Tuesday, April 20, 2010

hard work and independence

Lately as my mind does it's regular getting-distracted-from-the-task-at-hand thing my thoughts keep jumping into this place in my brain called the "worry section."

This part of my brain is full to overflowing with worry of all sorts, but most prominent these days is worry about how to teach my kids to be hard workers. I worry about whether or not they really know how to do hard things. I worry about how to teach them to see what needs to be done, then roll up their sleeves and DO it.

To be honest, I'm scared for them. I think we live in a generation of giving our kids too much (just my humble opinion from my little, minuscule slice of life here in the desert...if you don't agree with me stop reading here). We're quick to jump in the car and drive them where they need to be, even if it's just around the block. We hand out money they haven't earned so they can go hang out with their friends. We pay for their camps and their lessons. They don't really own anything so they don't know what it means to really take care of things. They just ride along comfortably through life and get pampered.

And my question is this: what does that mean for their future selves??

Now, let me back up and say that of course, this scenario of "giving too much" is a vast generalization. Obviously not all kids are like that. My kids, in particular, do pay for a bunch of things themselves and are at least partially money conscious. They do their jobs around the house and they are relatively responsible. But is that enough?

I have two stories to share:

Story #1:
A couple months ago Max was running late for school. He had dawdled a little bit over his breakfast waffles and had forgotten to finish up a couple math problems the night before which had put him behind. As we rushed to pack up his lunch, he asked if I could drive him to school (he usually rides his bike). I took a deep breath wondering if I was going to be able to fit in everything else to help the girls get out the door in the next half hour if I took him up on his request. His school is super close...it would only take a couple minutes. I'd probably be fine on timing and it would be good to have him to myself for a few minutes. But Dave piped in and said no way. He assured Max he'd be fine on time, and if he wasn't maybe he'd learn to be sure to finish his homework earlier next time. And with that, Max left for school. No harm done. All was well.

Simple story, right? Nothing earth-shattering or mystifying about it; my child just got himself to school with no help from his push-over mother.

But I'm telling you, I keep thinking about this incident. I keep thinking how David (I'm trying to call him that instead of Dave) did Max a world of good by not letting me pamper him. And it makes me SO thankful. That little incident has changed how I think about a lot of things.

Story #2:
A few months ago I was talking to my friend about what life was like as we were growing up. She told me when she was younger she was dying to take gymnastics lessons. Her parents couldn't afford them so she went and got herself two little jobs to pay for it herself. Let me emphasize this: she saved up her pennies and put herself through gymnastics. And she learned so much from the experience.

Again, no over-the-top amazing-ness seeping out of this story. A girl saw her dream ready to pass her by and decided to do something about it.

I LOVE that story.

I can't stop thinking about that one either.

I want my kids to be that girl. I want them to know the victory of hard work. I want it to change the way they think and the way they act and the way they appreciate things.

I wrote about this here too, way back then and I'm still in a quandry about it.

It's on my mind all the time.

So the other night we sat our kids down and had a big talk. We will be easing off on the business of "pampering." And it's not because we don't adore them. It's precisely because we DO adore them and we want them to learn independence and hard work. We want them to lead happy, healthy lives and we don't think we'd be doing them any real favors by letting them live a life of luxury.

Wish us luck, and please, if you have any great "hard work" and "independence" ideas send them on over.

44 comments:

The Duff Gals said...

I wish I had words of wisdom, but this is still something that I struggle with with my daughter. I have the same fears and worries you do. I will be interested in hearing how things are going for you.

Ashley said...

