Last week, I posted about WHY we believe in Parenting With Authority and HOW we do it. And I assured you that if you ALWAYS MEAN WHAT YOU SAY you’ll be all set. And, I stand by that. But there IS another component to the system, which is — to assume that your kids are capable of awesomeness.
A lot of my expectations of my own kids are based on my idea that if any kids ever have been capable of something, I can’t see why my kids wouldn’t be.
Note — this philosophy does not extend to things like this:
But my idea that I can leave my kids home alone while I run to the grocery store IS based mostly on this:
The more I’ve read about children in other eras and other countries, and the more children I’ve had myself, the more I’ve realized that they are capable of much more than our society expects of them.
So, here are a few things I’ve learned to expect from my own children:
They do not need access to food at all times. I carry snacks for the baby only, everyone else is perfectly capable of waiting until mealtimes (or a convenient snack time) to eat.
My school-age kids can entertain themselves without my help and/or supervision, sometimes quite capably.
The big kids can also go for walks and bike rides and little outings to the convenience store or a neighborhood restaurant or park all by themselves (together).
They can understand that they are allowed to get up in the morning and get breakfast for themselves, but that they are not allowed to scrounge about in the refrigerator or pantry at other times of the day.
|Hey, nobody’s perfect.|
Similarly, they can differentiate between being allowed to jump on the couch in the playroom, but not in the living room. And being allowed to eat and drink on the hard floor, but not on the carpet.
All of my three years olds, have been able to sit (and stand, and kneel) quietly through church without snacks or books or toys. Some of my two years olds have been able to manage it.
Basically, my point is that children throughout time and all over the world, until just recently and right around here, have been expected to be responsible, and uncomplaining, and hungry, and cold, and non-entertained, and adaptable, and helpful, and sometimes even quiet.
I have found that it is possible for my children to be those things, if only I will expect it of them and parent accordingly.