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Stop doing these 8 things for your Teen this School Year

8-things-parents-need-to-stop-doing-for-teens-this-school-year

Don’t judge me if you happen to see my kids eating packaged Ritz crackers for school lunch.

Don’t judge me if they’re on the sidelines of PE because they forgot their uniform.

Don’t judge me if they didn’t turn in their homework because it’s still sitting home on their desk.

What some may view as a lack of parenting, is what I deem parenting on purpose, as we work to build necessary life skills in our kids.

I stopped making daily breakfasts and packing school lunches long ago.

I don’t feel obligated to deliver forgotten items left behind at home.

School projects and homework are not any part of my existence.

How do we raise competent adults if we’re always doing everything for our kids?

Let's parent our kids to be capable adults! I love this Ann Landers quote!

Walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year

1. Waking them up in the morning

If you are still waking little Johnny up in the mornings, it’s time to let an alarm clock do its job. My foursome has been expected to get themselves up on early school mornings since they started middle school. There are days one will come racing out with only a few minutes to spare before they have to be out the door. The snooze button no longer feels luxurious when it’s caused you to miss breakfast.

I heard a Mom actually voice out loud that her teen sons were just so cute still, that she loved going in and waking them up every morning. Please stop. I find my sons just as adorable as you do, but our goal is to raise well functioning adults here.

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch

My morning alarm is the sound of the kids clanging cereal bowls. My job is to make sure there is food in the house so that they can eat breakfast and pack a lunch.

One friend asked, yeah but how do you know what they’re bringing for school lunch? I don’t. I know what food I have in my pantry and it’s on them to pack up what they feel is a good lunch. It will only be a few short years and I will have no idea what they are eating for any of their meals away at college. Free yourself away from the PB and J station now.

3. Filling out their paperwork

Have kids fill out and sign all school paperwork and put on clipboard before you sign

I have a lot of kids, which equates to a lot of beginning of the school year paperwork. I used to dread this stack, until the kids became of age to fill all of it out themselves. Our teens are expected to fill out all of their own paperwork, to the best of their ability. They put the papers to be signed on a clipboard and leave it for me on the kitchen island. I sign them and put them back on their desks.

Hold your teens accountable. They will need to fill out job and college applications soon and they need to know how to do that without your intervention.

4. Delivering their forgotten items

Monday morning we pulled out of the driveway and screeched around the corner of the house when daughter dear realized she forgot her phone. “We have to go back, Mom!” Another exclaimed that he forgot his freshly washed PE uniform folded in the laundry room. I braked in hesitation as I contemplated turning around. Nope. Off we go, as the vision surfaced of both of them playing around on their phones before it was time to leave.

Parents don’t miss opportunities to provide natural consequences for your teens. Forget something? Feel the pain of that. Kids also get to see, that you can make it through the day without a mistake consuming you.

We also have a rule that Mom and Dad are not to get pleading texts from school asking for forgotten items. It still happens, but we have the right to just shoot back “that’s a bummer.”

text message

5. Making their failure to plan your emergency

School projects do not get assigned the night before they are due. Therefore, I do not run out and pick up materials at the last minute to get a project finished. I do always keep poster boards and general materials on hand for the procrastinating child. But, other needed items, you may have to wait for. Do not race to Michaels for your kid who hasn’t taken time to plan.

This is a good topic to talk about in weekly family meetings. Does anyone have projects coming up that they’re going to need supplies for so that I can pick them up at my convenience this week?

6. Doing all of their laundry

laundry time

“What? YOU didn’t get my shorts washed? This response always backfires on the kid who may lose their mind thinking that I’m the only one who can do laundry around here. Every once in awhile a child needs a healthy reminder that I do not work for them. The minute they assume that this is my main role in life, is the minute that I gladly hand over the laundry task to them.

Most days I do the washing and the kids fold and put their clothes away, but they are capable of tackling the entire process when need be.

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches  

If our child has a problem with a teacher or coach, he is going to have to take it to the one in charge. There is no way that we, as parents, are going to question a coach or email a teacher about something that should be between the authority figure and our child.

Don’t be that over involved parent. Teach your child that if something is important enough to him, then he needs to learn how to handle the issue himself or at least ask you to help them.

8. Meddling in their academics

National Junior Honor Society middle school induction ceremony Cocopah Middle School

Put the pencil down parents. Most of the time, I honestly couldn’t tell you what my kids are doing for school work. We talk about projects and papers over dinner, but we’ve always had the expectation for our kids to own their work and grades. At times, they’ve earned Principals Lists, Honor Rolls and National Junior Honor Society honors on their own accord. At other times, they’ve missed the mark.

These apps and websites, where parents can go in and see every detail of children’s school grades and homework, are not helping our overparenting epidemic.

Every blue moon I will ask the kids to pull up their student account and show me their grades, because I want them to know I do care. I did notice our daughter slacking off at the end of last year and my acknowledgement helped her catch up, but I’m not taking it on as one of my regular responsibilities and you shouldn’t be either.

What is your parenting goal?

Is it to raise competent and capable adults?

If so, then lets work on backing off in areas where our teens can stand on their own two feet. I know they’re our babies and it feels good to hover over them once in awhile, but in all seriousness, it’s up to us to raise them to be capable people.

I want to feel confident when I launch my kids into the real world that they are going to be just fine because I stepped back and let them navigate failure and real life stuff on their own.

So please don’t judge me if my kids scramble around, shoving pre-packaged items into that brown paper lunch bag, before racing to catch the bus.

It’s all on purpose my friends.

559 replies
  1. AmyRyb
    AmyRyb says:

    I find this to be very challenging with my son, who has some behavior issues and a general inability to take responsibility for anything. I know these are skills he has to learn (he’s only 8, but I’d like to start the process now), but it’s hard to tell what he actually has the capability to manage, and what his brain just can’t quite wrap around. He is very intelligent, but it seems his brain has a million other things floating through it at any given moment, to the point that he can’t remember to put his breakfast bowl in the sink despite me asking him constantly, or to even use a fork half the time (I know, I know). He’s just absent-minded and likes to take the easiest, shortest route to completing something–perhaps not out of laziness, but rather because there are other fish to fry. It’s something we’ve been working on with him for ages, with little progress. We’ve been doing therapy and the like, and fortunately his grades are good, but sometimes it’s not as black and white as we’d like it to be when setting limits. You are blessed to have four responsive and generally responsible kids 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Amy- You are so right that I am blessed that I don’t have behavior issues that prohibit me from setting limits with them. I, too, still have to remind and coax at times, but I think the goal is to get our kids to do things that they don’t necessarily want to do but are life skills they need to learn. I think it’s fantastic that you are already trying to work at helping your 8 year old to be more independent while realizing his limitations right now. This parenting gig is a journey and can be a tough one. We now have a 9 year old son who has joined our family and parenting him with his issues is more difficult, but with consistency and patience we will help him develop independence as he’s able. Thank you so much for commenting! Amy

      Reply
      • Lori
        Lori says:

        Follow this model: teach the skill, model the skill, guided practice with the skill, then independent practice of the skill. We often think life skills are learned automatically, but for many children they are not. Starting early has helped us with our daughter. Transitions from elementary to junior high or junior high to hugh school have required some reteaching.

        Reply
        • Sandy
          Sandy says:

          Echoes of Madeline Hunter??? You must have taught in the 1980’s? 90’s?? Kids probably have more respect for their teachers than they have for their mothers/maids/personal assistants! Just a thought……

          Reply
          • TK
            TK says:

            I was thinking the same thing! I was deep into writing the lesson plan before I finished that Lori’s comments! 1987 for me ….. common sense really.

          • Srob
            Srob says:

            They don’t. I’m a teacher and if they are not behaving at home, they are not behaving at school. I’ve seen many instances where it’s worse at school than at home.

          • Emily Keaveny
            Emily Keaveny says:

            I am so sick of being basically a house slave to my kids. Not much I can do though because they all have behavioural problems and unless we drive them to school, they can’t get there (none can drive and we live out of town). Our 17-y-o doesn’t get on with her 7-y-o brother so likes to make him late for school. Any ideas?

          • Kay Fan
            Kay Fan says:

            I’m a teacher and so many parents come to me with uncooperative child issues. The children are running the households. This has got to stop.

        • Carrie Aldridge
          Carrie Aldridge says:

          best comment so far. when i read these articles i always wonder why the “experts” go right to punishment? I do help my kids with these things, and as they mature they take over and manage well without me. The tough shit theory here teaches kids that there is no grace when errors are made. Teach grace so that children can give grace to others.. later on.

          Reply
          • Jan
            Jan says:

            I don’t see it as punishment for children to see the consequences of their actions. It prepares them for life….a boss will not be “gracious” when you left a project home. I have seen young workers break down because they have never learned to deal with negative consequences or criticism.

          • JT
            JT says:

            Keep in mind, too, the kids she (the author) is referring to are “teens”–13 to 18 yrs old! The teaching/modeling/guided practice should already be done for these types of activities by that point. By 13, children should be able to be fairly independent with school and home responsibilities. I was raised in a home very similar to what the author describes—I was doing my own laundry, using an alarm to wake up, and fixing my own simple meals by the time I reach 7th or 8th grade. If I was late to school or forgot something, it was my responsibility….and I know I am not the only one that had a childhood like that. A zero on a homework assignment or some extra laps for forgetting a PE uniform will not hurt a child….losing a job as an adult because of chronic tardiness or a lack of responsibility will!

          • Vicky Marstellar
            Vicky Marstellar says:

            Your’s is the best answer! I know because I raised my 3 children with the same attitude. I would show them once, help them once, and expect that third time they could handle it on their own. It has worked because of my 3 there is a MEd., a Navy Petty Officer 1st Class, and Doctorate of Law.

          • CarmeLita
            CarmeLita says:

            Yes. I didn’t like that at all. No attachment with your own children. To me it’s just another excuse for a mom not to do her daily duties as a mom. Having the kids fill out the paperwork and you just sign it…. Lazy

          • Becky
            Becky says:

            Yes! However, not taking what they forgot if it wont cause them to fail isn’t punishment, which is adding something negative in an attempt to extinguish a behavior. It is simply the natural consequense of the teen’s action. Much different from punishment and an excellent learning opportunity for a Hugh performer who may not encounter many opportunities to see failure as an opportunity to grow and change. We have to let them fail so they can learn how to overcome it.

