This is an excerpt from the book «Independent child or how to become a 'Lazy mother'»
I’m a lazy mom.
I’m also selfish and carefree — or so it seems to some people. Do you want to know why? Because I just want my children to take initiative, to be independent and responsible. But it means I should create a proper environment to develop these particular traits in them.
Working at kindergarten, I saw a lot of overprotected kids, but one boy, 3-year-old Simon, was etched into my memory the most. He was raised to eat everything that was put in front of him whether he liked it or not. As a result, the boy had a serious eating disorder. He mechanically chewed and swallowed everything he was given. And I had to feed him, because’he’s not able to do it on his own.’ The first time I fed Simon, I couldn’t read any sort of emotion on his face. I lifted the spoon, he opened his mouth, chewed, swallowed. I should say, the cook in our kindergarten couldn't make tasty oatmeal. If you turn a plate over, porridge won't fall from it due to gravitation. I perfectly understood children who refused to eat oatmeal that day.But Simon ate almost everything from his plate.
’Do you like oatmeal?’
But he still opened his mouth and accepted the food.
’Do you want more?’ I asked, lifting next spoon. ’No.’ But he continued chewing and swallowing. ’If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.’
Simon’s eyes widened in surprise. He did not know it was possible.
At first, Simon enjoyed his right to refuse food and drank only juice. But then he started eating what he liked and didn't touch what he didn't. He learned to choose for himself. And then we stopped feeding him with a spoon because eating is a natural need. A hungry child will clean up a plate on his own.
I’m a lazy mom. I was too lazy to feed my children. When my kids were one year old, I gave them a spoon and sat to eat next to them. When they were a year and a half they could already use a fork. Of course, at first I had to wash the table, floor and my child himself after every meal. But this is my choice between «I'm too lazy teaching my baby to do something, Iwill do it myself faster» and «I'm too lazy to do it myself, I will spend time and energy on teaching».
Another natural need is urination and defecation. Simon did everything in his pants. His mother told us to take Simon to the toilet every two hours. As a result, in kindergarten he waited for someone to take him to the bathroom. Waiting too long, he peed in his pants and didn’t even try taking them off or asking for help. If parents anticipate every wish of their child, he won't learn to understand his needs himself and ask for help.A week later the problem was solved.
’I want to pee!’ - Simon announced proudly walking towards the toilet bowl.
In kindergarten all children start eating on their own, going to the bathroom on their own,deciding what to do on their own, ask for help, solve problems. No, I don't say parents should send a child to kindergarten as soon as possible. On the contrary, I believe it's better for him to stay at home until he's 4 years old. I'm talking about mother and father being reasonably selfish: no overreacting, no overprotecting but giving a child some space for self-development.
One day my friend and her 2-year-old son visited us and slept over. At 9 p.m. she went to put him to bed. The child didn't want to sleep, was stubborn, struggled to break loose, but his mother was persistent and held him in bed. I tried to distract her: «I think he doesn't want to sleep yet»(obviously, he came not so long ago, saw new toys, met other children). But putting to bed didn't stop... They struggled for about an hour. At last, my friend's child fell asleep. My child fell asleep right after him. When he was tired he just lay on his bed and was asleep in a couple of minutes. I'm a lazy mom. I'm too lazy to hold my child in bed. I know he falls asleep sooner or later because sleeping is natural.
I’m a lazy mom. I like sleeping late on weekends. One Saturday Iwoke up at about 11 a.m. My two-year-old son was watching a cartoonand eating a cookie. He turned on TV and activated the DVD player allby himself. His older sibling, who was eight years old, wasn't athome. The day before, he had asked permission to go with his friendand his parents to the cinema. I said that I was too lazy to get upso early, and if he wanted to go he had to get ready on his own. Ofcourse, I didn’t sleep...I set my alarm clock, I heard him leavingand closing the door, I waited for a text from his friend’smother...but this was all done ’behind the scenes.’
I’m too lazy to check his bag before school, to dry his clothesafter the pool, and to do homework with him. I don’t even take outthe garbage because this is my son’s responsibility: he does itwhen goes to school in the morning.
Moreover, I'm so impudent I can ask him to make me a cup of tea andbring it to me while I'm sitting in front of the computer. I thinkthat I will become even lazier with every coming year.
But once my mother comes to visit us, my children change almost beyond recognition. My elder son immediately ’forgets’ how to do his homework, how to heat up dinner, and how to get his schoolbag. He is even afraid to sleep alone in his room. It happens because our granny is not lazy.
Children will never be independent if their parents don’t want them to be.