I have itemized lists for my start-up’s success, the dream house remodel, Christmas presents to buy, personal goals for de-stressing my life and Summer Camps To Look Into 2013. I recently read that the human brain is only capable of remembering seven things at once: hence, the brilliance of a To Do List. If you write it down, you’re more likely to remember to do it, right?
This past weekend, I attended a conference by child-development experts on how to raise globally-oriented, independent, creative, self-motivated kids. My intent was to learn in 3 hours what it would take me 12 weeks to do by reading their books. Yes, I learned a lot and yes, I did scribble a few notes on the back of the program. This morning, a friend forwarded a link to the New Yorker article, “Spoiled Rotten.” It brought up many of the same issues from the conference but it left my pre-frontal lobal taxed. I’m needing a To Do list on what to do with my kids. Trust me when I say, it’s not a joke. The experts are right. We need to raise less sucky kids. And it’s all in the parenting.
My TO DO LIST: Raise kids who don’t suck in the future
1.) Force them to make dinner for whole family once a month. Teaches independence, resourcefulness and how to a use a knife & tourniquet.
2.) Resist ALL temptations to double-knot sneaker laces. Buy box of band aids for skinned knees caused by tripping. Know that skinned knees heal but kids who don’t feel in control of their own wardrobe malfunctions do not.
3.) Throw away one toy from the playroom when anyone says “I’m bored.” Reinforce in a calm voice, “Don’t be upset. You said yourself it wasn’t fun to play with anymore.” Do not pick it out of the trashcan later than night.
4.) Don’t pay allowance for household chores (unless someone pays you to unload the dishwasher, throw used tissues in the trash or make your own bed). Teaches civic & community responsibility. Also teaches that they’ll need a very good education if they want to afford a college-graduate as a maid.
5.) Insist that the kids play outdoors all day on Sunday. Then, insist they clean up all the toys they left in the yard. Then, tell them to put the toys back “EXACTLY” where they found them. Encourages creative play, responsibility for own actions and dealing with OCD bosses and co-workers.
6.) Resist ALL urges to pick up the eraser and show child “That this is what you mean when you say erase it properly.” Same goes for the computer (“This is what you mean by editing the run-on paragraph into a few solid, coherent sentences”). Teaches everyone that 40 year olds have better way to spend their time than doing 4th grade level homework.
7.) When child is reading silently on sofa, walk over to sofa and say, “May I sit here and read next to you?” Read silently for 20 minutes. OR. If reading silently on the sofa and child comes over and interrupts in any way (other than for something that involves blood), say, “Why don’t we read silently next to each other for 20 minutes?” Enjoy the closeness. Enjoy the independence. And enjoy reading a book that isn’t about the stresses of child rearing. If you can accomplish this, then it appears you’re on the right track to raising kids who don’t suck by parents who are to blame.