          • Mary gores
            Mary gores says:

            This style of parenting takes more work, patience and effort. It is easier in many cases to just ” do it for them” making sure there are food choices, being on time and not getting angry when kids are in this situation, tolerating the chaos at moments for the situation to play out, living with a schedule that allows this…..etc. this is not lazy, this is consistent, patient, tolerant and showing forethought for your child’s future,

          • Mills
            Mills says:

            CarmaLita, honey, my mom thinks as you think. When it was time for me to go out into the real world, I could not have been less prepared. It took MANY years for me to recover from the shock of bosses not doing for me as my mother did. It took about 20-years of hard work to re-learn what is needed in life. Parents are suppose to teach their children how to be productive adults. To “lovingly” do for them is cruel.

          • Julia
            Julia says:

            It is not punishment, it is discipline. Punishment is pain, teaches nothing, discipline trains and changes behaviors. My classroom rules always were written with what they could do, with permission.
            You may be out of your desk, with permission
            You may visit each other, with permission
            and so on and so forth
            After going over these rules, one student said Oh so we can’t get out or our desks? I made him read the rules, Of course the You may be out of your desk, with permission was his downfall. I said does it say you cannot be out of your desk? He finally admitted that it did not and that was the only time during the school year that year a problem tried to start. Oh, this was a cocky 7th grader.

          • T Martin
            T Martin says:

            While most of this seems well and good. I guess I disagree with the tough love approach to teaching them responsibilities. We all make mistakes or forget something. The example of pulling out of the driveway and the kids remembered a needed item… as an adult you have the ability to pull back in, run in and grab your item. Seems these kids are being punished automatically. They do not have the ability to run back in the house because mom’s driving and refuses… I sure hope her crap is so together she never forgets a thing.

          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            I think you missed the point I was getting at when I said I ‘contemplated’ turning around, because I have and will absolutely do that, as we all need and deserve grace. I pointed out that I did not that time because they were playing around on their phones and therefore weren’t prepared because of that. This isn’t punishment, it’s a consequence. Our daughter can certainly go a school day without a cell phone and my son can get an undress in PE. Neither forgotten item was a necessity and it was a good day for them to learn from their mistakes. If it would have been important homework or something of the like, I would’ve gone back if we had the time. You are right that when they drive themselves, they will be able to then decipher if something is important enough to go back for or not. They will have had experiences to know what it felt like to have Mom sometimes get the forgotten item and sometimes not. Thanks for reading and commenting!

          • Linda
            Linda says:

            I agree the older they become the more mature they become .
            Give them love . Let them make choices . Give them encouragement. Everyone makes mistakes . Have their back !
            Have a heart . They will have a heart . The more they do for themselves , the more confidence they have in their selves .
            Sometimes make their special lunch . Makes them feel loved .
            Never do Thier home work . Have them do their laundary .
            Some times surprise them . They will thank you .

          • Verbena
            Verbena says:

            Yes, but there is too much grace everywhere today. Kids don’t have the chores they used to and the teachers are more like friends. For goodness sake I just heard that Harvard is removing the late fees on the library books because the kids have enough to do! We have become so far removed from this stuff that it sounds mean and selfish, but in reality, it makes kids be more respectful and graceful towards others. Don’t ask me how it works…but parents who kow-tow to their kids, never raise their voices, don’t ever want to disappoint them, don’t get the same respect from their kids. It is weird.

          • Michelle Ramaekers
            Michelle Ramaekers says:

            Some of us have children with significant emotional and/or behavioral issues. It isn’t enough to model the behavior you expect for every child. Some, like my soon to be 17 year old daughter need to learn to own their behavior, and then accept the consequences. We expect mistakes to be made but there are some kiddos that frankly need that red line.

        • renee
          renee says:

          My son too is 8 and going a mile a minute. We still use “responsibility charts” In the morning especially. Easy steps 1. get dressed. 2. brush your teeth. 3. eat breakfast. 4. pack lunch and snack. He knows he needs 1 protein source, 1 veggie, 1 water bottle, and 1 fruit for lunch. (that can even be on a sticky note inside lunchbox to start). we needs to complete his chart before TV or electronics in the morning…works like a charm. It’s HIS chart. HIS responsibility. Good Luck

          Reply
      • Lisa
        Lisa says:

        I have 5 kids. 4 of which were teenagers at the same time. The oldest 3 would run me to death bringing this or bringing that to school. I finally had to put my foot down because I couldn’t get anything done. I ended up going back to work for 6.5 years. They had a chore list for when they got home. Each of them had a certain day to do their laundry. If they missed that day, well, better luck next time. They learned to work together, even with laundry. Now our “baby” is 15. He is severely ADHD (behavioral only), in all honors classes. I recently became disabled, so he feels like that is the green light to put me back in the roads running back and forth. I woke up late one morning and he was fussing and complaining to his dad. My husband handed him an alarm clock, and said “son you should be waking your mom up, not the other way around!” He understands he has ADHD but he is not allowed to use that as a crutch/excuse! It’s has been very hard to teach these lessons to him. Our other 4 are all functional members of society. My daughter and her husband have moved back in with us to help take care of me, but that was by request, because she is a stay at home mom. My son thinks his sister is his maid etc. Is there an alternative way or a better way to get him off his butt???

        Reply
        • ostrich
          ostrich says:

          additude mag has lots of helpful advice. Here is a quote from the article link below.

          “If your child tunes you out on a regular basis, do a self-check. Have you become too negative or critical toward your child? Do you focus too much on problems and not enough on solutions? Has conversation turned into a series of lectures, instead of a give-and-take? No matter what your child’s age, it can be helpful to involve him in the process of establishing the household rules and setting consequences for breaking them. A child who feels included in the making of family rules will be more likely to respect them.”

          http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/882.html

          Reply
          • Dad
            Dad says:

            Your comment is entirely the problem! Whatever publication you are quoting and promoting continues to introduce weak, entitled completely unprepared young adults into the world. Children need to learn, feel and experience consequence for their decisions and actions … that is the most important life lesson every parent needs to focus on. Every other area is more easily absorbed when consequence is established.

          • Verbena
            Verbena says:

            This is garbage. Kids can’t handle things these days. It’s bad enough that the public schools have lowered their standards. Funny how many kids are straight A students, but they really aren’t.

        • Mike
          Mike says:

          I’m an adult diagnosed with ADHD at age 5 and major depression at age 34. I’m also a married father of four and a board-certified physician on the faculty of a very prestigious university hospital. ADHD doesn’t have to derail your son any more than it did me. How did my parents keep it from turning into an insurmountable obstacle? They recognized that the world wasn’t going to lower its standards for behavior and responsibility just because I have ADHD, so they held me to the same standards as my three non-ADHD siblings. They tied unacceptable behavior to unpleasant consequences, made it clear that they were in charge and didn’t work for me (“this isn’t a democracy, it’s a benevolent dictatorship,” my dad used to say), and they let me fall flat in my face when I forgot assignments or obligations. They once called my school and demanded that I be put in detention when I’d overslept and been tardy a few times. They made me walk to school in the rain when I missed my ride. They made me do my own laundry, clean my own room, and pitch in to a rotation of chores before I could enjoy TV or video game time. They made me earn my own money for the non-necessity items I wanted. In other words, they held me to the same standard they did my siblings — the standards the world would demand of me when I became an adult. And it worked. I learned how to anticipate and account for my weaknesses, and I developed reminders and lifehacks to compensate for them. As a result, I’ve enjoyed an unbroken record if academic success and a vibrant, rewarding medical career, as well as a happy and fulfilling family life.

          To put it succinctly, my parents were patient but demanding. They helped me learn the skills I needed, and then they made it clear that my success or failure would be based on my willingness or refusal to use those skills. Help your son understand what my parents taught me. The world doesn’t care if he has ADHD, it cares about whether he can still be a functional and productive adult.

          Reply
          • Barbara
            Barbara says:

            I could have been your parent for I raised my four children exactly the same as your parents raised you. They are all productive, caring, contributing members of society today. If they weren’t my children I would have chosen them to be my friends.

          • Dani
            Dani says:

            I rarely reply to comments but just want to commend you for your accomplishments and for speaking honestly. I teach in post-secondary and just today got down on myself because I felt maybe I was being too harsh on one of my students. She’s diagnosed with ADHD and some bi-polar tendencies. She’s also eight weeks away from an internship with a prestigious employer, and still making mistakes following instructions and submitting quality work. I spoke to her firmly but fairly, explaining that she had to do better to come across as polished and professional during her internship. I later told a colleague and she felt I should be easier on the student because of her condition. But my feeling is future employers aren’t going to treat her differently! They may try to be more accommodating but the work still needs to be done to a specific standard. Your comments reassured me that being patient but demanding is the right approach. There are SO many students in post-secondary that have “problems” and too often they become a crutch, a crutch we are encouraged to accommodate…and accommodate…and accommodate. We’ve followed these same rules with our boys and it’s working. At times, we’ve felt like the mean parents but letting them stand on their own feet – with kindness and love – is the best gift you can give. Thanks for sharing Mike.

          • Ashley
            Ashley says:

            Amen!!! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We need more parents like yours! We must love our children enough to raise them with expectations for their behavior and success. I observe too many parents who use a child’s disability as an excuse, even to include the parents’ behavior. We aren’t doing our children any favors using this type of parenting…or lack thereof.
            Kudos to your parents for raising a self-sufficient, proactive member of society. Congratulations to you for embracing their teachings and putting in the effort to overcome life’s challenges!

