or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › not fostering independence and self worth-- is it part of US culture?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

not fostering independence and self worth-- is it part of US culture? - Page 2

post #21 of 57

I've gotten my kids to do a lot more around the house.  Almost all of it is their stuff that needs attention.  I don't ask them to do things I consider something I should do or DH should do like clean up after ourselves.  It's gotten a lot better.  I didn't do any household chores until I was 12.  I wasn't expected to.  My only job was to clean the bathroom once a week.  That was easy!  So I kind of liked it.  I do think it's important that they do feel confident in what they can do.  One wants really badly to mow the lawn... but yeah she's way to small and nowhere near strong enough to push the mower even self propelled.  DH caters to the girls way more than I do.  He also thinks it's just easier.

post #22 of 57
My DS is only 13 months old but I've been thinking about this topic quite a bit since reading a post by one of my favorite blogs: http://pudgeandzippy.blogspot.com/2012/02/getting-to-integral.html?m=1. <----sorry I can't make pretty links.
post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post


I have to wonder if this would be true if they had compared middle class families in the U.S. to middle class families in other countries.  The reference to child labor made me think of a family that couldn't afford to support itself without the children working, like many of the migrant workers who harvest food in the U.S.) not of a family that was in the middle class in their home country.

 

I wondered about this, among other things.

 

I had to reread the article to see if I wasn't missing a page.  I appreciated the main point of the article, but it left me wondering who they compared to whom, what other qualities of life, what attitudes described the other countries and cultures that lead to the way kids are there.  Was it because of a more adult-centric community?  The ability of children to access that adult world in a useful way?  Fewer toys?  An emphasis on the group over the individual?  More kids of all ages around the home to set an example for younger siblings?

 

Then again, what about individual differences between households in the US?  And are doing chores and respect for others integral?  Do our different definitions of respect cause some of the differences of behavior we see?

 

I don't expect these questions answered.  The article was just frustrating because it left too much to conjecture.  ("Oooh!  Look how dysfunctional this is!  Look how much *better* kids are somewhere else!")  Ugh. I just don't need that.  Supremely unhelpful.  I need coffee.  I really have to stop hopping on here at breakfast.

 


 

 

post #24 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by illiterati View Post

My DS is only 13 months old but I've been thinking about this topic quite a bit since reading a post by one of my favorite blogs: http://pudgeandzippy.blogspot.com/2012/02/getting-to-integral.html?m=1. <----sorry I can't make pretty links.


I really liked this.  Thanks for sharing it!smile.gif

post #25 of 57

 

 

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post


I have to wonder if this would be true if they had compared middle class families in the U.S. to middle class families in other countries.  The reference to child labor made me think of a family that couldn't afford to support itself without the children working, like many of the migrant workers who harvest food in the U.S.) not of a family that was in the middle class in their home country.

 

I wondered about this, among other things.

 

I had to reread the article to see if I wasn't missing a page.  I appreciated the main point of the article, but it left me wondering who they compared to whom, what other qualities of life, what attitudes described the other countries and cultures that lead to the way kids are there.  Was it because of a more adult-centric community?  The ability of children to access that adult world in a useful way?  Fewer toys?  An emphasis on the group over the individual?  More kids of all ages around the home to set an example for younger siblings?

 

Then again, what about individual differences between households in the US?  And are doing chores and respect for others integral?  Do our different definitions of respect cause some of the differences of behavior we see?

 

 

does it matter? I see this as a classless issue - be it the very upper or the dirt poor - many in all classes (as with the recent thread in parenting on upper-class essential knowledge) - doesn't it mean having the child be able to "function" ie - expected behavior- what ever that definition means in your given class/family?

 

if it "chores" for middle or knowing how to "order wine" in upper?  OR -

 

Quote:
One of the girls has her dad come over and write out all her checks, then he puts stamps on them, and she mails them before they are due.  

 

 

and I certainly see this - 

 

Quote:
 It's the priorities that define the outcome

 

 

Quote:

I haven't BTDT from the parent's point of view either. I think, though, I would say something like "You're old enough to tie your own shoes" and maybe just help with the knot if it were a particularly bad one. I wouldn't tie my husband's shoes either unless there were a good reason (I ask him to tie mine sometimes when I'm wearing the baby). That doesn't seem like shaming to me, just stating an expectation--at your age, you are expected to do X and Y by yourself.

 

my 2 cents

post #26 of 57

I agree the issue spans all classes. The specifics of independence may change between classes (scrubbing floors vs writing checks vs pairing meals with wines, as stereotypical examples), but independence is supposedly the goal for raising children to adults for all classes.

post #27 of 57

 

 

Quote:
but independence is supposedly the goal for raising children to adults for all classes.

one would think! winky.gif

 

but I see it declining in real life

post #28 of 57

So if independence as a goal has been declining, what has it been replaced by?

 

I'm thinking "happiness" - though an ill-defined and misunderstood version of it.

