I never wanted to adult. I wanted to grow up but never really to have to be an adult. As a child I watched how my mom had to take on two jobs to support us. I knew that one thing I definitely did not want to do was be an adult. I wanted to be a grown up. But I categorically knew that making big decisions and being responsible wasn’t on my to do list. I helped my mom quite a bit when we were growing up and I tried to be responsible. You would think it would have made me more responsible with money but that is for another blog post.
I knew I wanted to be a mom.
For as long as I remember, I knew that I wanted a big family filled with chaos. I even knew as young as I was, that it would never be in order.
Where am I going with this?
Well I am wondering if my year of stressing has made me baby my kids even more. Do I let them slack off a bit too much when it comes to taking on some responsibility and their place in the home? They help feed the dogs, and unpack the dishwasher but these aren’t consistent chores as such. And so, I often find myself, by default, using my outside voice inside asking them to tidy up their rooms.
My oldest is turning 8 and with it has come the realisation that I am babying her quite a bit. I want to baby her because she is my baby. As South African parents we tend to helicopter parent our kids more so than a lot of other nations because, well, we have to. It is our reality and it is one that often means staying indoors under lock and key.
Whilst I am raising girls, I don’t want to expose them to the harsh reality of the world we live in just yet. But in the same breath I need them to be a bit savvier and more independent. I feel we should be teaching kids responsibility. I need to be raising responsible kids so that they are prepared for life in the real world.
But that brings me back to the original question: how to teach a child responsibility, how do I do actually this?
The blonde one
My youngest, at 5 years old, has already figured that if you flutter your eyelashes and give your practised cute look you can pretty much get away with, well, anything.
For the record, she did not learn this from me. I am currently still trying to learn how to wink and I do not have blonde hair.
In one of our loud family discussions I put it across that I can’t believe how much the blonde already tries to use her charm. Apparently, it is a blonde hair genetic kinda thing. Therefore, genetically it has seemed to work for all the hot blondes in my family.
[Insert picture of the hot blondes]
It’s getting worse, not better
As the girls are getting older, I seem to get more pedantic with the distance aspect.
What do I mean?
Well when we go to the shops, if I could glue them to me I would. I appreciate compliments about my girls looks because, thanks I made them, but sometimes I get nervous from too much attention on them.
The stories and news have ruined my moment of pride. I struggle to explain to them that we are polite to strangers, the shop teller, the car guard but we do not need to invite them into our homes and we do not just hug them. How do we strike the balance between polite and friendly respect of people around us, and being responsible enough to stay safe and protect our privacy?
The Big Questions:
Raising responsible kids brings about other big parenting questions such as,
- When do we start using graters and knives?
- And when do we give our kids mobile phones?
The sad reality is that they will never be allowed to go to movies with their friends without me hovering close by. Yes, it ALL stresses me out. I had this discussion with a friend, how the European kids, even more so than even the British kids are that much more independent, they are given more responsibility than our 8 years old children are. The thought of my 8-year-old having to catch a bus to school, or even make a cup of tea makes me so nervous.
Obligatory throwback to “When We Were Kids” …
My brother rode to school on his bike and, not to put him down at all, but he only found intelligence later in life. Yet he had to know the rules of the road and also how to find his way home. This is quite a massive feat so I guess I should take this opportunity to say, “Congrats Bro, you made it.”
Slowly I feel myself having to find a balance when it comes to responsibility in homework, life and everything else. Where do I draw the line with the school shouting “bad mom”? I guess the kids will start wanting and pushing for their independence soon.
And then … cue my heart palpitations and the overthinking questions will start all over again: What happens if I am making it too easy and they don’t want to find independence?
Thankfully I still have the 5-year-old to baby just a little longer. But for how much longer? How long until I need to worry about raising a responsible blondie? Will it work, even with all the positive parenting I can muster?
Tell me your biggest conundrum when it comes to giving your children their independence and raising your kids to be responsible?
This post was edited by Blue Media Edit.