        • Mike
          Mike says:

          I’m an adult diagnosed with ADHD at age 5. I’m also a married father of four and a board-certified physician on the faculty of a very prestigious university hospital. ADHD doesn’t have to derail your son any more than it did me. How did my parents keep it from turning into an insurmountable obstacle? They recognized that the world wasn’t going to lower its standards for behavior and responsibility just because I have ADHD, so they held me to the same standards as my three non-ADHD siblings. They tied unacceptable behavior to unpleasant consequences, made it clear that they were in charge and didn’t work for me (“this isn’t a democracy, it’s a benevolent dictatorship,” my dad used to say), and they let me fall flat in my face when I forgot assignments or obligations. They once called my school and demanded that I be put in detention when I’d overslept and been tardy a few times. They made me walk to school in the rain when I missed my ride. They made me do my own laundry, clean my own room, and pitch in to a rotation of chores before I could enjoy TV or video game time. They made me earn my own money for the non-necessity items I wanted. In other words, they held me to the same standard they did my siblings — the standards the world would demand of me when I became an adult. And it worked. I learned how to anticipate and account for my weaknesses, and I developed reminders and lifehacks to compensate for them. As a result, I’ve enjoyed an unbroken record if academic success and a vibrant, rewarding medical career, as well as a happy and fulfilling family life.

          To put it succinctly, my parents were patient but demanding. They helped me learn the skills I needed, and then they made it clear that my success or failure would be based on my willingness or refusal to use those skills. Help your son understand what my parents taught me. The world doesn’t care if he has ADHD, it cares about whether he can still be a functional and productive adult.

          Reply
        • Sherry Clifton
          Sherry Clifton says:

          Your son has executive function difficulties and NEEDS the supports. It’s just the way it is with ADHD. What take a neuro typical person 5 times to learn, it can take an ADHD person 500 times to learn. It’s a difference in how the brain functions. The sink or swim approach simply doesn’t work for them. I have 3 kids with it and it’s frustrating but their needs are different. Hard wired ADHD is not an excuse or crutch, they are at a disadvantage and the proper supports will help them. Good luck..

          Reply
      • Rita
        Rita says:

        As I read your blog I though, wow, she’s kind of tough on her kids. Then I realized that I do at least half the stuff you do and my child is only 2 years old. My daughter cleans up her own room, puts her dishes and bowls in the sink, feeds the dogs, helps with laundry, hands me all school paperwork personally. I am raising her to be an adult not a lifelong child. I’m glad I’m on the right track!

        Reply
        • Tricia
          Tricia says:

          I did the very same things with my daughter. She helped with little things as soon as she was able (wiping low cupboards, picking up, helping make salads when she was 3 or 4, helping to stir food for meals, folding washcloths, etc.). She is 15 now and a straight-A student with a great sense of responsibility.

          All the work you do with them when they are little really pays off in the long run.

          Reply
        • Ashley
          Ashley says:

          “I am raising her to be an adult not a lifelong child.”

          That is probably one of the BEST statements, related to the goals of parenting, that I have EVER read! ❤

          PERFECT DESCRIPTION! 👍

          Thank you! 😊

          Reply
      • Angi
        Angi says:

        I absolutely love this! I am 33 yrs old and I have a 7 yr old son that I am working with constantly to do things for himself. I was raised with parents that always called me smart and capable, so they put a lot of responsibility on me at a very young age and I too filled out my own paperwork and did homework alone and met with my teachers. They didnt make breakfast or deliver forgotten items either. And i made it through alright. I resented it a bit when I was younger but now I see it made me an even more capable adult. My son will be the same because he needs to learn to survive on his own out there. Thank you for making me feel no guilt for wanting him to be more responsible and independent.

        Reply
      • Karen
        Karen says:

        Just start small. When my children were young, they had to call the video store and reserve the movie before I would go pick it up. They rode their bike 6 blocks to get their hair cut with the proper payment and instructions about how to tip. As they were older, they had their sports/school calendar in a planner (pre- cell phones) and were responsible for scheduling orthodontist appointments, etc. Their laundry also became their responsibility around middle school. Be ready for push back, but I have three wonderful, responsible adult children that I couldn’t be prouder of.

        Reply
      • C Duncan
        C Duncan says:

        Who are you to tell someone how to raise their kids?! How dare you! I will continue doing most of the things you’ve listed here… My kids are wonderful and know I’m going to go above and beyond for them! If my son texts me from school and asked me to bring something to him he’s forgotten I’m going to do just that if I’m able! As a matter of fact, when I leave work in a few hours I’m taking him his shoes and water for band practice because he forgot and I forgot to remind him this morning.

        Reply
        • C
          C says:

          Mommy isn’t always going to be there to pick up the pieces when they forget things in the real world. The author is simply suggesting we begin raising our children to be completely responsible for their actions and let natural consequences teach them not to forget and to be more responsible. I bet if you didnt take your son his stuff he would be more likely to remember them next time.

          Reply
          • Tani
            Tani says:

            You dont have to be that cruel to teach responsibility! And, I agree that you dont have the right to tell anybody these things or make them feel guilty for making their kids lunch etc.
            Each child is different and has different needs and help….your advice would not help some kids but instead cause loss of self esteem and self worth.
            I know of many many grown adults that are very reaponsible citizens, parents etc whose mother made them lunch everydAy for school .

          • Joann H.
            Joann H. says:

            C. Duncan should not be thanked. Read the replies below. She is doing it wrong. I’ve seen the outcome of C. Duncan’s method for decades and it isn’t pretty. We don’t know all the right ways to raise children but we do know the wrong ways and C. Duncan’s way is wrong. I am a voice of experience for I have raised 4 kids to be 4 adults who positively contribute to society.

        • JustAnotherMomTryingToSurviveLife
          JustAnotherMomTryingToSurviveLife says:

          It’s not a demand that you raise your children like this. It’s a suggestion because we don’t want to have to put up with the adult children who have a sense of entitlement. “I’m not going to worry about this because mom will be there to do it for me.” “I’m not going to take the blame for this because, after all, mom forgot to remind me.” Better go wipe your child’s butt because that’s exactly what you’re in for if you keep enabling the entitlement mentality.

          Reply
          • laura
            laura says:

            I’m with you C Duncan. Every child is different. My first two were raised with these expectations and they benefitted from it. My third is a different child. He is maturing at a different pace. I am not going to defend him with a diagnosis. I am obviously (from number 1 and 2) capable of raising kids the way the article recommends. However, number 3 – I AM HIS MOTHER and resent any judgement on my decisions to parent him in the way that I strongly believe will work best for him. I will say, I didn’t take the article to be too pushy, some good suggestions but some of these posts are rude and mean(Justanothermom, tiffani, skip, steph), or a know-it-all (joannh,sallyyork – I may not know what is best for your kids but please don’t be so arrogant to tell me what is best for each of mine.) ldybg81, skip and sallyyork, you’re not much better than k, Thank you to everyone else for your suggestions, related experiences.

          • justanothermother
            justanothermother says:

            Oh for crying out loud, I wiped my son’s butt for years. You know what it got me? A child who knows how to wipe properly, and underwear that NEVER had poop stains. They all wipe their own butts eventually.

          • Amy
            Amy says:

            Right??? Oh my gosh, how right you are!!! Those kids that are hovered over are the same kids that I see on a daily basis, that when something ‘goes wrong’ in their school or work life, they are the ones that play the blame game, make excuses, it was someone or something’s fault! They have not been taught how to take ownership of their own mistakes and how to correct them because mommy or daddy ‘fixed’ their poor heartbroken baby’s problems for them while growing into an adult. My fourth child is fourteen, believe me, it’s not a cakewalk! My three older children, once they started working, thanked me for teaching them simple skills as sweeping and washing dishes. Their comments were ‘you wouldn’t believe how bad some of their co-workers lack of know-how and responsibilty were! Here’s a shout out to all my responsibilty teaching parents out there. Here’s something else I teach as a parent, are you ready, helicopters? Choices have consequences, everyday, good, or bad, everyday.

          • Nan
            Nan says:

            Thank you! I’ve worked in schools for 16 years. It’s amazing what parents do for their kids on a daily basis, enabling them to be dependent for the rest of their lives. Let them learn a little disappointment in age-appropriate things so that they can handle the junk life is going to throw at them later. A kid who forgets his lunch is not going to starve to death after missing one meal. A late grade on a paper will not keep him out of college. Expecting someone else to pick up the slack all the time will cost him his job, his marriage…raise independent adults–you’re not always going to be there.

        • Ldybg81
          Ldybg81 says:

          All you are doing is raising more coddled, spoiled brats. You are in no way helping them by doing everything for them. How are they going to learn responsibility and to be held accountable for their actions? These kids nowadays have a sense of entitlement and expect things to be handed to them. You are their enabler and you are allowing them to take advantage of you and to expect you will always be there when they mess up. They need to learn to problem solve, to take accountability for their actions and not be so dependant on you. If you want your kids to be strong, responsible and independent adults than you need to start backing off.

          Reply
        • Skip Kirkwood
          Skip Kirkwood says:

          Wow. You will raise an entitled, dependent little brat who will be absolutely unequipped to deal with the real world. His bosses and work won’t pick up where you left off!

          Reply
          • Tina A
            Tina A says:

            Being a helicopter Mom is not helping children to mature and take responsibility for their existence .

        • Sally York
          Sally York says:

          Sadly you will see the consequences of your over parenting when they fail at college, jobs and marriages later. They need to learn the consequences of their slacking (and their responsible choices)…trust us be also were young parents once. Read more about it, research…

          Reply
          • Trailgirl002
            Trailgirl002 says:

            My husband believes in hands-off parenting because he was also parented in a hands-off way. He left me to do all the work, talked me out of my career when he was making more money and his job mandated that he move (my career was an immobile one). To keep the family together, I did move. And my independent, learn to do things for himself husband decided he needed to “think of himself for a change” and left the family for a young European women. No regrets, no apologies. So, yeah—that hands-off, learn how to take care of yourself parenting really raised an upstanding young man. There’s no right way to do it. Everyone’s different and anyone can grow up to be an entitled, self-centered narcissist.

        • laura
          laura says:

          Yes! Totally agree.
          Although I have one friend that delivers take-out food for lunch to her three kids in three school (high school, middle school and elementary) EVERY day. Now that’s nuts!