This post came at a really good time for me. Hope you don't mind a bit of a novel...
My two stepkids have always lived with their mother. Tyler is 18, and Mariah is 15. Well, Mariah has pretty much always done OK, but Tyler has pretty much always struggled. Lately, his struggles have led him to get involved in some pretty dangerous drug activity. Finally, around the beginning of March, he came to stay with us and I immediately sent him to rehab. He stayed there a month, and then came back here. He decided that he really wanted to go into a sort-of half-way house to help him learn to live in the world. To take care of himself and such. Here's where your post comes into it:
When I went and dropped him off at this place, I sat down with the Director of the program. She said to me that about 90% of the kids who end up in this situation come from one of two kinds of homes. (Or a combination of the two)
Home type #1: The Controlling Home
This is the home where the parents control everything. The kids have little to no freedoms, they aren't allowed to make their own decisions, etc.
Home type #2: The Enabling Home
This is the home where everything is done for the children. They are provided with everything they could ever need, as well as many things they want. They don't understand the value of things, and they've never learned the value of work. Often they lack gratitude.
When I left that center, I spent so much time evaluating what kind of home I'm creating for my kids. It's so important for them to learn to work. I can't say that I know the best way to get it done, but I was grateful for your reminder this morning.
(I'm, in no way, implying that anything negative is going to happen with either of our children, but this experience with Tyler was really an eye opener for me)
Good Luck! I'm quite sure you're doing better than you feel like you are, most of the time!

beck said...

two stories from my childhood. Max's situation reminded me of when I didn't get ready in time one morning and missed the bus. We live in the country. My mother was teaching me a lesson about independence and responsibility for myself. She didn't make me walk all the way to school (thank goodness) but she drove me 2/3 the way and made me walk the rest. And if we really wanted to stay after school for sports we had to walk (I was like 11). We had a big family and she couldn't be catering to every want we had, but it taught me to do hard things to achieve what I wanted.

Second story I was in high school FFA and wanted to raise a lamb for the fair. I didn't have the money. My parents didn't give allowances just expected you to do your jobs as part of being the family. So I told them what I wanted to do and my dad told me to draft a written proposal of what my goals were, the costs, expected income from selling the lamb and why they should help me finance it and how I would repay them. I did and they accepted. I'm sure they would have helped me without the plan but it was a great teaching tool and my dad talks about that proposal and still has it to this day. He reminded me of it when I was 22 and needed to borrow a little money from them to buy a car. It really taught me nothing comes for free and to value their money.

Ann Marie said...

I agree that the younger generation is too pampered. My daughter is a toddler so I can't expect too much from her yet but I will later down the road. My mother in law pampers her kids (17 & 15) and it drives me nuts. Nothing is expected of them! Not housework, chores, finishing their homework. I can't wait to see the ideas you get

brudcrew said...

I just started reading a book that is not only helping me see a different future and goals for my children but for myself as well. It is written by teens for teens. I plan to read it with my children in a couple of years when they get a little older. It is "Do Hard Things A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations" by Alex & Brett Harris.

Sydney said...

Great words and great thoughts. It is easier for us to do for our children than to see them suffer through a situation. I think that is called "a mother's heart"-ha! We are soft and tender towards our children.
Hard things, or letting them figure out what needs to happen, or how to do things without our help, is really good for our children. It is knowing when to step in and help out that becomes tricky. I have grown to appreciate the natural consequences because of decisions our children make..mostly because we as parents most often know ahead of time what is going to happen, and can decide how good or safe the consquence is going to be for that particular child. Your son getting himself to school was all good in my book. He did it! That was great.
Something that has worked really well in our family towards "not giving our children everything they want "....if they really want something, they must earn half of the cost of said product. They appreciate it so much more. My son recently lost his i-pod. He is now mowing lawns to re-earn his money to replace his i-pod. Another idea that has really helped our children understand their earning power and priviledge of money....if they want to drive the 'school - car' they have to pay for their own gas and change the oil. By the time they are 16 they know how to earn money and usual have a small part-time job. At the same time, they begin to buy a few clothing items for themselves with their earnings. By college time, they are buying the majority of their clothing and paying for their "fun" activities.
Good luck to you and your family. I admire all that you are doing to raise such a good and solid family. I enjoy reading your blog and since I am an older mother, I am reminded of many joys and hardships of raising small children. They grow so fast. Continue to enjoy it all.

Vicki said...

