Am I My Child’s Servant?

The scene: 7 am in the morning, breakfast time. Dad is in the kitchen. 9 year old is in the living room.

Dad: [Hollering from the kitchen] What do you want for breakfast?
9 yo: [Hollering from the living room] A bagel.
Dad: Come on out and make it.
9 yo: Can you make it?
Dad: No.
9 yo: UGH! [stomps on floor]

Am I my child’s servant? I’d like to think I’m not. When it’s pancake morning, I’m more than happy to make them because I’ve seen the resulting mess. That, and I don’t yet trust the 9 year old to use the stove.

We’re working on it, though.

But a bagel? He can make that. And no, I’m not going to pour his milk for him, either. I’m afraid if I were to tend to his every wish I’d soon be wiping his arse and picking his nose for him.

Eww. Gross.

Isn’t that what people think happened to the Millennials? They were coddled and babied and had everything done for them so now they can’t boil water. I’ve heard stories (and I’d like to think they’re just stories, but they’re probably not) about parents attending their child’s job interview. About parents calling university professors to get their child’s grade changed. About Millennials who eat out because they can’t cook.

I apologise to those Millennials this does not apply to.

We’ve been working on independence. Mostly in the morning getting ready for school and in the evening getting ready for bed. His ADD doesn’t really help the situation, but knowing why he’s having so much trouble is a step toward helping him better. Prior to helping him he needed constant supervision to keep him on track. He couldn’t get into pajamas and brush his teeth without being distracted by his brother, or books, or his toenails. So I would stand outside his bedroom door and give constant verbal reminders on what he should be doing.

I’m afraid of what might happen should this continue into his teen years or even later. Should I just resolve the fact that he’ll be living with us forever? Perhaps long enough that I’ll be so old I can’t cook my supper. Maybe by then he’ll have it figured out and will be able to take care of his elderly parents in their final years. Perhaps if we can get him a good job he’ll be able pay for the house and the groceries and the hover cars.

So  we are creating an independent individual today so that he can make his own bagel. If he can make his own bagel he won’t be hungry in school. If he’s not hungry in school he’ll be able to focus better. If he focuses better he’ll learn more. If he learns more he’ll get into university. If he gets into university he’ll get a good job. If he gets a good job he’ll be able to afford to feed himself. If he can feed himself he can make his own bagel.

And wipe his own arse.

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18 thoughts on “Am I My Child’s Servant?

  1. You’re on the right track!!!
    My almost 7 year old can make his own toast, and he can make some basic sandwiches too. With my help, he can make homemade mac & cheese (not the box kind!). I’m working on the same things you are. I want my kids to grow up to be self sufficient, confident, capable people!

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  2. I stopped making school lunches years ago. First they started grabbing their own bottle water. Then they made their breakfast then their packed lunch . Independence is the key.

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      • 4-5 years set the table
        5-6 years dry dishes/ put own clothes away. Colour coded baskets undies socks in drawers. Clothes all on hangers
        7-8years make own breakfast , school lunch.
        9-10 years shown how to change beds , wet wipe and mop /vacuum own room (Spring cleaning)
        12 years ironing own school uniform
        12-13 years shown how to clean bathrooms scrub toilet , clean showers , vanity. Take rubbish out.
        13-14 years cook a meal etc
        Mine are all trained, but mine are older 14,19,21 this year .

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      • Excellent list. I’ve seen some similar. Mine put their clothes away, clean the bathroom sink, load/unload the dishwasher, make their bed, etc… Grudgingly, of course, and only when I tell them to.

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  3. Problem with independence is it takes a lot of patience to train them but in the end it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s easier if we do it ourselves but they’ve got to learn because one day we might not be around to help them out.

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  4. we did a color clock for a while until chores became a habit. we took an old clock and colored in the 3 to 4 for hw, 4 to 5 for chores, 5 to6 dinner 6 to 7 family time or free time.
    I saw the idea on Pinterest. it helped. it took a really long time. a lot of reminding. slowly I would get rid of the colors and no I’m just on a normal clock that I love better than the old colored one. he now just does his chores. he is 10.

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  5. Hehehehe. ” Little bosses” enjoy being served. My little ones know where to find their snacks that usually involve fruit or trail mix. The cooking part not yet. That’s probably on my side. I am afraid of the house getting burnt.😁

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    • Exactly. My 9 year old will occasionally help me cook – he’ll stir the pot or pour in the next ingredient. On a rare occasion I’ll let him don the oven mitts and take something out of the oven.

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  6. You could teach him to proofread your posts. I noticed some mistakes, but I think like an adult you could find them yourself. Problems with what seems to be missing words. Or maybe it’s just me and being ‘Merican and a pain in the arse. (That is a problem out here, isn’t it?).

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  7. Here, here! One step at a time. Good job! He’ll be cooking pancakes for you before you now it.
    Literally, I asked my 3.5yo a few weeks ago if she was ready to start learning how to wipe her butt after pooping, and she told me, “Mom, you’re going to wipe my butt when I’m older.” Deadpan…. Me: silence, then laughter, then, “Uh-huh, not quite. More like you’ll be wiping my butt when I’m older.” She didn’t quite get it, though. 🙂

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    • I would love it if he could cook a little bit. I would love it even more if he would clean up his mess afterwards. He made eggs one morning. He cracked the first one and when he opened it it landed on the floor. So he got another egg. Cracked it, went to open it and it landed on the floor, too! When he makes pancakes, as much of the mix lands on the counter and floor as it does in the bowl…

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