          Reply
        • TR
          TR says:

          Dear god lady she isn’t telling anybody HOW to raise there children she is simply stating how she was raised & is raising her children & why she is doing so…she is simple offer her opinion (which everyone is entitled to there own opinion) of what she thinks will help our kids come better more responsible adults!!!! She never stated anywhere that ALL PARENTS have to do this!!! You can write your own article about how you think people should parent there children…I’m sure some parents will agree with you & some will agree with her either way your comment was rude and uncalled for…if you don’t agree then move on you there was no need to judge her and act like she was trying to for us all parents to do this!!!! By the way I agree with this lady however my sister is more like you…in my opinion each to there own…I don’t judge my sister she is a wonderful mother but just because I parent different than her doesn’t make me a bad parent!!! You have to teach your children responsibility if you don’t when they get out in this cruel world as an adult they will be lost & the sad but true fact is mommy & daddy will not always be there to hold your hand!!!

          Reply
        • Michelle
          Michelle says:

          I guess we were more like C Duncan except I wouldn’t be so vehement as to tell Amy “how dare you…”–if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that parenting is rarely black and white. Each of us does what feels right for their own family. My husband just loved being involved with our three kids in the mornings (I did not) until they all went away to college–getting them up, telling them if he knew where that misplaced item was, and making food before driving them to school. While we did a lot for our kids, in fact many of the things you advise not to, we always reminded them that this doesn’t last forever, and frequently we just got things done together as a team. Deliveries of forgotten homework etc. were made on occasion IF it wasn’t a recurring problem, if the request was polite, and if it was convenient for us, otherwise too bad. They were happy for the help and reduced stress. Once in college, they transitioned without much problem to simply getting it all done on their own. They seemed to know instinctively that it’s no longer appropriate for us to be involved. All of them remained friends with their freshman roommates so I can’t imagine they were all that bratty, lazy or demanding.

          I know it’s easy to conclude that we are doormats and any child raised this way will turn into an entitled mess, but my kids do laundry, plan and cook their own meals, manage to a budget, clean their own dorms/apartments, get great reviews from their summer and part-time employers (and get asked back to these jobs), and get on well with others, all while getting good grades in school and being involved in really interesting extracurriculars. Even in high school, we helped with homework when asked (by junior or senior year this hardly ever happened), and each of them is now succeeding in college by working hard and taking advantage of resources at the school, not by getting us involved in any way. And no we don’t email professors (or even know their names for that matter) or bird dog their college grades one bit).

          That’s what worked for our family. I always enjoy reading about how other families get through the journey of parenthood.

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Great response Michelle! Yes, it is interesting to read how others are parenting and doing life together. There is absolutely not any one-size-fits-all method for sure. I like your mention that you got things done as a team, which is the key! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my post!

          • Sandy
            Sandy says:

            This sounds a lot like the way we raised our kids. End result? My daughter made sergeant in just 3 years in the Army, and when she got out earned 2 Bachelors degrees and a masters in 4 years. The first bachelors was earned by going to 2 local colleges and a 3rd school at night for a total off 33 credit hrs in a semester.
            My son went in the Army for special forces. I don’t think an occasional errand on their behalf hurt them at all.

        • Samantha
          Samantha says:

          I’m sure his employer will thank you when he’s older. As a teacher, I had students say, “My mom forgot my homework.” I would say, “Whose homework?” Then I would remind them that their mom’s work is her responsibility and their work was theirs.

          Reply
          • Deb
            Deb says:

            WOW NANCY! A blog is basically for someone to post their ideas , suggestions, and what has worked for them , or not ; or to journal their journey in this life!
            I am a Mom of six, plus 2 DILs, 2 SILs, and 11 grandkids. I have a daughter in college that has done very well academically , and such ; tested as gifted. I also have a special needs/ medically fragile child, and a special needs grandchild.
            I love all my kids and grandkids of course ; and though the suggestions in this article may not work as well for some kids, and may need tailored some to each families particular situation ; overall I agree with Amy ; and it is a good article!!
            So I Am Patting Her On The Back, and Yes , I Think She Is A Great Mom!!

        • Kate
          Kate says:

          If you’re lucky, this won’t backfire on you eventually and your child will turn out to be a responsible adult. If you’re not so fortunate, you’ll eventually have an adult child who can’t handle their own life and takes no responsibility for it. I work with high school students and have seen both results. A lot of the moms I know who covered over any possible bump in the road for their child have lived to regret it deeply. There can be life long issues from not teaching personal responsibility before kids leave home.

          Reply
        • Ann
          Ann says:

          Wow! No one made you read this post.
          If you feel it doesn’t apply or it is not how you want to do, please stop reading it. But if something in it is helpful, do that part. You are not a captive audience. Just move along to something else. But being rude to the author is not acceptable no matter how much you may disagree.
          I have followed a very similar approach to teaching children responsibility. I did make an exception for taking forgotten items to school. My children knew it was not my job. It was there job to remember. However, if that child had been being very responsibility in pother areas, I did make exceptions. Making exceptions does carry the risk that you then have someone depending on others to do their job. That is why it was made clear in the beginning and whenever I did recuse them, that I did it out of kindness not our of responsibility.
          In our family the reality was not just that we could function independently, but that we were also inter-dependent. My husband and I felt that a degree of inter-dependence was a good thing. We felt it helped teach that your family did have your back so to speak.
          On a side note, my twin daughters did have a friend whose mother micro-managed to such an extend that when she went to college, she knew how to do very little on her own. My daughters made the arrangements for her to take the shuttle bus from her college campus to Salt Lake City once (a distance of 200 miles), but while she was here for Thanksgiving, they taught her how to do that on her own.
          Kids need to know how to do a whole bunch of things. Parent must teach, model and encourage. But some of our best learning comes from our failures not our successes.

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Thank you for reading and commenting Ann! I love how you say your family members are interdependent. I totally agree that family is about having one another’s backs. I wrote the post as an absolute because I have to, but obviously we have grace in all areas with our kids. Have a great day!

        • Kate
          Kate says:

          The rudeness of your reply tells me that all is not well with you or your children. Life doesn’t give us servants trailing after us. Thou and all of us deserve a higher purpose than only finding meaning in rescuing our children. Kids will grow up and leave. Find something fulfilling for your life that includes loving and caring for your children but isn’t solely based on giving meaning to you when you save them from mistakes and do for them what they can and should be doing for themselves.

          Reply
        • Charlie
          Charlie says:

          Helicopter parent! Maybe you could get a job at your childs school so they will never have to be responsible for themselves.

          Reply
        • Albert Reyes
          Albert Reyes says:

          This lady(author) sounds a lil lazy to me…yeah I get it don’t baby them, but they are kids still learning…..plus the experience of helping them to grow is only going to happen once….it’s ok to get in there and help them out but always explain to them consequences for irresponsibility….don’t be lazy parents

          Reply
          • AshleyG
            AshleyG says:

            Your reply makes no sense & is very rude and arrogant…how are you gonna do everything for them, but “explain to them there are consequences” ?!? That’s ludacris & a total oxymoron LMAO!!! How are they possibly going to know what consequence are if they don’t ever actually experience them?!? That sounds much more lazy than the author of this post!! LMAO…let us know how that works when they all you to bail them outta jail – if they even figure out how! Baahahaha…rude, judgmental people just amaze me

        • Julie A
          Julie A says:

          Your prerogative! It’s just that some parents realize that doing these things over and over actually enables your kids to keep forgetting. I have a one-time rule. I’ll bring the phone/charger/homework one time. I will then tell her it’s the last time I’ll do it. Guess what? It’s never happened again. My daughter did laundry in grade 4, is able to her own food (I do most of the cooking but she’s more than capable), and she is learning to pick herself up and do better when she gets a bad grade, without me complaining to the school about how hard the test was.
          I now struggle with stage 4 cancer and I am unable to do many of the things I used to. Boy am I glad I taught her, because she is a wonderful help to me and at age 13, she’s really proud of herself for doing it, at a time when many girls struggle with their abilities and self confidence.
          This is just how I do things…but my belief is that I’m raising an adult, not a very tall child.

          Reply
        • Ashley
          Ashley says:

          And sadly, your child will become another entitled adult who blames society every time he fails. He will never feel the satisfaction of learning and earning many of life’s most precious skills…because Mommy did it for him.

          You are simply raising your child…to forever be a child! And when Mommy can’t “fix it” or isn’t around anymore to do it for him…guess who gets to “fix it” now?!? WE DO! The society that you were entrusted to raise your child to become a productive part of…now WE get to support the child YOU failed! Simply because he was never given the opportunity to learn to do anything for himself.

          YOU are exactly the type of parent NO ONE should be taking advice from!

          Reply
      • Pamela
        Pamela says:

        I am a 52 year old female and I can tell you that when you come home from school and your bed is made dirty clothes pick up all you do is homework play and get a bath (when your told) and go to bed (when you are told) get up (when you are told). You get married and wonder why is all this not done for me. It took me 7 yrs to get into getting everything done and I hated it (still hate it). It did not take me long to figure out that my mother worked herself to death on 3 boys and a girl, she was a stay at home mom, I had to work and complete all the things she did to and not learning it early made it so much harder to learn. When my boys were toddlers they were to pick up their own toys ( if you can get it out you can put it up) when they learned to dress themselves I was a proud mama but my mother was my babysitter and she would tell me I was so mean for doing them poor babies that way. It took twices as long to get ready to go anywhere lol. but with patience they learn what had to be done before we could go anywhere. I would get up put biscuits in the oven and my oldest son then 13 would get them out eat clean up after himself. My youngest son ate at school he was like me can’t eat when you first get up. as teens they learned to cook do hard cleaning and work at our lawnserves for their spending money. Today my oldest is married with 2 children when he first got married he and his wife would fight (she was raised like me) once I got him to understand she was not taught this as a child we made her list and taped them inside her kitchen cabinets what to do on monday’s and each day. She is now working a full time job and they work together to get things done around the house both kids are in sports so you know they are not home much so it takes both working together and the kids doing things also to get it all done. My youngest son lives alone cooks cleans takes care of gro shopping and they both have told me after all we went through with my daughter in law they are so glad they were taught all this stuff when they were little. Last but not lease I got my step son full time when he was 14 and Ole boy he couldn’t do anything for himself. It was a very hard row but we plowed it and he also has a wife and child and they are doing great. Sometime when he was to clean his room I would have to go in set on the end of the bed and ask where does that go you need to put this up what about this he came from a house that was so piled up it had little trails to get around the house. He had a very hard time even seeing things needed to be put up.
        I never will forget our lives and the stress it took to get there. I can say I am a very proud mother of 3 of the best man in the world. So very proud that I know they can make it on their own after mama leaves this earth. If I had not had such a hard time learning to be an adult I probably would have not done any of this. It all worked out in the end. I can say from experience please teach your kids to take care of themselves early. Its so hard to learn new habits when you grown.