Your post really hits home with me. I struggle with this too because I know I am too soft and give in too easy! My husband is much better at being "tough" than I am. I don't want to be so soft and I agree with you 150% that this generation is so much more spoiled than we were. I too want them to know what hard work is and the value of earning something yourself.
I did have a situation with my 10 yr old recently where he procrastinated and fooled around with his homework. For some reason, I didn't check it with him that night and the next morning he remembered he hadn't finished. He wanted to try to do it quick. I didn't allow him to do it and he had to face the consequences of turning in an incomplete assignment. I felt horrible but felt he needed to learn that lesson.
My kids are 7 and 10. I was wondering about you saying your kids use their own money...do they get an allowance? I've been wondering about allowance, but I've always been of the mindset that they live in the house and as a part of the family, they are responsible for helping the home to "run". In other words, I don't think they should get paid for their chores. However, I do believe in allowance. I just don't know how to structure it. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Anyway, thanks for your post - I'll be anxious to see what kind of ideas come from it!!
Vicki :)

Ruth H. said...

Wow, I love reading the insights of others' comments. So insightful, so many perspectives!

My husband and I both had to pay our own way through college. Growing up, we didn't get whatever we wanted whenever we wanted it. It had to be that way because of our parents' incomes, but we both value the experiences we had because of this.

Now, my husband's income is more than adequate for our families. (I was startled to discover recently that he's now making four times what my own father was during the time he had two on missions and two at college. I'm not bragging, it is just very humbling to realize that and wonder if I'm as responsible with that money as I should be.) Anyway, we have learned to create opportunities for our children to learn to do hard things. Jobs around the house, outside, doing things for other people, etc. My son was supposed to participate in a fundraiser for a club he was in; instead of letting him sell candy, we sent him around the neighborhood to offer yardwork in exchange for donations to the club. We thought is was more valuable to receive money because he actually did something to earn it. He's done this every year since he was seven. We start our kids out very young with simple jobs, and then as they get older, we give them more complex tasks.

I think the biggest key to the success we've had so far is that we recognized early on that if our kids were going to contribute to yard and household tasks, we couldn't expect perfection. We COULD expect completion and we could help them recognize what a job well done looked like. However, we had to have realistic expectations of how long it would take a child to complete the task and that the end result might be far from perfect. At my house, the windows have streaks, the vacuum lines aren't in a distinct pattern, and tulips aren't planted symmetrically. I've given up perfection, but I've gained children who are proud to be contributing to the beauty of our home.

Sorry to write my own blog post, here! I just feel so strongly about this topic.

Sarah said...

Shawni-The same things way heavily on my mind. I am constantly trying to analyze what worked/didn't work for MY generation and the one a little younger. I don't think there are any set answers...even the first comment...I think has some truth, but not all. I know parents who pampered their children...and some are hard workers and some aren't...a personality thing. Sometimes it's what they see in their parents lifestyles...by example. Sometimes it's a sense of entitlement...and I've seen this with kids who grew up working hard, with not much, if anything, given to them.
I am on this journey with you...but I know what worked for me...my parents made me do lots of chores, lots of HARD labor. We had lots of fun too and it wasn't that different from what most of my friends had to do. Jobs at an early age...as soon as we were old enough, we bought most of our clothes and shoes and anything else we wanted.
But more than anything, I think a SPIRIT of gratitude in the home, talk of "where money comes from", and NATURAL consequences...just like the example of the story you gave....which is darn hard to do sometimes.

pakosta said...

I 100% agree with you on this topic and want to start living my life this way as well. With only 2 children, I feel like my girls are soooooo very pampered, spoiled and very unappreciative at times of what is done for them. I want them to learn to be responsible and hard working as well. I see this as a book coming on of all the parents words of wisdom on this topic! keep us posted about advice! you are AMAZING!
tara

pakosta said...

http://www.therebelution.com/blog/

p.s. someone mentioned this book, but they have a website as well and it's awesome! esp. for teen boys! tara

Erin L said...

