I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I'm a mom of 4 children, 3 still at home, while 1 is all grown up and on her own with my 2 granddaughters. I hear so many people, nurses, doctors, (Yes, the same doctor who delivered all of my children, delivered my granddaughters as well!), other parents, friends, family, compliment us on the job we did raising our oldest daughter and how wonderful of a mommy she is. Which is nice, but sometimes, I still wonder whether we are doing an ok job or not, with her or our younger 3.
It isn't easy to raise children. I certainly don't claim to be an expert and we are always trying to figure out how to be better parents.
It's a very stressful, very rewarding job and personally, I think it's one of the hardest jobs around. I try to steer clear of giving advice to other parents, including our oldest daughter. I will try and share stories that may relate to their stories, or if asked, I will find a way to relate to the issues they are having whether I or my mother had similar issues or if I read something somewhere where they offered suggestions. But, I wouldn't tell other parents what they should or should not be doing. I believe that parenting is up to the parents and we are all learning as we go. That being said, my husband and I have also had our fair share of friends and family and of course, even our own children, making comments about some aspects of our parenting and I can understand that. However, just like when I grew up and became an adult and realized why my mom did certain things and gave me chores I did not agree with as a child and teen, I understood her reasoning and I think my children will also.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I will be using this as reference in the future and passing on to friends and family when they may need to borrow it. Julie Lyythcott-Haims, did a fabulous job articulating why it is so very important to raise your children to become successful adults. No, this doesn't mean a CEO of a company or a millionaire or a celebrity, it means something even more important. A very well rounded individual who has respect, values, morals and can manage and function on their own.
It is surprising to me, how many young adults and even some older adults, can't figure out how to do their own laundry, change a tire, pay a simple utility bill or even write a check. (I know, so many bills are paid electronically, which is another reason I sometimes think so many seem to have forgotten.) It's unrealistic to never help your child understand simple tasks that they will need the second they leave home. (and even before they leave home.) Preparing your children and focusing on life skills, are extremely important and even if they moan and whine, they will thank you in the long run.
School has always been a great place for our children to learn, of course. But, do all schools teach your children how to unclog a toilet? Use a mop? Make a dentist appointment? Or make a grocery list and prepare a meal? Sure, some do, some tasks are covered in school. Our school offers a program, (voluntary), where your child can attend a Vo Tech and be introduced to different trades, including, cooking. But, for the rest of school, they stress on math, reading, science, history, handwriting, gym class, etc. Parents can't and shouldn't rely on just your child's teachers, to teach them how to survive.
Julie Lythcott Haims was a dean of freshman at Stanford University for 10 years and she discusses how over the years, her students came to school, less prepared for adulthood. Which is why she decided to dig in and research and figure out what exactly is going on and she came to the conclusion, that our children are being coddled and their hands are being held a bit to much. Sure, as parents, we worry about our children, but we shouldn't be constantly holding their hands. We should be teaching our kids how to be individuals and make their own decisions and advocate for themselves. Advice is fine but at some point, they should be more independent and be doing their own work and figuring out their own social issues. I couldn't agree more with the author and I'm really impressed with her findings, her advice and her book.
One of my favorite lessons is to not use the word, "we" so much. "We" are not on the soccer team and "We" are not doing a science project or studying for a history test. There does come a time when it is up to our children to make decisions and figure out things on their own. Sure, we can be in the background for them to rely on when needed but if we continue to be over protective and make all of their decisions, they won't learn how to do this on their own in the real world.
I also love the chapter that focuses on what age groups should be able to do what chores and simple life tasks. I was more than pleased to find that we already do most of what is on her lists! However, there are still some that I never thought about but will be adding immediately to our chore and skill lists. For example: we already have our 11 year old, planing a grocery list, making a menu plan and making dinner one night a week, all by himself. Not only does this help him in the long run for when he goes out on his own, but he actually enjoys this quite a bit! He begs and pleads to be in charge of dinner more then 1 night a week and lately, I've been thinking, I may take him up on his offer :) He also mows the lawn, helps look after his younger siblings and has a list of chores that he sometimes complains about and when his friends are over,t hey say things like, "Wow! I'm glad my mom doesn't make me do things like that!" But, it's all for the best. However, I found some things on the list for instance, age 8 read a recipe and prepare a simple meal and take care of personal hygiene without needing a reminder. These are things we haven't necessarily started with our 8 year old daughter just yet but we have already put the plan into place to get these 2 things off of Julie Lythcott-Haims' list. Actually, I am revising our chore chart and the kid's "time cards" and things we expect and this will be implemented tomorrow.
I would recommend this book for ALL parents, no matter how long you have been a parent or even if you are just expecting your first child. I promise, your children will thank you when they get older and they will be very pleased with themselves and how they were raised to be upstanding, functioning adults and very independent individuals. This book isn't boring, it doesn't read like a "How to" book. Julie adds humor, life experiences and a ton of wisdom as well as covering every aspect you can think of, in, How To Raise An Adult.