        Reply
        • Amy Carney
          Amy Carney says:

          Thank you Pamela for sharing your journey! To me there is never harm in having kids learn to help themselves. It can only benefit them in the long run, as long as we parents are emotionally connecting with our kids in other ways!

          Reply
      • Eileen
        Eileen says:

        Oh boy, I’m in trouble. I have a 12 and 14 year old that I wake daily, make breakfast and lunch, do their laundry, bring them stuff they forget. I hit them all. I realize I do way too much! At their age I was doing all of this and more. And I didn’t do it I suffered the consequences! Time to start thinking like my parents! Kids are getting more lazy and parents like me aren’t helping. Thanks for sharing the article!

        Reply
        • Amy Carney
          Amy Carney says:

          Your exact response was why I wrote this. I’m so happy that many people are reading this post for what it is and letting it perhaps inspire them instead of taking it as a personal attack. We are all free to raise our kids as we feel best! Thank you Eileen for reading and commenting!

          Reply
          • Julie A
            Julie A says:

            Amy I am so fascinated by this subject matter because I was raised the polar opposite. I was a latch key kid with an alcoholic mother so I fended for myself out of necessity. I wouldn’t recommend that type of parenting at all! But now I’m a stay at home mom with one child and I have time to do it all…but I won’t. I love your point of view!

        • Ashley
          Ashley says:

          It’s not easy to admit our faults, especially when it comes to parenting. I, too, read this article and realized that I do more than I should for my 10 year old son. I’m pretty sure Amy’s intent with this article was to help us realize little ways we can all be better parents…she isn’t demanding we all parent “her way,” as some of the readers have interpreted it.

          As parents, we are always learning and I feel encouraged by the article, your reply, and some of the other great comments! 😊

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Thank you, Ashley, for reading and for all of your positive comments! I love that my writing has encouraged you to think differently in your parenting journey. That is my only desire as I write from my perspective on mothering five kiddos. Keep spreading your love and positivity!

      • Bonnie Sell
        Bonnie Sell says:

        I did 1,2,4, and 6 until my son left home for college and would gladly do it all over again!! He’s successful: graduated college, been very successful in the business world, is married w/family and a very loving father!! I don’t think my “mothering stifled him!!

        Reply
        • Louise
          Louise says:

          I agree with you Bonnie. I feel like parenting is too much trouble for most of the people that have responded here. My “kids” are 21 and 24. My husband and I did many of these things for them and do not regret it at all!! My husband and I both grew up in single parent households. We wanted to make sure our kids knew that both of their parents were/are always supporting them.

          Reply
          • Emily
            Emily says:

            Excellent comment! You can learn to wash clothes, you can learn to be on time, etc. But I never want my son to doubt that I am here. To love him, to teach him AND to support him. I locked my keys in my car three times in one week – it happens. I’m so glad my husband went out of his way to let me in. It’s part of being human and if I can I will bring my child his forgotten item.

            Also, just to add my circumstantial evidence: my mom made both my hot breakfast and lunch every day. She brought anything I had forgotten when needed. She stood up for me against some “authority figures” who were also bullies. I never once doubted that, thought the world may fail me, I could always count on my mom. I was in the National Honor Society in HS (among other things), I graduated with a bachelors in nursing, I’m in a stable and happy marriage, I am a well adjusted and happy adult. So don’t be afraid to stand up for, to love on, and to mother your children with ample grace.

      • Humbug Mpm
        Humbug Mpm says:

        Emily Keaveny, Reality check. This is the time the car leaves. If you are not ready, you do not go to school, and I do not write you a note. The 17 yo does not have the power to make the 7 yo late for school.

        Each parent knows their own child/ren best, and hopefully challenges them appropriately; but I love this effort to bring up responsible, accountable humans! It’s NOT easy – but neither is being unhappy. And it seems to me that irresponsible adults often are not happy.

        As a teacher, I very much appreciate students advocating for themselves. But no profession lacks for non-professional behavior. Please be sure to check with your children and back them up if they can show you that they have made good effort. They also need to learn how to work with people not handling THEIR responsibilities appropriately – hopefully to a successful resolution.

        Reply
      • Sue Killingsworth
        Sue Killingsworth says:

        If he has ANY phone, game system, handheld gizmo, BURN THEM IMMEDIATELY. I so am not kidding. My eldest has been a straight A student all his life. My second got so hooked on gaming at such a young age, and before the very real dangers of it were understood, that it has caused very real learning issues plaguing him his whole life. The voices in that “other world” block us, and teachers, completely out. He is, not bragging, brilliant, but lives in his own world. Like any obsession, it takes over your life.

        Reply
      • mandy
        mandy says:

        I would like to say to all here I did most of the things on the list for my son for longer than most would do. Hot meal on the table every school mourning. (They did have chores) My oldest when off to collage and is doing very well with taking care of himself. They figure it out …some sooner than others. When he’s home from collage I stil do his wash and cook for him sometimes. I love to be able to do things for my two boys. When your child’s day starts at 5:45 and they don’t get home till just after six it’s nice to have a helping hand or a hot meal to get your day started. They grow up fast enough. I say spoil them… but not too much.

        Reply
      • LS
        LS says:

        I am trying to respond to her actual post but might only be responding to your comment? Parents these days are so mean! This article is awful.. do I judge you.. absolutely! Don’t make excuses for being lazy and not helping your children! I hate when parents try to make their kids be adults when they’re not! Pretending you’re preparing them for the world instead of just saying you don’t want to do everyday things.. like making breakfast for a 14 year old!! Lazy parents trying to pretend little or big kids need to get ready for the real world.. sorry if your 14 year old child forgets their project and you’re home then bring it to them jerk!! As an adult if I forget something at home that I need for work I race home and get it! I call my husband if h ishike to please bring it? As a parent if you are home get in your car and drive it there! I hate that everyone thinks bringing a child their project at 10 is going to impact how they treat their job when their 30!! I hate that this mom wrote this article to defend herself Beacuse she’s lazy and others agree with her!! No reason a Mom cannot cook her kids a nice breakfast other than she’s selfish and lazy!! Trying to pawn it off as my child needs to learn how to fend for themselves is a cop out! My mom did so much for me growing up and when I started college 1000 Mike’s away at 18 I figured it all out!!

        Reply
        • Julie A
          Julie A says:

          Hey no need to be so harsh. We are all entitled to our point of view and name calling isn’t necessary. It doesn’t help you make your point it just sounds mean.

          Reply
      • Scott Thompson
        Scott Thompson says:

        You adopted an older child? My guess is he will challenge your rules about what you will and won’t do for him. Just my speculation from our experience adopting 4 older children.

        Good luck.

        Reply
    • MichiganOT
      MichiganOT says:

      Please work with the therapist to find age and cognitively appropriate ways to introduce these challenges if you’re not sure what true capacity is. Your OT/SLP will most likely be thrilled to be able to have something to team up with you on that moves the kiddo forward to independence. 🙂 Good luck and keep trying! Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.

      Reply
      • Miri
        Miri says:

        “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.”

        Wow, i have truly, never heard that before. That statement really grabbed me and speaks volumes. Thank you for posting it.

        Reply
        • Jennifer Pilger McCoombe
          Jennifer Pilger McCoombe says:

          If you don’t push for total independence then they will always expect you to jump in and help them. My husband is almost 60 and still relies on my father to do things for him and his mother to do things for him that he is afraid to do for himself. I tried as his wife to make him the independent man and his mother blamed me for everything he lacked as a grown up. Don’t let that happen to your child’s spouse . The spouse isn’t suppose to take the role of mommy or daddy. BTW my father is 91. He has lived with us for 31 years…. the same length of time we have been married. At the request of my husband not me.

          Reply
        • Joyce morrison
          Joyce morrison says:

          I will not make excuses for my children but I believe some of these listed are a parents job (purpose). This is not stay at home vs working parents but being a parent. Teens are going thru so many changes that if we take hands off approach they may get the idea too soon they don’t need parents at all. If you want to make them do things then stand with them and use this time as a sharing not I taught you now it’s your job. My children are grown and some things in life they will learn no matter what. Mine are all potty trained and know how to fold their undies to boot. Haha

          Reply
      • Jill Thomas
        Jill Thomas says:

        Thoroughly enjoy the failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.
        F.A.I.L-First attempt at learning

        E.N.D-Effort Never Dies

        N.O-Next Opportunity

        Reply
        • Laurie
          Laurie says:

          I totally agree with this, I have 5 kids and for the last 4 plus years, a single Mom. There is no way we could function as a family or team unit, if everyone doesn’t pull their own weight! My worries are how to provide enough and keep the electricity turned on, most of the rest has to be up to them.

          Reply
    • Tracy
      Tracy says:

      Amy, work with therapist to find ways to help him manage his abilities. Perhaps he needs routine(the same thing everyday, even weekends) , perhaps checklist, make your child part of planning these.
      My boys are both add or ADHD.. it can be done.. you can do it. We used trial and error for both boys. It took us awhile to get it so don’t give up..

      Reply
    • Diana
      Diana says:

      My grandson lives with me. He started kindergarten this year and before school started I took him to pick out his own alarm clock. He felt like a big boy! He didn’t know I could wake him up….that was HIS alarm clocks job…..start em young. They’ll make better people.