This is something I think about often. Every time I sit my 3 year old in front of the TV while I do housework my guilty conscience says "Erin, have her join you." I figure if I start young (and it seems you have) then hopefully when they are teenagers and older it will come more naturally. One of the ladies in the RS presidency with me said that her daughter (a college student) lost her job about 2 weeks too early and has to spend the last few weeks of the semester almost penniless. As much as the mom wants to bail her out, she says instead, "you have paid your tithing and are trying to do what is right. trust in the Lord." Wow! What a powerful message to teach your kids. I think you are doing a great thing. I hope that I remember this as my kids get older.

Mandee said...

I was just talking with a friend about this- how difficult it can be as a parent to show restraint. We are trying to find the right balance with our five kids, as well. That "Do Hard Things" book sounds interesting. I'll be watching for more posts on this subject.

Rebecca said...

I love this idea...as a middle school teacher in an affluent area, I couldn't be happier than when my students tell me they earned something. There is a lot of eye rolling involved, but also a sense of pride. It means so much more when they earn it rather than just ask for it. I should know...I worked a lot harder in my Master's (which came out of my pocket) then I did for my Bachelor's (which was paid for by my parents). I get it now...

Nichole said...

This has been very heavy on my mind too! Was it Cavinee's cow story? I have a really hard time finding a balance between what is pampering and what does each child really need? I read the 5 languages of love and some kids really need that extra attention and love where others don't. Hard work is so important! I feel like my kids do the business chore stuff around the house but don't really get out there and sweat and do really hard things. Our society is getting so busy filling our time with so many other things (which are good too) that we don't have time to fit in the hard work. It really worries me! Let me know if you come up with any grand ideas.

Crystal said...

It is so funny you wrote this today. I just had a conversation with my best friend about the exact same subject. Finding a balance, teaching responsibility, and teaching gratitude in an ungrateful and privileged society. I love that you and your husband practice such mindful parenting. I'm sure you are raising great kids.

dg darling said...

Amen Sista! My husband and I were just talking about this on Saturday. Just curious...what are you implementing? We actually talked about starting the money system on your parents' values website but I didn't explain it well I guess since he still feels like that is just letting them spend money on anything they want and then (me) most likely bailing them out in then for necessities (yeah, I'm the push-over). Do you guys do allowance? How do you do it? Let us know what you try please!

P.S. I met your mom today in the Apple Store at the Gateway in SLC...what a delightful lady! She would laugh at this but for me it was meeting one of the people I admire most!

Cardalls said...

My husband wants to move to a farm, buy cows and pigs and have our kids raise them for money. It won't happen but he is super stressed about the working thing. We too live in teh desert and have a super tiny yard so mowing the lawn takes 5 minutes...it is HARD to find ways for our kids to work for long periods of time! Would love more ideas on teh subject!

becca said...

I've worried about this too. I look back on my upbringing where money was really tight and where my sister and I had to share a bedroom until one of our brothers got married. I look back when my husband and I got married and we started out in a one room apartment and I remember when my husband told me that we would most likely never own our own home (we live in Switzerland and house and land prices are really high; over 2/3 of the population live in rental properties) I accepted that and was over the moon when the opportunity arose to buy our own home. We knew what sacrifice and pressure this was for us but our children don't understand the process we went through to give them the standard of life they are living today and are used to. I worry that they will get married and expect to have a 5 bedroom house from the start and not realize that they have to start out small.

We have taught our four children (11-19 yrs) from infancy that they need to help out around the home. We've told them that Daddy doesn't get a wage unless he works for it and neither should they. We started off having them empty the dishwasher or set the table and now the older two kids clean the bathrooms. It's preparing them for their future lives and I wish my mother had done the same for me. I got married when I was 18 and learnt through trial and error. A few months ago I informed the children that if they don't keep up with their chores then I won't do their laundry..... (am I mean?)

My husband had a missionary companion who up until his mission would have his clothes laid out for him by his mother. My husband was his trainer and actually had to show this young man how to take responsibility for his own life - washing clothes, how to deal with money, cooking, cleaning, even personal hygiene... This is not going to happen to my kids!

I don't think we are doing our children a favor by pampering them. I must admit I do find it hard to let them feel the consequences, for exmaple when they are late and miss the bus or when they have forgotten to do their homework. Our 14 year old was given detention and it cured him really quickly!

