Monday, 1 July 2013

Don't 'spoil' the children

It's easy to 'spoil' your children (spoil is the wrong word, but you know what I mean, and I cant think of another)
Perhaps the word is.. mollycoddle.
When they're young, cute, well behaved, fun, funny, and adorable...
It's easy to do too much
Years ago, I think perhaps, that parents gave their children more responsibility than they do now.
That's a generalization I know, but there seems to be a trend. Back in the day, children had chores. Chores they had to complete before they could indulge in activities of their pleasing. Failure to do those chores would result in a punishment.. maybe bed early, no TV...that kind of thing.
Then along came video games, adult peer pressure aka societal pressure, a little 'extra' in reality not extra cash... and 'treats' became an everyday part of life.. chore completion or not.

My own mother had chores. Growing up in Montserrat she would sweep the yard , wash and hang out the clothes, feed the animals, tie up goats, and assist her dad in bread making.. before school. When I asked her about this she said she enjoyed it.. loved having the responsibility, learning how to do things.. and making her parents proud.

Me?.. If i'm honest I wasn't given chores. I was the youngest , and my sister really 'enjoyed' washing up, cleaning , cooking, and helping mum. Yes.. very sweet she is too. Yes.. the good one.

Me?..I played.
However.. I did help out, not because I had to, but because it was fun, and I wanted to. I remember once.. redecorating my parents bedroom with my sister. We wanted to surprise my parents on their return from holiday. My final flourishes was to put up pictures of Steve Biko, Malcom X.. and a very well known painting by Ras Daniel Heartman.

Voila..(My brother had an array of quite nice pictures I thought)

They were really quite overjoyed.. I remember it well.. then my mum asked me why I've put up pictures of dead people on her wall and to take them, down immediately..
Then later on, she couldn't find her shoes.. and accused us both (to this day) of throwing them out!
The novelty had clearly worn off.

So what, how, and when do we teach our children?
I had a conversation a few months back with a friend, and it was mentioned that single parents have a tendency to overcompensate. Subconsciously doing too much.. giving in too much.. to make up for the fact that they are uno.. and not duo. Perhaps, it's internalized guilt.. perhaps it's the determination that your child/children will not miss out , lose out, or feel in any way deficient by not having a additional parent to hand. Who knows..
It's an interesting theory.

Anyway... why did I write this particular post?
I came home from work, after a long day... and had to cook dinner!
Teach your children to cook.
To be fair, my daughter can.. why did I show her and not the boys?
It's never to late.. I will be doing just that.. and getting assistance.. to ensure this is rectified.
After all.. they like to eat.

btw .. it was delish and done in a jiff.. rice.. green bananas.. okra dish.. seconds for me

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