Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Do Lazy Parents Make For Independant Children?

I admit I'm NOT one of those moms who would do everything for a child. Especially when I know they can do it for themselves. Here are a few examples:

1. I'm too lazy to pick up toys.
My rules regarding messes:
i. You mess, you clean.
ii. Things need to be picked up from the floor before going to bed or before leaving the house.
iii. You do something for me, I'll do something for you.
iv. If it resorts to me picking up the toys, it means you will not see them for a long time or they will end up in the rubbish bin.

Lately my daughter has been pretty good. She cleaned up her playroom yesterday without me even asking (it has been messy for days). Woohoo! Yesterday the kids wanted ice-cream and I cunningly told them that the ice cream says it won't come out until things were off the floor. In 5 minutes my floor was walkable again.
Of course for me to be "lazy" I also have to make the task easy for them e.g. shelves must be low enough, boxes/containers readily available, don't demand perfection etc....

2. I don't like to wait "forever" for my kids to finish their food.
Right from the beginning I swore never to be one of those parents who run after their children trying to get a spoonful of food in their mouths.

My rules regarding eating:
i. If you want me to feed, you stay close. You want to eat, you come to me not the other way around.
ii. If I have to wait like 15 minutes before you come take another bite, you feed yourself (remember, I'm talking about children who already acquired the skills).
iii. Good food must be finished before junk food or snacks are allowed. I will not entertain any request for "other" food if lunch or dinner was not finished. Hungry? Wait for the next meal.

iv. After eating, all plates, bowl, cups and utensils must be taken to the kitchen sink.

The kids really do their best to finish their food now. Of course I have to be reasonable and help them be good eaters. I have 2 strategies that has worked well for me:
i. Put less than what I expect them to eat. If they want more, then they can have a second helping. Psychologically they feel they are such good eaters. Boost their moral. Instead of scolding, scolding, scolding and reminding them how much food they waste I get to tell them what a good job they did.
ii. Get your own food. I now leave it to my older girl to get her own rice and choose what she wants to eat. BUT she must understand that she must finish what she takes. Of course she will leave out the veges. She takes after me. I too grew up not liking veges so I know how irritating it is for people to keep telling you to "eat your veges." So I either cut the veges up very small or make it up by giving them more fruits. No use trying to move a mountain. Just find other ways to get around it.

3. I'm too lazy to pack and carry their bags.
If we need to go somewhere and I know the kids need to be occupied, I always ask them to pack their bags. They decide what goes in but I do the last inspection. I put them in charge of getting their water bottles ready meaning look for it, check if there is enough water, if not bring it to me to be filled up. And yes, I'm too lazy to carry their bags. I already have my own things to carry.
My oldest girl had to learn a hard lesson today. She was dilly dallying getting ready for school this morning. I refused to pack her school bag even though it would hurry things up. I told her it's almost time to go and said her school bag is her responsibility. She, of course, had an attack of "excuse-itis" e.g. where is my water bottle, I cannot go into the room to get it, I want someone to turn on the light etc.... I just walked to the car, turned on the engine and waited for her. I know some of you may think that is cruel but I am reminded of a Tiger Woods story. As a youngster, he turned up at the golf club one day without his golf bag. He had expected his father to get it for him. His father in turn reminded him that that was his responsibility and to be a good golfer, he has to shoulder that responsibility

Ok, that's only 3 of my lazy things. So, do lazy parents make for independant children?


  1. I think all these policies are good way to bring up children... make them more responsible for themselves :)

  2. These rules sound really great :D I will have to remember them when I have kids. they sound very practical!

  3. I've noticed that if I put too much food on Bunny's plate she seems intimidated by it and doesn't want to eat, but if I just put a little bit she's always gobbling it up and asking for more.

    The Bean, on the other hand, eats EVERYTHING in front of her... she just eats and eats and eats and eats... we actually have to stop her because she'll eat until she gags. Hmmmm... She's an eater. The only things she has really disliked so far are bananas and apples, but she's already self feeding at six months old. She even has her pincer grasp in place and eats pasta and peas at the dinner table. It's nuts!

  4. I think that those rules/situations are very well thought out and make practical sense. Nice job as a mom!

  5. Not lazy, smart. Using your energy toward the greater goal of raising accountable children is anything but lazy.

  6. Sounds like good rules to me. It takes effort to be "lazy" and teach our children to be self reliant and independant. I think a lazy mum is one who gives in to the child by running to the child to feed and packing their stuff for them etc cos its easier that way but not in the long run.

  7. iv. If it resorts to me picking up the toys, it means you will not see them for a long time or they will end up in the rubbish bin.

    Oh man. I can't tell you how many times I heard that as a kid. What an excellent motivator. :P

  8. Egghead:
    Yeah, responsibility have to be taught from young.

    Thanks for dropping by. Wishing you all the best in becoming a practical mom in the future.

    Bunny's mom:
    I think many moms would like to know what you feed Bean. Must be really delicious. Haha.

    The complimenting commenter:
    Actually, they are not well thought out rules. Like I said, they emerged because of my "laziness".

    Yay! For once my laziness is counted for good.

    Actually ah, my laziness doesn't take effort. Hahaha.

    I don't just say it. That's why it's effective. Plus if I keep putting toys in timeout or throw them away, they have less toys to mess the house with :)

  9. a&a'smom23 March, 2006 22:57

    Hey I too practise them with my boys. Inspite of having a maid (I share the household chores with my maid as it's too much for her to handle all the housework her self), I make them keep back their toys after playing, taking their plates to the sink after eating & also putting their dirty clothes in the laundry basket themselves.

  10. You can say we are lazy.. or, we can term it as teaching our kids responsibilities.

    I have started too.. Eventhough I have a maid, I want my kids to be independent and capable of themselves.

  11. I would not class that as lazy but being a responsible parent. The irresponsible parent teaches their children nothing and the spouse of that child later in life tends to suffer because of it.

    Children should learn to do things for themselves as early as possible - when my youngest (of 5 girls) was only 5 years old she was making her lunch for school just like her big sisters - because she wanted to do what they were doing and 'be grown up'.

  12. I do not agree with you! That's not lazy parenting, it's smart parenting. Lazy parents will do everything for their children so they do not have to get frustrated and angry with their children. "Want to get them to do ah? Might as well do it ourselves lor" That will be the beginning of the end for the children who will grow up expecting everything to be done for them.

    More difficult to implement when there is a helper in the house.

  13. Love it! And I agree, its not lazy it's smart! A great way to teach children responsibility. Thanks for sharing.
    Warmly, Colleen


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