I know talking about money and wages is a sensitive topic but once in a while when one of the children moan about not being able to have something and that it not being fair, I take them aside and show them the bills for the month and pretty quickly they stop asking. They just need to be made aware what life costs and that nothing is free.

I love my kids more than anything and want them to be happy and content but I also want them to appreciate what they have and not take it for granted.

I also understand why God made men and women so different. My husband would have reacted the same way to Max as yours did and my initial reaction would have been the same as yours, so I am so glad that we think and tick differently (men less emotional) to help balance everything out :)

Good luck....

becca said...

Oops, sorry for the long post!

Katy said...

When I'm thinking about teaching my kids "do work," a phrase from Moses 5:1 "by the sweat of his brow" comes to mind. Teaching our children how to work hard allows our families "to experience some of the greatest joys and satisfactions life has to offer." (Taken from the Ensign)

How do we do it?

I'm calling the HOA to see if we can't have a chicken coup installed. Hannah and Elle can go door to door selling fresh, organic eggs. What do you think?

I adore you, Shawni!

Katy said...

pardon my typo. I meant, "When I'm teaching my kids to "Do Work, son!"

kara jayne said...

you and i have talked a lot about this, buti figured i'd chime in anyway.

i have always been so grateful for my parents and their determination to make us work. i had a job at 14 (of course babysitting started at age 10) and never asked my parents for money. if there was something i wanted, i paid for it myself.

by teaching our kids to work, earn, and be good stewards of their things we are not only teaching hard work, but building character. i have always felt capable and that is something i realize is lacking in many individuals. i know it comes from the fact that my parents gave me the opportunity to 'do hard things'.

Carol said...

My husband and I wanted our children to be compassionate, hard-working, and provident. They babysat, mowed lawns, and worked hard in school. Now they are teaching their children the same principles.

Although I was not a perfect parent--and neither are they--I feel that children and adults are happier when they learn to live within their means, appreciate the blessings they have, and seek to serve and learn. I am especially happy that my daughter, who is married to a successful physician, is teaching her children to be frugal, giving, and hard-working ;)

Susan said...

Thank you. This is exactly what I posted about a couple of days ago titled (laundry and lunches).
The school of hard knocks needs to open up again. I don't mean this in an unsupportive or unloving way, I mean as in a teaching method. I often wonder if I'm doing more harm than good when I try to interfere in what could otherwise be a valuable lesson learned.

Eyrealm said...

Love it! The only thing I would add is that good kids, sometimes especially teenagers do work pretty hard already with all they have on their agendas...homework,lessons,team sports, games, performances, church activities. It's all a game of balance! They can handle a lot more than we give them credit for and I totally agree that "Hard is Good". Finding that balance is the hardest part!

Katy said...

I also meant to spell "chicken coop."

Brandee said...

We have been dealing with this the last couple of years. Last year Jensen wanted to go to Detroit for her Ballet Intensive for the summer. This was very costly, although a great experience. We already pay a fortune each month for her to dance, so she had to earn $1000.00 in order to go. She saved Christmas money, birthday money, had a bake sale, garage sale and made jewelry and clips to sell. She was very resourceful and came through.
When Mackenzie got accepted to BYU she realized that she had not done her part to prepare to leave home. She has made the decision to do community college for a year, earn her associates and then transfer to the Y. She has started to teach piano, babysit some more and find other ways to earn money.
It is so easy to hand our kids all they want. I struggle with this daily. I don't want them sad, disappointed, etc.. With that said, I think it is me that becomes sad and disappointed not the kids.
Parenting is not always easy. Wait til you have cars, college, etc...

AmyMak said...

I really love this post. Here's a story my sister taught me. Her girls begged and begged for a pet bird. She said if they got the bird they would have to buy the food and feed it everyday. Deal. They got the bird. Well, they were at Wal-mart and the girls remembered they were out of bird food. "Please mom please. Buy the food." It was so easy. They were already at the store. If my sister bought the food, the girls could pay her back and save a trip to the store. Buy my sister thought, "No. they didn't plan ahead. they didn't bring their money. they spent their allowance on something else earlier in the week." So she didn't buy it. The girls cried and cried and said the bird would die. My sister didn't give in and they drove home. As soon as they got home the girls asked what chores they could do to earn the money. They worked an hour and my sister paid them for the work. Then they drove all the way back to the store (4 kids in car! how exhausting!) and bought the food with THEIR money. The bird has not gone hungry again and the girls are not living on credit debt :) I've never forgotten either.