      Reply
        • Heather
          Heather says:

          HELP! My third daughter(13) is SUCH a sound sleeper! She sleeps through the alarm clock, the alarm on the phone, I’m not certain she wouldn’t sleep through a train barreling through our house. I need ideas/advice on what could help to get her up in the mornings. My 15 year old daughter always gets up on her own, she’s always been good about that but not my 13 year old…thanks in advance for any help you could give me

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Hi Heather! I experience the same thing as you with our 13 year old daughter on many mornings. If I need to go in there and lift the shade and wake her a couple mornings in a row, then I say to her that she’s obviously not getting enough sleep so she’s going to have to go to bed earlier if she’s sleeping so sound to not hear her alarm. That seems to work for us, until it doesn’t again and then we have her go to bed earlier again. We are for sure going to have to help wake up certain kids here and there. It’s not realistic to expect perfection every day! It’s making sure that having to wake them is not a daily habit that they’ve just come to rely on. Thanks for reading and commenting!

          • Lisa
            Lisa says:

            Heather just for safety sake…she may have sleep apnea. It is worth looking into. It can be quite harmful if not treated. I have sleep apnea and no of kids in school who have it.

          • Karol
            Karol says:

            As a teenager, I was impossible to wake up… I bought the loudest alarm clock available and would put it across the room from my bed (requiring me to get out of bed to turn it off). I actually had 2 clocks — set about 15 minutes apart and placed in 2 separate locations in my room. And while that worked most days, there were a few occasions where I was doused with water to wake me up… probably frowned upon now but it did work. I always made sure I got 8 hours of sleep (anything less was an even bigger nightmare to wake me up) But my college roommates were given the instruction (by me) to pour water on me if I didn’t wake up to my alarm. As an adult, I no longer have those issues but for some reason as a teen, it was different. They say a teen’s brain chemistry is different.

          • Bekah
            Bekah says:

            There is an app called Sleep Cycle that wakes you up during the time you are sleeping more lightly and it makes it much easier to wake up.

      • Janet
        Janet says:

        You’re right, I gave an alarm clock to my daughter in kindergarten. I still checked in if she was not awake a couple of times before I let her learn the hard way. She started doing her laundry by 11. She knows her bedtime. And follows the rules. She is 14 and a freshman. I’m not telling her about the grades. I just check to make sure it’s getting turned in on time.

        Reply
      • Angel
        Angel says:

        Yes! I have 11yr old triplets and we started by teach big simple things when they were 4 -5 years old. Things like just. Leading their own spot at the table, unloading dishes or loading them. Helping put clothes away. My crew at 11 do their own breakfast and lunch daily, get clothes out and dressed, wash dishes and clothes, sweep, trash and many other things. They know the schedule when they get off the bus. If you start when they are little and increase it as they grow it is a HUGE help than just starting to expect things at 12.

        Reply
        • Amy Carney
          Amy Carney says:

          Yes! I, too, started letting mine take on responsibility early so that all of this comes pretty natural to them now in high school. Perhaps it’s out of necessity having triplets? Thanks so much for reading and sharing Angel! Go triplet Mommas!

          Reply
        • judith Wood
          judith Wood says:

          Perhaps he could have a chalk boad/white board, where he, or you, could write what he needs to remember. Then, if he needs a PE kit on Thursday say, you could get him to mark it up. He then a would check the board before bed to prepare & before leaving for school. That way it’s his responsibility to record, prepare & check. Gradually preparing him for when he’s older and a diary would suffice !!

          Reply
      • Debbie Hebert
        Debbie Hebert says:

        Love this comment! My husband and I also bought alarm clocks for our girls when they went to kindergarten as a “big girl” thing to have. This was suggested in the parenting guide we had followed in other areas…excellent advice by Dr. James Dobson. It worked like a charm and they always got themselves up for school!

        Reply
    • Kristal
      Kristal says:

      Try lists. My 9 year old son has pretty severe ADHD combined type, and he needs lists to get things done, but he is fully capable of DOING all those things. Sit down with him and ask, “what are the things you have to do to get ready to walk out the door in the morning? What do you need to accomplish when you get home so that you can enjoy free time?” Then have him list them out. Laminate it, give him a dry erase or sharpie (both clean off easy) and he can check things off each day.

      Reply
      • Angel
        Angel says:

        I have a pretty severe ADHD kid as well. He also has sensory processing issues and anxiety. There is something’s I don’t expect him to do because of the sensory issues(he can’t stand to get food on his hands especially when cleaning up dirty dishes) so he unloads the clean dishes while the other two load. He also needs lists to complete things but now that he has the routine he can do it without it. He also knows his medicine isn’t the cause for him completing or not completing things. The medicine helps him make better choices but it is ultimately his choice.

        Reply
    • Lisa Zientek
      Lisa Zientek says:

      Being only 8 and having behavioral issues I would limit the tasks he would need to be responsible for but I support starting now but in a progressive way rather than immediately after the family meeting.

      I’d suggest starting with things around the house and build from there. Most children with behavioral issues are visual learners so follow up with something visual like a chart or pictures with words (the picture grabs the attention so he can be reminded with the words). Start off with maybe 2 things with a time limit on when he needs to master them on his own and stsrt off with easy things so he can k ow the feeling of accomplishment. Say remembering to take his dirty clothes to the laundry room once a week, say on Friday’s either before or after school. In the beginning remind him Mon & Wed that on Friday he needs to take his clothes to the laundry room. The visual can be a printed sign that has colorful clothes on it with the words Laundry on Fridays or something similar and posted somewhere he will see it daily. The first Friday if he doesn’t do it before school put a neon large star burst or something on the visual poster. If he fails on this first week you assist him in completing the task but with a consequence like helping you do a chore that way ya’ll have some one on one time and at the end of the chore remind him that next week you’re inky going to remind him on Wednesday and that he’ll have to do the extra chore by himself if he doesn’t remember. Once he asters this then keep this as part of his routine and either increase the responsibility or add another responsible with the time line and same scenario with the verbal reminders and visual aide.

      Kids with behavior issues tend to do better when there is a routine. Once these are established as part of his routine he should do better. It’s hard to sometimes maintain and stick to your guns but if you do I’ll bet it will pay off. Also any adults in the home along with older kids (teens) need to be aware of what you’re trying to accomplish and be on board so that they don’t sabotage yours and your kids efforts.

      Best of luck to you. It’s not always easy doing this parenting thing so give yourself a break if things don’t go as planned and if needed ask for help from a professional; that’s what they’re there for. And keep going until you find the best fit for you a d your kiddos.

      Reply
      • Tonya
        Tonya says:

        This is a good idea, except I would start with one thing that’s done daily. It’s easier to establish a daily routine, then to try something that’s only once a week. Dealing with ADD myself, the reminders on Wednesday would leave 2 whole days to forget. For me, that would have caused more anxiety. I would want to do well, but would completely forget when the time came. This then leads to a snowball effect that would keep me down all week. Look for small accomplishments, but make them daily and then work towards the weekly tasks.

        Reply
    • Kikki
      Kikki says:

      I loved this article!!! So many times people look at me like I’m a non caring mom because I refuse to baby my children . Once they hit middle school I started teaching them how to be responsible. It’s what my parents did with me and why I was able to an independent career driven woman, mother and wife. I want my kids to know responsibility and hard work as well as they can accomplish so much even without the help of mom and dad.

      Reply
      • Amy Carney
        Amy Carney says:

        Yes Kikki! Trying to teach kids responsibility is not uncaring. It actually takes a lot of effort I think! Thanks for commenting!

        Reply
    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      My son has ADHD. He is 14 & I still have to remind him to put his bowl in the sink and I’m not his maid so put your clothes down the laundry shoot.
      Up until he was 11ish I did make sure his homework was done. I did converse with his teachers to make sure he stayed on coarse. And I put $ in his account so he ate breakfast at school. I still ask him if he has any homework that needs to be finished or is due. But it is not my job to make sure he finishes it after the reminder.
      It is perfectly fine to remind your child, which it seems we will do forever.
      Being a helicopter mom is a completely different story.
      We all have different ways of raising our children. What might work for one mom would never for another.
      Keep up the great work

      Reply
    • Shashana Pearson-Hormillosa
      Shashana Pearson-Hormillosa says:

      Hi AmyRyb! Have you tried creating a to-do list or chore chart for him? I am a list maker–a skill I had to learn to help organize my scattered brain. After a recently venting to my husband about behavioral challenges I’ve been having with my soon-to-be-9 year old, he suggested maybe one of my famous lists would help her too. I created a chore chart to get her to focus on mastering certain skills a little at a time. You could try that, or even have your son make the list in a way that works best for him. And then attach some sort of natural consequence to it if the tasks aren’t completed on his own. For example, no device time until all tasks are complete. We wanted to implement an allowance system at our house, so our chart includes paid tasks that don’t get paid out unless the non-paid tasks are completed. There will be trial and error and it won’t happen overnight, but so far, my kids (I have another who is 6) feel empowered by accomplishing their tasks independently. I’m hopeful that I’m building the foundation now, so that when they get to be teens, I can follow Amy Carney’s advice here. Hope this helps and good luck!

      Reply
      • Amy Carney
        Amy Carney says:

        Yes! You are exactly right that we should be slowly building a foundation for our kids to leave our home empowered and capable, in whatever way we feel works best. Thank you for reading and for your advice and comments!

        Reply
        • VLKur
          VLKur says:

          When my (now grown) kids were young, I used to get shocked looks when I declared to my other parent-friends, “From the day my children arrived I have been preparing them to leave”. But it’s true. It’s our job as parents. My kids are all grown and are (mostly) on their own. I taught them life skills, didn’t do lunches or laundry, gave them cooking and cleaning jobs, and set (reasonable) expectations for language, civic duty, and educational merit. I didn’t hover over sports, grades, conflicts, nor did I interfere in their private lives, unless I felt they were in danger. I’m proud of that, not wistful that they are “gone”. I miss them sometimes, but I have my life and they have theirs, and I respect that.

