Often I find myself tempted to remind my kids of things they need to do. This includes basic stuff such as “Did you wash your face this morning?” “Brushed your teeth?” — to doing their chores, homework assignments, dress up warm before heading out, etc.
Some parents constantly stay on top of their kids. It is their mother-goose parenting style, and one they may be practicing mindlessly. It leads me to ask: 1. Does such a style send a wrong message of distrust? 2. Does it take away from the youngsters’ sense of responsibility for his or her own duties?
Let’s take homework for example. If the child gets used to their parents serving as their aide memoire, they need not bother remembering. When it comes to school-work, my rule of thumb is that one reminder is plenty; if they won’t do their homework it will end up being an item between them and their teachers. But then again, I happen to have kids who mostly do their homework just fine so it’s easy for me to say.
When it comes to doing daily house chores, I admit to not always trusting my kids to remember. Despite myself, I find myself asking them, come late afternoon, if they did their household tasks. I can excuse my actions with the notion that more than once I caught them red-handed not fulfilling their duties. I can further claim that unlike homework, when it comes to the house, I am the one they need answer to. Yet I know the solution for this item is quite simple – chores not accomplished? no computer time for the following couple of days. That would do the trick. It teaches them the universal law of action and reaction. Simple as this may be, often I forget to put it into practice and the question escapes my lips: “Chores done yet?”…
What actually prompt me to discuss this topic here is the question of the parent’s role with respect to responsibility. One may claim that if a parent is not following, for example, on his kids’ homework assignments, he or she may be betraying a portion of their parental duties. Yet, if a parent reminds their child one too many times, that is not teaching responsibility. It is a thin line and one worth noticing, contemplating and observing.
Learned from: interactions with my kids