Heather said...

Shawni - My husband and I always worry about this very topic and as usual, my husband is always better about teaching this concept to the kids. I always feel this need to "bail them out" or rescue them. I just recently was talking to a very dear friend of mine who does social work and she told me to read "Parenting with Love and logic!' It is such a great book and talks about how to deal with this tricky life lesson. My daughter {who is in middle school} called me the other day from school and said that she left her paper that needed to be turned in at home and needed me to run it to school for her. As much as it killed me, because I wanted to "help her out" I had to say, "Shoot! You must be pretty upset and I am sure you won't forget next time but I can't come bring you the paper!" {Just like the book says to do!] Believe me, that girl of mine was in complete shock and I am sure that a paper will not be forgotten ever again! I struggle with making them more responsible and independent thinkers - children nowadays seem to leave everything up to their parents!

Mary said...

This post is so true - kids need to learn to be responsible, solve problems themselves, figure out how to get things done. You are right on target as usual! I teach 8th grade math. they are making tessellated dodecahedrons. It is really fun, creative , and challenging. I told the kids there was only one set of figures for each student, so to be extra careful no to lose them. Of course about 5 lost them. One tried to bribe me with money to give him another set, another threatened to call home to tell mom! My answer to each was to be creative, come up with a new plan and a solution to get the job done. Kids will only learn if we let them!

Ruthanne said...

Read "Parenting with Love and Logic". It talks a lot about letting your kids learn and grow through life experiences by letting them make their own mistakes and take responsibilty. It's a really great book.

Audrey Taylor said...

I just listened to a CD by Jim Fay who writes Parenting with Love and Logic books. It was called Four Steps to Being Responsible. Exactly what you're talking about here. Awesome support from David in the Max story!

angie b said...

Another *awesome* post!

Just this morning had my daughter go to school with "undone" hair (she wasn't able to blow dry it and that was devastating to her). She was not down to practice piano and do chores on time so her hair became last priority. It makes me feel like a bad MOm but I know I can't do everything for her.

SO my next suggestion is this....how about a workshop weekend for Mom's run by YOU?
I feel like whenever I have a parenting problem I run to 71toes...surely Shawni would know :)

momoftwo said...

Hi Shawni! thank you so much for this post. My kids are still young, but I often think about this. If you wouldn't mind sharing how your kids earn money, that would be great. Do you have any recommended reading you can suggest? Also, why are you trying to call your husband "David?" I thought is went by "Dave?" Thanks!

Cathy M~(checkitoff) said...

this has also been on my mind in the past few days since I read Sarah @ Clover Lane's post about pride. It made me think about how hard my parents, grandparents & great-grandparents had to work. in high school i interviewed my grandma about her life & it was astonishing the jobs she held during the Depression era. i was the first one on my mom's side to graduate from college (which I paid for entirely by myself) .

my husband & i are extremely hard workers. i am proud to say that our 3 children also work very hard (at school, sports, music, spiritual life) & that they earn/save extensively even at 7, 11, + 12 years old. the best thing we have done is for my husband & i to communicate our expectations. then we talk with each child about what is expected in order for items to be earned. i also have Parenting TEENS with Love & Logic (recommended by my pediatrician). the goal is to guide them "toward...productive, happy, and responsible adulthood". I also do think that this can be a very private matter, because what works for one family doesn't always work for another. Keep talking with David & formulate your plan, which will be sure to be re-formulated as you go along!

sarahandmatt said...