          Reply
        • VLKur
          VLKur says:

          When my (now grown) kids were young, I used to get shocked looks when I declared to my other parent-friends, “From the day my children arrived I have been preparing them to leave”. But it’s true. It’s our job as parents. My kids are all grown and are (mostly) on their own. I taught them life skills, didn’t do lunches or laundry, gave them cooking and cleaning jobs, and set (reasonable) expectations for language, civic duty, and educational merit. I didn’t hover over sports, grades, conflicts, nor did I interfere in their private lives, unless I felt they were in danger. I’m proud of that, not wistful that they are “gone”. I miss them sometimes, but I have my life and they have theirs, and I respect that.

          That being said, each of my three children (of course) are very unique, and I worked very hard to individually manage their personalities, and came at parenting differently for each of them, for the greatest and most lasting impact.

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Yes, I view this as healthy parenting myself. Balancing showing up for our kids while showing up in our own lives. Thank you for taking the time to comment Virginia!

    • Barbieg
      Barbieg says:

      Perhaps if you divide tasks into each step involved. Progress as he masters each step. Include why each step is important.
      Be patient. One day you’ll look up and see your progress for both of you.
      Best wishes.

      Reply
    • Daneen Walters
      Daneen Walters says:

      I completely disagree. I have 3 boys that are independent. They make their own beds and cook when I’m not there but they appreciate what I do when I am. As a full time nurse I’m always on the run so I don’t always cook but they love it when I do. I help my 11 year old who has ADD study for tests. I wash their laundry but they put it up. They keep their rooms clean. I walk into their rooms and tell them good morning and it’s time to get up just as an alarm sounding would do. I am in their academic affairs because that is very important for their future. My oldest was missed for being inducted into the National honor society because a grade was not configured into his transcripts and I caught it a year later. So I believe if you don’t stand up for your own kids then no one will. I raise my kids as I was raised and my brothers and I are all productive. They truly know that I expect what they are capable of and that I love them. There is no certain way to parent, each child is different and requires to be raised different. It’s the hardest job of all.

      Reply
      • Kristin
        Kristin says:

        I agree with you! We all need help and love. The Golden Rule applies: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

        Reply
      • D Weber
        D Weber says:

        Agreed. You have to be your child’s advocate when they have ADD or a learning disability and coach them slowly and in the right direction giving them as much independence and responsibility as possible at a time.

        Reply
    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      With my children’s behavior issues, I have found that having a routine is assistive. Begin with adding one change to that (at eight, after doing homework it goes into their backpack for school the next day) when this is complete and becomes a habit, helping with dinner, making their bed, helping with laundry, etc. Or even making sure they have the proper outerwear for school was on our list. If you forgot it, you were cold. ( obviously not in below zero weather!) But you get the idea. It takes effort on the parents part, but there are natural consequences to every decision good and bad.

      Reply
    • Robert Brown
      Robert Brown says:

      First: I know I don’t know all there is to know to make a fully informed decision about what you should do.

      Second: I do know enough to recommend what you should not do. Do not continue to do everything the same as you have been and expect different results. It will not happen. For you to expect it will reveals insanity on your part and that you are a bigger part of the problem than is your boy.

      Third: Do not allow your fears to prevent you from making the changes in your behavior and expectations of him you think might be for his long-term benefit.

      Fourth: He can handle much more than you imagine, no matter what his physical, emotional or mental capabilities. Expect it of him and allow him to fail as needed to get it right.

      Fifth: Assure they know you love them and really do it. Love is active, not an idea.

      Reply
    • Shauna
      Shauna says:

      Remind him once about what he has to do and if he can’t do it himself let him find out what happens if he misses an assignment.

      Reply
    • EO
      EO says:

      Stop “asking” your child and start “telling”. Your 8 year old is more than capable to do the things you demand of him. You are not a mean or bad mom to make him do things.

      Reply
    • Victory
      Victory says:

      My oldest son was is only 3. He hates taking time from his play schedule to eat enough dinner. Tonight I had to NOT give him a bedtime milk bottle because he knows he can rely on that to fill his hunger, however this does not teach him to eat when the food is ready.

      Reply
    • Scott
      Scott says:

      If you let him “fall on his face” metaphorically, he will figure it out. He’s 8, so the consequences won’t be huge. You can also tell/teach him how to make a priority or reminder list, and place it in a very easily seen area in his room, or a place he often goes.

      I WAS that kid who had 100 things going on in my head, short attention, hated school, etc. He will be better off for the struggles; we learn more from our failures than our successes, and you need to let him learn from failure. Let him own it, so to speak, but don’t rub it in, which I doubt you would do.

      Also, set goal oriented rewards. “Can I go to Timmy’s?” Sure after you do XYZ”. Then, when he forgets to do those items, and wants to go, remind him of the goals and rewards. He’ll get it.

      Reply
    • Melissa
      Melissa says:

      I have a special needs 12 year old boy. He can not read or write. He just learned numbers and can somewhat tell time but he struggles. Because of some of his special needs involve behavior, we too struggle. BUT…I set alarms. He gets up, showers, get’s his breakfast, takes his meds. And alarm goes off when he needs to get dressed for school. Another alarm goes off for him to gather up his stuff and wait at the door for the bus. It as taken several years to get him to this point. I also do picture reminders for him. In the shower is a laminated sheet of the steps he needs to do to get a good shower. He has a shelf in the pantry with breakfast items to choose from. Because he has cerebral palsy he lacks a lot of strength. I got Tupperware kids pitchers I keep full with milk or juice so he can pour his own drink. You can do it, just need to modify to fit the need of your kid! He is much more responsible and capable since I entrusted him to do these every day living skills.!

      Reply
    • Marilyn
      Marilyn says:

      AmyRyb-I have the same challenged 8 yr old in girl form. She is actually a Special Ed student. We had the battle of the cup. We would find THEM everywhere. I finally had enough. I asked her which was her favorite cup (the rest of us use glasses) I got rid of the rest. Day 1- I gave her juice for breakfast and told her once-when your done put your cup in the sink please. The first days were a total challenge with not a few meltdowns BUT the rule was Mommy only washes the cup that is put in the sink. Since there was only one and nobody likes skanky 6 hour old juice the cup amazingly found its way into the sink after a few “I’m thirsty”s did not result in me seeking out where she left it and washing it. It worked with favorite toys too. Hope this helps

      Reply
    • jenny
      jenny says:

      My son is also 8 and we’ve begun to do some of these things. We’re not all the way there yet and that’s okay. I make a sandwich for him and tell him to collect the other things he’d like. when we’re both done, he packs it in his backpack. Would it be awesome if he could do it ALL himself? Sure, but Rome wasn’t built in a day 🙂 they’ll get there if we keep nudging them out of the nest!!

      Reply
    • Emily
      Emily says:

      I feel like normal consequences for an action should be attempted as a correction. If he never rinsed his bowl out & put it in the dishwasher, he would run out of bowls. Not having a bowl might mean he had to make something else for breakfast or go without. That doesn’t mean that you & the rest of the family have to live with nasty spoiled milk bowls, but you can remove his access to the bowls while explaining why that makes sense. I have a feeling that he’ll catch on. Also, I’m a very organized adult business owner & I have ADD. We all have to learn tricks that help us prioritize & get things accomplished. I could easily focus on so many things that would cause me to never get “life” done. I had to learn that I’m the only one who can take charge of my life. And I did!! 😀 He will too, if you don’t take care of it for him.

      Reply
    • Sara
      Sara says:

      I have a child with some minor behavior issues and difficulty following multi step directions. I made a simple list for him. His evening list consists of homework, chores, packing his lunch and laying out clothes. His morning list is teeth, deodorant and a last minute check of his book bag. I still have to remind him daily to wear deodorant. He apparently doesn’t care if he smells but my nose can’t handle it!! The lists have done wonders to out morning and evening routines.

      Reply
      • E.C.
        E.C. says:

        You & I are in the same boat! You’re not alone :). My son has ADHD & we’re working on his executive functioning skills. It will get better. How old is your son?

        Reply
    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I went to open house when my kids were freshman in HS and then told them that’s it. I’m done. HS is your job not mine. I don’t want to know your teachers and your job is to do your job so I don’t have to know them. Great read.

      Reply
    • dawn
      dawn says:

      i have made a list, that is stuck to the front door, to remind them all, what they need, I.e. Door key, lunch, phone etc. it seems to be a good in between memory jogger, and still allows my lot the responsibility of collecting and packing their own things together.

      Reply
    • Cindy
      Cindy says:

      Amy,

      8 years old is still young and it sounds like you are doing what you need to do to prepare him to learn good skills. Your son sounds a lot like how my son was at that age. He is now about to turn 16 and still doesn’t always put his bowls in the sink ;-)~, but he gets great grades, wakes himself up for school, packs his lunches and generally is responsible. Not perfect, but I feel like he is on his way to being a responsible adult. Keep up the good work and it will pay off. I still worry a lot but reading articles like this helps me to feel better.

      Reply
    • Justine
      Justine says:

      Eight years old is different than middle schoolers. I spent 20 years raising special needs kids and new staff had a habit of wanting to do for, but as I said “I am not doing this for them for the rest of their lives so we will start learning NOW.” It took some of my kids years to learn the tricks but they got it. Put a laundry basket in their room or in the bathroom. Make a chart with colors that go in each laundry pile then see who can sort their piles fastest. Have them set out their clothes each night (make it a habit) and set out their school stuff before bed. Each of my kids knew to set their pile in a spot and it should be empty when time to go to school. These are things and eight year old can do as you help them form the habits to take them through life.

      Reply
    • Sharon Murdock
      Sharon Murdock says:

      I agree with you completely. I raised two sons. I was a teacher and could easily stay in touch about what was needed and when. I did as much for them as possible because I wanted them to enjoy life growing up without all the stress of an adult. They are both very successful, contributing adults. They make more money than I did as a teacher and have wonderful families of their own. All children are not alike!

      Reply
    • Lorrie
      Lorrie says:

      We do the same here, first we started with a reminder list, they hang where they can be reminded, after a while they just do it, or suffer the consequences of not, those consequences help them remember too.

