I have a new article up at AFineParent.com. This one is all about how raising your kids to be competent adults by giving them responsibility now. Not only is this article full of great research, but it give you a little view into my family life.
Here I am. Folding laundry. The ball and chain of chores.
I thought it was bad when they were babies and they had multiple outfit changes. I buoyed my spirits by telling myself that when they were older and didn’t spit up so much and were neater eaters things would be better.
Well, let me tell you, people. It’s not better.
They are 12 and 9 now and it still never ends. I do some laundry and then there is always more that appears! Some random white t-shirt when I’d just done all the whites shows up in the basket, mocking me.
And most of it is theirs! Their pants! Their shirts! Their socks and underwear! Without me they’d never leave the house in clean clothes.
OMG. Without me they’d never leave the house in clean clothes!!
What about when they go to college? Who’s going to do their laundry?
What about when they get married? Am I setting some poor person up for a lifetime of no help with laundry duty?
Holy cow, I am!
I had to wonder what other responsibilities I hadn’t taught them about yet, either because they were “too young” or because it was faster to do it myself.
Then I wondered when I was actually going to find the time to teach them things like laundry, cooking, and washing the dishes. And what about bigger responsibilities like managing money? When was I going to get around to that?
This little epiphany hit me in the middle of folding towels. I looked down at them and realized I needed to start immediately. And I could start with towels.
That was my first step on the path to really, thoughtfully teaching my kids the life skills that lead to learning responsibility. The next step was to decide what to teach them next.