Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Giving Your Children Responsibility

I think that sometimes we underestimate what our children can do. My oldest is only ten years old but he has been able to completely run our household.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 I was determined to make sure my children could take care of themselves if they had too. My son was only six at the time but I taught him how to load the dishwasher, do laundry, and help care for his younger sisters. Once I had recovered and no longer had to worry about cancer we found out that my heart had been severely damaged by the chemotherapy. The first summer after chemo I could barely get off the couch because I couldn't breathe. My son had no choice but to run our household. This time he learned how to change diapers, make breakfast, lunch, and put dinner in the crock pot. He could completely do a load of laundry and run the dishwasher. At the time my children were 7,5,3, and six months old ( I was pregnant during my cancer experience!!).

Many people were amazed that my son at age 7 could take care of our home. I wasn't. IF we train them young enough they can do anything. Now, I'm on medication for my heart failure and I am able to take care of our home. However, during the summer there are still a few days when I can't do much and my oldest two children are able to step up and help run our home.

Teaching my children responsibility works for me! For more works for me ideas check out we are that family


Jennifer said...

Decades and centuries ago, 7 year olds did almost everything adults did. Kids just grew up much faster and were given responsibility at a much younger age. They can handle it if they are taught well by an adult. I think most parents underestimate what their children are capable of.

Anonymous said...

I agree. My 4 year old can do a lot more than most, and she is very mature. Sometime so much so I have to make sure she's having enough time to be a 4 year old too.
Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope your health improves.

Kirsty said...

Wow, you are impressive and kudos for raising such a responsible son. I am from Africa and truly, from the age of 3 little girls are considered "mother's helpers" and take care of babies-hoisting them around all day long. We really do underestimate our children's abilities and I think trusting them with more responsibility not only makes them more capable but is good for their self esteem. My prayers are with you and your family, you have been through a lot.

'Becca said...

My great-grandmother dropped out of 2nd grade to take care of her 5 younger siblings when their mother died.

My mother went through two spinal surgeries and lengthy recovery. When I was 5 and my brother was 2 1/2, we only learned to entertain ourselves and solve (some of) our own disputes. But when we were 8 1/2 and 6, we learned to cook, do laundry, and clean! Then she just let us keep doing it, a lot of the time...and we were MUCH better prepared for living on our own than most kids!

Congratulations on your recovery!

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