 

It's worth remembering that independence must be the goal biologically speaking. In our modern times, our focus has largely shifted away from survival issues, as for many of us survival is assumed (even if falsely). With our mechanical, technological and social constructs, we no longer need years of training in skills such as growing, storing and even preparing food, building shelters, using weapons for hunting and defense, etc. Now we basically need to read and follow directions (typical employment skills), plus operate a number of consumer devices (computers, mobile devices, automobiles, microwaves, etc.) which have been specifically engineered to be as easy as possible to use. Even the skills needed to engineer such things have been simplified by things like mass production and markup language.

post #29 of 57

 

 

Quote:

So if independence as a goal has been declining, what has it been replaced by?

 

I'm thinking "happiness" - though an ill-defined and misunderstood version of it.

 

 

I would say ill-equipped and clueless for starters- many are blissfully happy being clueless and having others take care of them 

 

 

I am think of those over 18 who the parents still are parenting as if they are children (doing most things for them - because the adult child is still not able to act like an independent adult)-IMO

post #30 of 57
First, I'm in my 40s, and I was raised by a mom who was in her late 30s when I was born, so as far as generations go, my kids are a couple of generations out of the depression rather than a few, and I think that makes a difference. The further removed you are from people who had to struggle, the less independant you might be. Just a theory.

But my 10-year-old complains about having to do things. She complains that she has to pack her own lunch in the morning. She's 10 years old! Why wouldn't a 10-year-old be able to pack her own lunch? I expect her to make her own breakfast too. She's plenty old enough to do those kinds of things, and she usually makes her little sister's breakfast too. She likes making breakfast but not packing lunch, oddly.

But anyway my point is that you have to fight with them to do this stuff sometimes. "No one else has to pack their own lunch!" I imagine a lot of parents figure they might as well just do it rather than argue about it. I've told her she has to get used to doing stuff so she's capable of taking care of herself when she's older, but she's only 10 and has no real sense of future in that way. But it's my job to make sure she's ready regardless.

By the time I was 12, I had a night each week where it was my turn to make dinner.
post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

 

It's worth remembering that independence must be the goal biologically speaking. In our modern times, our focus has largely shifted away from survival issues, as for many of us survival is assumed (even if falsely). With our mechanical, technological and social constructs, we no longer need years of training in skills such as growing, storing and even preparing food, building shelters, using weapons for hunting and defense, etc. Now we basically need to read and follow directions (typical employment skills), plus operate a number of consumer devices (computers, mobile devices, automobiles, microwaves, etc.) which have been specifically engineered to be as easy as possible to use. Even the skills needed to engineer such things have been simplified by things like mass production and markup language.

I think you might be onto something.  I also think that our modern technologies have created a dependence far beyond just basic survival.  I depend on the water coming out of my tap every morning.  I depend on a public transportation system every day to take me from cheaper abode on the edge of the city to my job downtown.  I depend on my co-op and other stores to stock the items that my family needs.  I depend on so many outside factors that without them, my life would be turned upside down. I could survive, sure, but it might be that post-apocalyptic survival that you see in end-of-world movies (I love those, by the way). I don't have to go down to the well every day for water.  I don't have to cure my own food.  I don't have to make my own clothes, find stuff to heat my apartment, guard my family against mobs or invading warriors.  All the things that used to take great physical effort and time no longer apply to me or my family.  I sometimes think that my life is hard, but it is a different set of worries than the physical and time consuming stuff that some deal with / have dealt with.  I could choose to live a close-to-the-earth life.  But my life hasn't played out like that.  It hasn't had to.

 

Not sure how this is connected to children being less independent but I'm sure it plays some part.  We have so much more free time now in our present society.  Our society certainly still requires a certain amount of group effort, but it is not the same type of effort previously needed for survival.  We have more time to negotiate chores and duties and other things that crowd our lives.  We have more space to clutter.  There are less expectations that children be ready to be propelled into the real world because perhaps many of us don't view children as either a mouth to feed or as a contributor to the economic stability of the family.  All in all, it is probably a first world problem.

 

 

post #32 of 57

Interesting. I have thought about this a lot, even before I had kids. I once had a roommate who could not even boil spaghetti noodles. We were 22 years old at the time. I'm 35 now, so that was quite a long time ago, so nothing new. I remember also getting on to her about closing the shower curtain so it wouldn't grow mold. She had no idea. She also asked me once what the white coating in the bathroom sink was - umm, your toothpaste because you don't rinse out the sink when you're done... We fought A LOT about the household chores, LOL. She grew up with a maid and she said they went out to eat 4-5 times a week. So, of course it made sense to not be able to cook and clean if she never saw it being done.

 

Anyway, I don't know the answer to having independent kids is chores. I never really had chores, but I grew up being able to clean, cook, write a check, etc. My mother didn't like how I cleaned, so she would do it. She even cleaned my room for me and did all my laundry until I moved out. Somehow, though figured out how to do both those things. I loved cooking and my mom never did, so she started letting me cook dinner for the family once in awhile starting at age 12.

