-generational home. So, maybe they don't mind if their children never leave?