An article came out a while back (I don’t remember specifically who wrote it or how/where it was published) suggesting that parents not do things for their children once their children are old enough to do it themselves. When I read the article, I took it as meaning that children should be able to complete some daily tasks themselves. Being responsible for chores and tasks can promote independence and teach valuable life skills. It can also reduce parental stress by putting some small responsibilities (e.g. making lunch, folding laundry, picking out clothes) on your kiddo.
I didn’t think much more about it until I saw a response article… basically, the author who responded felt “called out” because she still brushed her daughter’s hair, even though the daughter was old enough to do it herself. This article suggested that parents continue doing things for the child, even when they’re capable of doing it.
So who is right and who is wrong?! Neither? Both? I think both. I think it’s all about finding a balance that works for you and your family. The rough thing about parenting advice is that what works for one child/family may not work for another. When my husband and I were preparing for the arrival of our daughter, everyone we talked to said babies love to be swaddled. So we bought a ton of swaddle sleep sacks. Guess what? Our little girl HATED them. She was so angry, from day 1, if her arms weren’t free!
What I got from these articles is that you want to teach your child new skills and give them some responsibility by having them complete some tasks, but that doesn’t mean you cannot do ANYTHING for them. Acts of Services is one of The Five Love Languages. My husband and I do things for each other all the time as an act of love. I’m a grown woman and my mother still does nice things for me sometimes, even though I’m capable of doing them. It’s absolutely Ok to do some things for your child as an act of love! Again, it’s about finding balance.
The mom who wrote the response article gave me the impression that brushing her daughter’s hair is a bonding moment for the two of them. I wouldn’t want to let that go either! If I were that mama, I’d probably want to continue that tradition for as long as my kiddo would let me. But on the other hand, parents who do every. single. thing. for their children might regret it later when their child grows up and cannot do anything for themselves (think college student who can only cook Easy Mac…).
As my daughter grows older, I want to teach her how to do things around the house and I want to teach her to bake and cook. I want her to be able to bathe herself and paint her own nails and brush her hair and maybe even braid her hair. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to expect her to always do everything for herself once she knows how. I want her to be able to and I want her to have some responsibilities, but I’m her mom and I also will want to do nice things for her.