 

I think one factor with why people don't give their kids more to do is probably the lack of time. People don't have the time to have their kids help make dinner, since they probably don't even make dinner themselves anyway. They don't have time to show the kids how to sort laundry, since it is probably done at 11 pm when the kids are already in bed. That's just a hunch.

post #33 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by elsie234 View Post

Anyway, I don't know the answer to having independent kids is chores.



This triggered another thought I had. I was thinking about the girl whose father comes to her apartment every month to write checks for her. First, I was thinking "wow, I would think he would say 'I will sit here this time and help you but you need to be the only to actually do it and learn'" but then realized that my parents never taught me to write a check. I checked with DH; yup, ditto with him. It's not that I couldn't understand a little bit of "hmm, am I doing this right?" the first time, but really, it should be straightforward for most people.

 

So I wondered if the issue is not training per se but confidence. I apparently grew up feeling reasonably, averagely competent. So the first time I wrote a check (which I don't remember - didn't make an impression on me) I'm sure I double checked everything but I also probably assumed I was competent enough to figure it out. I can imagine situations where a child could be raised to feel so incompetent that they wouldn't even try, wouldn't trust themselves enough.

 

Which leads to another thought - what is the worst-case scenario? It's possible that some kids think mistakes or failure is not an option. Their parents know how to do everything, they know how to do nothing, therefore they can't risk doing something like writing a check because they might screw it up.

 

Or yet another idea - they don't have any resources other than mom and/or dad. Somehow mom and dad were the end-all-be-all to any of life's problems. There were plenty of things I had to learn in adulthood - my parents didn't train me on how to get a mortgage, for example. And it's not like it was completely a no-brainer, either. But for whatever reason, DH and I assumed that researching (looking at applications, websites, financial books and magazines) was the answer. It never occurred to either of us to call our parents, though of course parents are also a valid source of knowledge and advice - just hopefully not the ONLY source.

 

Anyway, I don't think that having chores is unrelated - it's certainly one way to instill confidence and competence, which can be expanded into other areas - but it's also not the bottom line. Some kids either think they are completely incompetent (and that mom and dad are the ONLY avenues of assistance), or they think failure is not an option, or both.

post #34 of 57
I don't think it's about having chores as much as having responsibilities, which often involve some kind of work, like chores. So having a list of chores to do isn't necessary or what it's about. I think just being responsible for your own things as they come up could teach the same thing, or having to help out with stuff as it happened. But the only way to learn to be responsible is to take responsibility for things. You learn it by doing it.
post #35 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

does it matter?

 

I think it might, depending on what we find.  If, for example, we are doing something that actively discourages children's involvement with doing chores, etcetera, helping and being a valuable part not just of the family (of course we love them) but to the *work* of the family, and then later having to instill those values back into them, it would sure be nice to know.

 

 

 

post #36 of 57

I don't know, no amount of dusting or scooping up dog poop in the yard prepared me for my present day problems.  Maybe it taught me to care about my environment - which I think has incredible valuable - but independence?  No.  Independence was both desire and trial and error on my part:  to be independent from parents and to make it in the world with minimal flub-ups.  The whole collective farm stuff is great on a collective farm, but I have found that there are more tedious social navigations that I have to perform in order to survive in the modern world.  My attention to detail at home counts a bit, but independence goes beyond the ability to manage a tidy abode.  At least in my world.  I have to be able to handle rejection.  I have to be able to try again when I fail (if I really want to do something).  I have to recognize that there are issues outside my own little world, and know how to deal with them.  I think that is what independence is really about.  Not about knowing how to fry an egg or properly fold a t-shirt.  Those are good skills, but those don't equal independence.

post #37 of 57
Knowing how to fry an egg doesn't specifically equal independance, but knowing how to get and prepare your own meals is a part of independance.
post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Knowing how to fry an egg doesn't specifically equal independance, but knowing how to get and prepare your own meals is a part of independance.


That has some truth, but only if independence = having certain manual skills.  I didn't know how to cook when I left home (we weren't allowed to work in the kitchen because that was mom's domain) but I had an underlying need to be on my own.  I learned stuff through trial and error, albeit, not always to great success, but the desire to be independent was there, even if I didn't have the necessary household skills to be able to do it immediately.  

 

Independence, for me, is a state of mind.  If someone desires to be independent or if someone is forced to be independent, then survival skills will kick in and they will figure it out.  It's nice to have the skills pre-living-on-one's-one, but I don't think they are necessary for survival and success in the greater world.  I'm a living example.  :)

 

 

post #39 of 57
Hmm well I guess it's just a matter of definitions. I think of skills as the tools of independence. If you had a desire for independence, I would still think of that as not being actual independence until you had aquired the skills. Though you'll never get the skills without the desire so that's a huge part of it.
post #40 of 57

I see "chores" leading to responsibilities, responsibilities leading to independence

 

ex. you learn to pick up, feed, change, clean up after your sibling, you take responsibility of for overseeing childcare and later independent baby-sitting job ---very small scale example   one can lead to another   

 

I don't buy that you must have desire for all to achieve independence - many situations you have no desire but are forced into due to circumstance 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Childhood Years
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › The Childhood Years › not fostering independence and self worth-- is it part of US culture?