We have all heard it before. The old Shakespeare quote. “Too much of a good thing.” But is it really true? Can too much of a good thing really be bad? Parents, we all know the answer to this… Yes, especially when it comes to issues with our kids… our parenting mistake boils down to this.
It was a few years ago when Becky and I realized that we were doing too much for our kids. We were cleaning up after them, etc… so we did some reading (our favorite parenting book) and we really dove into why we do these things: put their shoes away, hang up backpacks, clean up after dinner, etc.
Our kids are thankful and they aren’t taking it for granted, but it was still setting them up to not be responsible as adults. We were doing things for them because it was easier for us.
It is easier to clean up their clothes than to ask them to do it and wait ten minutes for them to come upstairs to do it.
It is easier to just put away their homework that they left on the table, than to call them in from playing outside to do it.
It is easier for us to put their lunches into their backpacks than to risk them forgetting it.
When I found that our kids were throwing clean clothes into the laundry baskets instead of putting them away, that’s when it hit us: We have got to stop doing things for them that they can do for themselves.
I had a coach in college that used to tell us. You have to take care and do the little things right. If the little things are not done, it will cause bigger problems later. So true.
If we do every little thing for our kids, they will turn into bigger problems down the road.
– A missed homework assignment now … is a missed mortgage payment later.
– Clothes not put away in their room now… is a messy house when they are adults.
– Putting clean cloths into the laundry room to avoid hanging it up now … is a lot of extra laundry for them when they are doing it in their 30’s.
– Not listening to their parents now… will be not listening to their boss when they are older.
-Skipping that chore while they are kids… will turn into skipping that assignment for their job when they are adults.
We had to step back and let the consequences play out.
– If they didn’t put their clothes away, they had nothing to wear to school.
– If they didn’t do their homework or they left it at home, they moved their clip at school.
– If they didn’t pay us back for something, we took the item (better than someone taking their house in 30 years).
– If they didn’t do their chore, they didn’t do the fun activity after.
Once we starting letting things play out as they should… as they one day will… we noticed our kids stepping up and doing their part. It was a hard lesson on us, as parents, to step back and watch them make their own mistakes and pay for it, but it was an important one.
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