Don't do for them what they can do for themselves. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there, 

 

I have a 4.5 year old DD, and she likes to be helped with getting dressed and shoes on and on the potty..   even though she can do these tasks herself.  Sometimes she WANTs to do it herself, and sometimes she wants help.   I'm okay with that, but I keep hearing the advice:

 

"When we continue to do things for our children that they could do for themselves, we are unintentionally robbing them of opportunities to become more self-reliant and confident. "

 

What do you feel about this??   It does make me think...    My DD CAN do the stuff herself, but wants help sometimes.  Should I push her more??      Do you make your kids do for themselves even if they don't want to?     I feel she's young yet, knows how, and just likes to be helped and its okay.  BUT that feeling seeps in, that maybe I'm babying her too much...  

 

What do you think about this advice??? 

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#2 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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I think the advice is more relevant to parents who won't let their kids try to do things for themselves, even when they want to.  I don't think there's anything wrong with being moderate and helping her from time to time when she WANTS the help.  Making her do it every time simply because she can sounds like it could be a lot of pressure if she's having a bad day, or just needs a little more attention some days.  As adults, most of us enjoy having someone cook for us sometimes, or hold the door for us, or having some company when we walk somewhere, etc.. even though we can do all those things ourselves, so why is it wrong for a kid to enjoy getting some help with something sometimes?  
 

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#3 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 08:09 AM
 
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Agreed.  

 

Just because they can do it for themselves all the time, doesn't mean they should have to.

 

There is great value in teaching a child that helping others is important.

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#4 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 09:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

Agreed.  

 

Just because they can do it for themselves all the time, does mean they should have to.

 

There is great value in teaching a child that helping others is important.

My thoughts exactly nod.gif


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#5 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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I agree with previous posters.  I have two boys and they are so different about what they want to and are willing to do for themselves.  My nearly nine year old would love it if I did everything for him.  I do do a lot for him still, but there are certain things that I don't do because I start to feel like his servant.  But as long as I feel good about doing it, I think it's nice for him and me.  

 

I am thinking now of starting to get him to do a little bit more taking care of our/his space.  Like, for the last year or so I've been making him (and still have to remind him constantly) to put his clothes in the laundry room when he takes them off rather than leaving them where they fell.  And we've been working on putting things away after using them and he's been great, actually, about doing ten minute cleaning sessions with me.

 

My little one wants to do a lot more and will often rummage through the fridge to get himself a snack or go find his own shoes and put them on without being asked when we're getting ready to go out.  My older still always asks me to get him a snack and is reluctant if I say I want him to do it.  I am pretty sure that this is mostly their individual natures rather than something I encouraged.  Possibly having an older brother has made my little one want to do more.  But I feel like even as a tiny newborn my younger one was more proactive about nursing and with my older one I had to do it all, make the latch happen and such.  

 

Sometimes I think about whether I'm going to have a DIL someday who will want to wring my neck for not pushing them more, but  I kind of think that it's not so much about what I do for them as what they see me and dh do for ourselves and how we take care of things.  Of course, I am a fairly terrible housekeeper, so she may want to wring my neck for that influence.


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#6 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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i totally agree with pps.

 

i was raised in a different culture where children really arent asked to be self sufficient till they are 5.

 

my favourite memories of my dad are me so busy studying for my exams that he was feeding me my meals to make sure i ate. my special memories of my gpa are of him feeding me as a teen. 

 

i initiate helping with dd. she LOVES it and laps it all up. 

 

when dd was 4 she loved the exchange when she became mommy and i was her and she had to show me how to do things like cross the road, give me a bath, etc. she LOVED that game. so much that its second nature to her. when we walk to the library she watches me like a hawk if i ever step off the sidewalk.

 

i remember for my super independent dd 4 was a struggle. between being a big girl and yet wanting to be a baby sometimes. i saw that and recognised that. so some days to take the stress off of her i'd tell her ok today you are going to be my two year old again and you have to allow me to help you. is that ok with you? she loved it. i'd fawn over her like a baby and she couldnt stop giggling. 


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#7 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 10:06 AM
 
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Sometimes when my child asks for help for things I know she can do, I will help. Sometimes I don't. I don't have a problem with helping sometimes, but I do expect her to contribute to the family by taking care of herself to the extent that she can most of the time. If she asks me to get something for her while she ties her shoes, I'll probably do it. If she asks me to carry her up the stairs when I'm carrying groceries, I will probably refuse.

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#8 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all!!   

 

I can find it hard to get my thoughts together and form a good counter to the advice of "Don't do things for kids that they can do for themselves."  I have a friend who really takes this advice to heart and suggests it often.  But to me it seems it just makes her and her DS stressed and unhappy half the time.   Also on the surface it seems like decent advice, but not so much in the practice.   

 

I'm not against pushing my DD a little when I know she can do something, but I don't feel that making a struggle out of getting dressed every day is good either.   

 

Anyhow to sum up what I'm taking away from your posts:

 

1.  People often like and appreciate to get help themselves; like opening doors, helping clean up, help with dinner   

 

2. There is value in teaching our kids that its important to help others.

 

3. Helping a child also depends on the situation, if I'm loading up the car and busy getting ready to leave, I might push her more to put her own shoes on.

 

4. As long as helping out is something you want to do and feel good doing it, then its okay.   If you start feeling like a slave to your kid, or resentful, then its time to change the situation. 

 

Okay, I'm feeling more grounded in my thoughts on this.  THANK YOU!!   I think I knew all this in my heart, but its can be hard to express it sometimes. 

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#9 of 12 Old 09-06-2012, 12:35 PM
 
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Generally, I think it is good advice. I think it's important to view children as capable and to encourage them to think of themselves as capable. I have seen the benefits. When my kids started school, they were able to put on their shoes and zip up their jackets while the other kindergarten children waited for their teacher to help. When they were finished getting ready to go outside, they would start dressing their classmates. It was adorable - but it also gave them a huge boost of confidence and was one of the many ways in which they became leaders rather than followers with their classmates. 

 

There were occasions when I would help them out with tasks that they knew how to do, for all sorts of reasons including some mentioned above. I don't think it's necessary for strict hands-off parenting 100% of the time. A little help now and then won't hurt. However, all things being equal (and when are you ever in that situation?), if the choice is to let them struggle and figure it out versus leaping in to do it for them, then I'd rather trust that they can accomplish the task. 

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#10 of 12 Old 09-07-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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Just pointing out that I had to edit my post because it said this:

 

Quote:

Just because they can do it for themselves all the time, does mean they should have to.

 

When I meant this:

 

Quote:
Just because they can do it for themselves all the time, doesn't mean they should have to.

 

Glad everyone knew what I meant and didn't nitpick.


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#11 of 12 Old 09-07-2012, 07:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

Sometimes I think about whether I'm going to have a DIL someday who will want to wring my neck for not pushing them more, but  I kind of think that it's not so much about what I do for them as what they see me and dh do for ourselves and how we take care of things.  Of course, I am a fairly terrible housekeeper, so she may want to wring my neck for that influence.

x2

 

I am laughing at this and maybe I shouldn't orngtongue.gif


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#12 of 12 Old 09-07-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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The problem with "You can do that yourself." is that they eventually say it back to you, probably when you have a car load of groceries that need to be brought in or something like that. I think a good compromise is to get them to do part of the job. So if they want you to dress them you can say "Okay, you put on your pants and I'll put on your socks." For the potty, you can get her to wipe after you to make sure you did a good job, then she still gets practice.


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