I guess mine isn't an idea, just a testimony of the need to teach your kids to work. My husband came from incredibly loving and good parents who thought it was their job to financially support him through every opportunity life could provide him. That included all of his younger years, highschool extracirriculars, vacations and trips, college, a semester abroad in Jerusalem, a mission and a car. When I married him, my husband has just gotten his first job of his life! It was a rough year and a half during which my husband was fired 10 times! He had never learned to interact with bosses telling him what to do. My husband learned a lot of things from his parents and still does. We will be especially careful to make our kids work "real jobs" if possible. They actually teach more than a million soccer practices, etc.

Gale said...

Thanks for your sweet comment, we are deliriously happy right now and feel so blessed that Eve is now part of our family!

Jonah and Aja said...

We don't give our kids an allowance. I don't get paid for doing household chores-- why should they? It's just expected that they do their work. The only allowance they get is they both get one "activity" for free (piano is not included in that... it is a required activity)... and this year they picked Art Lessons. If they want another activity, they had to find a way to pay for it.
This was a great lesson for Ana when she was 6. She wanted to take horse lessons, but she was already in gymnastics and the cost was more than the $12/week budget for her free activity. So she set out to earn the other $13/week that she needed and held some MASSIVE cookie/drink sales during the Parade of Homes and also talked to people she knew at church and families members to see if she could come clean their bathrooms for $1 a bathroom. She asked for money for her birthday instead of anything else. Somehow, she managed to pay for all of her weekly lessons for a year before we moved.
Now, she's earning money to pay for Horse Riding Camp this summer. $650!
We've thought about doing the family economy system from your parents, but our kids are still pretty little, and their clothes are hand-me-downs (or good quality stuff from the DI, or Christmas presents from my dad), so they never really need to buy the day-to-day stuff. We may do it as they get older, but I'm still not really a fan of paying my kids for doing things around the house. I'd rather have them go out and find ways to make money from other places. Or for them to really work on saving those birthday dollars and to think about selling off their Christmas toys when they don't play with them anymore.

This isn't a perfect solution, and my kids and I are far from perfect (Jonah's close though), but I am a VERY lazy mom, so that helps a lot. :)

Shawni, I know you aren't fishing for complements, but your kids are awesome, so I'll just copy you in my next life.

marlowe said...

Hey Shawni! We must be in a similar mind set recently. I've been working these poor Linford kids to death. Good for them though. Hope you guys are great -- Marlowe at comehometoroost.blogspot.org

Eyrealm said...

WOW, I guess it shows how genetics works, because Shawni's post is so perfectly in line with the new book we (her parents) are writing. We have not discussed it in any detail with Shawni, but she is really on to the same thing that we are trying to address in the book, tentatively called THE KID TRAP How our kids are getting snared by entitlement; and how to rescue them with a family system of earning and ownership.
We will see if Shawni wants to post some of it on her blog as an early preview for you great readers.
Richard and Linda Eyre

Kierstin said...

I come from a family of 6 kids (two stepchildren, and the four of us 'blood' children). When my second to oldest brother wanted some extra money, he sold his halloween candy at recess and made a grundle! Of course, this was just his personality (he is a surgeon now, go figure), but he knew that my parents couldn't afford all that he wanted, so he came up with his OWN SOLUTION! Novel idea, eh? I too often come up with the solution for my kids instead of making them really think things through. That needs to stop TODAY, so thanks for the punch in the gut :) Good luck with your non-pampering goal!

Domestic Accident said...

This is a huge concern for us. What is exposing our children and giving them opportunity vs. entitlement? My daughter is six and has been begging for nearly 2 years to take horse back riding lessons, but it seems ridiculous to pay so much for an activity. And how much running around can moms be expected to do without losing their sanity? What happened to hanging out at home and not being in organized sports till junior high?

Can't wait to read your parents book and her further your thoughts.

Janelle Beenfield said...

I have been thinking about this post since you posted it and I have been wondering the same things. I have 2 baby boys and I dont not want them to be dependent children. My mother-in-law just gave me a book to read. It is one of her favorites and it is inspiring me and mentions a lot about raising children so that they are hardworkers and independent. It is "How To Make Your Child a Winner" by Victor B Cline. It is worth taking time our of your busy schedule.
Jani

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