I have to smile a sly little smile when one of our very independent children get into something or help themselves. I also have to grimace a wee bit when my husband points out how overly independent they are which sometimes makes a mess. Fostering independence in my children comes very naturally to me. Maybe it’s because I was an oldest and was given quite a bit of responsibility at a young age.
My mom became very ill when I was in Junior High and High School. She battled kidney stones and mono which took most of her energy from her. Then when I was 16 she had to have a hysterectomy which propelled me to get my license in order to drive my younger siblings and myself to school. She had a long recovery due to the doctor neglecting to telling her to avoid stairs and take things easy. With all this I learned to cook and clean and care for my younger siblings when most kids were sitting at home watching cartoons.
I do not resent the fact that becoming responsible was just a part of how I was raised but sometimes wonder how I would have been if I had more “childhood” playtme. I think this is what propels me to encourage my 12 year old son to play “Army Man” and get dressed up as his favorite video game character anytime of year. I think this is why I secretly want to encourage my 11 year old to play with Calico Critters and have tea parties as long as she wants. I love to see my 5 year old dressed up like a superhero and then of course the youngest is growing up too fast acting like the older ones.
My children have a few chores, which they despise, but it’s part of life. They also get paid for those chores IF done well and daily. My house is far from perfectly clean or spit spot organized. I am a very distracted creative that needs to be doing multiple things at once just to keep my brain from exploding. Eldest and Princess are in charge of dishes and laundry. Big Red helps to put his dirty clothes in the hamper and clean clothes away. Lil’ Red helps pick up his toys or put his books away. Everyone helps cook or prepare food according to their age and skill level like Lil’ Red peeling garlic.
So what about your family, do you have independent children? Do they do chores?