Monday, September 06, 2010

d is for delegating

Delegating: Don't do for your children what they can do for themselves. Encourage their independence.


Once upon a time, my four year old wanted to do things himself. In fact he insisted on it. I couldn't dress him, I couldn't put his shoes on, and I couldn't feed him. I admit that I felt a pang of sadness as my little boy no longer needed me for such things.

But as time passed, I got used to the idea. I remembered the wise words of a friend who said it was our job as parents to help our children become independent.

So, I became happy about delegating. I encouraged him to choose what he was going to wear (trackie pants please), helped him make his bed, clean up his toys and pour breakfast cereal into a bowl.


Well, now he'd be happy for me to do everything again. The compromise is we now have to do it together. If we don't, it's Mummy I'm too tired to do this all by myself. (And I'd be more obliging if I didn't already know he knew how to do it.)

And then there's the one year old. Hopping up onto the table to take a swig from a glass bottle left there; picking up leftover crusts from breakfast on the kitchen floor; cleaning the toilet wherever possible. Why I haven't even delegated anything to him yet.

In my experience, independence is a two-edged sword right up until they grow up (and beyond). How do I know this? We have grown girls remember... and I can see they love their independence, but at times still want the perks of when they were younger. Let's face it, there's the inner child in all of us, isn't there?

How is it with your family? Do you encourage independence by delegating? I'd love to hear your stories...

The A-Z of Parenting Tips were inspired by this article in the Courier Mail.