      Reply
    • Maureen
      Maureen says:

      I hear you… My 12y.o had some of the same behaviors. Start small.. have him lay out his school clothes the night before. Make him a list of things to do in the morning… Short list it’ll improve with maturity. Mine dresses himself… Meaning picks out his own clothes too, gets his own breakfast. .I make sure to have what he likes, takes his pill, packs his lunch that I’ve laid out and does his toiletries (teeth, d.o., hair, ext). I do make sure he knows how much time he has and remind him to do some of these, but it’s a big improvement. Next year he’ll be making his own lunch for junior high and hopefully will need less reminders. From mom of three difficult children

      Reply
    • Beth Garcia
      Beth Garcia says:

      I have 5 children, ages 16, 15, 13, and two 10 year olds. My 15 year old son has severe ADHD, bipolar, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and he is mid to high range functioning autistic. Trust me, I know all about behavior issues. Even the doctors (in the early years) said that the chances of my son ever living independently were slim to none. I decided to make it my goal to prove the doctors wrong. It has taken a lot of patient persistence on my part and a lot of understanding and trust on my sons, but it has all been worth it. My son is now a junior in high school with a solid A/B average, in a regular classroom (tested out of special ed. in 8th grade). He is working on getting his welding certification and has a job that he uses to pay for all of his ‘extras’ with. He has learned to take good care of himself and his home. He is looking forward to moving on with his life as an independent adult. All things that I didn’t think were going to be possible if you would have asked me 10 years ago. All of this was achieved by doing basically everything in this article. When my son was your sons age I felt just as hopeless as you do, but stand firm, it will get better, it will get easier, I promise. The only things I may suggest that helped a lot with my son, force them to think about the future by asking questions like “Would your boss take that excuse?” or “Would your landlord find this acceptable?”. And also, always offer an explanation. “This is what you should learn from this.” or “These are the consequences of this because…” It offers a little clarity as to what they should be taking away from these life lessons. I hope this helps you or at least gives you a little strength and optimism to soldier on. It is a long, repetitive battle. But well worth it in the end. Good luck.

      Reply
    • Marisa
      Marisa says:

      Hi! ‘Y son is the same way. He he Adhd – so I have to redirect him daily. He has a system I set up for him- a planner he writes everything in. A watch with reminders he sets- (watch minder watch. ) he wakes himself up and packs his own snack. He also started learning how to do his laundry too.

      Reply
    • Gray
      Gray says:

      @AmyRyb our sons sound like identical children! My son is 9 and has high-functioning autism. He’s a super sweet, intelligent kid who LIKES rules a lot. But sometimes the mundane details of “normal” behavior are washed away by his little mental obsessions and stims. Fork eating (fine motor) is still challenging for him, but I must say finding the right motivating reward has certainly worked well. I agree with most of the PP who advocate modeling because my son responds VERY well to that. Most people don’t initially pick up on his awkwardness/distraction because he is constantly mimicking the grown-up’s language. We are working hard to teach him to be strong and independent because we know how important it’s going to be when he gets to middle school to defend himself in a classy, mature way. And because, let’s face it, I don’t want to wash his underwear forever! 😉

      One way that has helped him to be less distracted is to repeat the directive. So if I say “Ayden, put your dishes in the sink.” He says back “Yes, ma’am. I’ll put them in the sink.” or something to that effect. That forces him to slow down a bit and really process what I’m asking him to do before he distracts himself. It doesn’t always work, but I’ve seen a lot of improvement with that over the last year.

      Great article and great read! I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to be over involved. I really hope he and others his age grow up into a generation of kids who does not feel entitled to everything they want and understands they have to be responsible for themselves!

      Reply
    • Jen
      Jen says:

      I used a white board with Expo markers to write my son’s morning chores at that age. (We also had some behavior issues). It was simple things like “Make the bed” and “Brush teeth”, but it was a huge help.

      Nagging didn’t work, but letting him check off each thing as it was done did! It gave him a sense of control and let me handle my own stuff in the mornings. 🙂

      Reply
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      It will come!! I have a daughter who is now 12. Everyday since birth has been somewhat of a struggle for her. She was born 8 weeks premature weighing 2lbs. She is ADD, intellectual disability, ODD, and approximately a year ago diagnosed with epilepsy. She is a blessing and sooooo strong-willed. There have been days that I just felt like I was going to pull every last hair out of my head, and didn’t think we would ever get ahead. We fought and she argued like no other! I believe us finding out the epilepsy diagnosis has made a huge difference. Why? She is being treated, and has made a huge turnaround! She is getting herself up, dressing herself, packing her own lunch, doing her own meds (with supervision), it’s just amazing to see this!! This was not her just last year! But whatever the circumstance, with persistence, guidance and lots and lots of patience, your little one will get there! I wish you the best of luck and pray all goes well!

      Reply
    • Jkc135r
      Jkc135r says:

      Wow this is great… I am trying to get my kids to take responsibility however what do you do for kids that just can’t be bothered? If they don’t wake by the alarm, and miss school, they don’t care. We are not home because we work so leaving them home is not an option, that would be a reward instead of a punishment. And if I drag them to work with me they are disruptive or its not feasible to take them that day. All of your info is great, for well mannered good kids. Mine could care less!

      Reply
    • Marsha
      Marsha says:

      Great article. I agree with all except the lunch. It is one of the few things I do to serve my high school senior. She will pack it without complaint when I have an early work morning but I know I won’t be doing it in 6 months. She is independent and responsible, a recruited D1 athlete and top scholar in her class. It’s a joy for me to make her nutritious lunch and is a practical way for me to support her as a swimmer who has 8 trainings sessions per week.

      Reply
    • Shara
      Shara says:

      Your son sounds like my son’s. My oldest is 13 now with adhd and as per gers and it was really hard for a long time. Constant reminders. It is better now. I still have to remind him about his dishes sometimes, but we are getting closer to independence. It takes longer than a non special needs child, but being consistent and making them come back to do it will pay off in time. Keep it up momma, you can do it. I am now in the stage with my 8 year old son who is starting to show the same quirks as his older brother and regressing. It has been good to remind myself that we survived my oldest, so we can do it again.

      Reply
    • Ann
      Ann says:

      Omg! I missed the mark with my son, but had figured it out when I had to step up and raise the grandkids. They are much more competent and report responsible than their father.

      Reply
    • B
      B says:

      I have an 8 year old as well with challenges of remembering and focusing. Just keep trying different methods and work with teachers till you find solutions that work. Keep in mind the solutions may change over time. Our latest try are checklists in places that my son finds helpful, such as where he puts his shoes on to brush his teeth, brush hair and clean glasses. Until things become a habit putting reminders in places to catch attention seems to help, after all I leave myself notes as reminders.

      Reply
      • Patricia Smith
        Patricia Smith says:

        This is great! I had a child like this.(He’s 55 now). I asked the pediatrician about this once and he said ” If you figure out how to fix it, let me know. I’ve got one just like him”! He has actually
        been very successful.

        Reply
    • Zoe Tassava
      Zoe Tassava says:

      I nannyed an eight year old boy with autism for a year and a half, I know what you mean about responsibility. But there were certain things I coordinated with the parents to give the child both independence and responsibility. The first thing we did was make him and his six year old brother responsible for their own breakfast. There were always bowls either in the cupboard or dishwasher, there was always milk, and there was always a bag of cereal or two. The rule was that they weren’t supposed to break out the video games until AFTER breakfast, and breakfast was on them. THEIR responsibility. Soon, it became a habit, even putting their dishes in a specific side of a sink. The key was patience and gentle reminders (which the six year old still needs, as he occasionally leaves his bowl on the table) until the actions did become habit, because once they were habit they weren’t really anything the boys had to even be thinking about.

      The other thing they were both responsible for was packing their clothes for visits to grandma’s or mommy’s (we’re talking the length of a long weekend visit that happened every week to every other week). This happened in stages. First, I would pack the bags with them: I told them what to bring me (select three shirts and two pairs of pants, etc) and I would get all the items to fit into their bags. After they were comfortable doing that, I removed myself from the equation and gave them a list of what they would need; sometimes they packed everything, and sometimes they didn’t. I would ask them if they packed certain items (toothbrush, water bottle, tablet charger), and they would either scramble to find the item or tell me they had packed it (sometimes lying about it). The hardest part about this step was for the parents, because they would have to deal with a child who forgot something and was unhappy about it, but the more important thing was for the child to deal with having not packed the item because it made it more likely for them to pack it next time. When they forgot it and complained about it, they were reminded that packing was THEIR responsibility, and if they didn’t want to live without the item, they better remember to pack it. It’s hard for a parent not to step in and try to save the day, it’s hard to balance the “taking care of them right now” and “turning them into responsible adults” instincts, especially because the first one is stronger.

      But these things don’t stop them from choosing the easy way often. Being told to clean their room often resulted in everything being shoved into the closet or under the bunk beds. They had to be told to put away game controllers when they were done playing, for the controller would often get flung somewhere. The eldest always selected an easy toddler book to read for reading time and I would have to direct him to the shelf with the beginner chapter books. He would rather wear the same clothes every single day than tell somebody laundry needed to be done (or collect the clothes in the first place) and would shove clean laundry under the bed rather than put it in the dresser. But things like that often have to be asked about: to what point do we let it all go? Every couple of months I made them put things away properly, but it didn’t really effect anybody other than the kids for them to shove things wherever, so if that’s what they wanted to do, it was their choice. Wearing the same clothes until they were filthy was also their choice. When they got too bad, they were told to change, but it doesn’t affect anybody negatively for them to wear the same shirt and pants for a week. Pick your battles.

      And it never hurts to have expectations for a child, mental disabilities or no. Sometimes your expectations are too high and you need to adjust them, and there’s nothing wrong with that so long as you recognize it. BUT, it is better to have expectations that are a little too high than are too low. If I child isn’t being asked to improve upon where they are, they will never understand self-achievment or having expectations of themselves. Start small and work your way up. When a child struggles with something, be patient and don’t add another goal/responsibility/expectation until they can handle the one that they’re struggling with.

      Reply
    • Suzie Null
      Suzie Null says:

      I learned as a teacher that if you want to change children’s behavior, you need to make THEM deal with the consequences of their behavior. But, of course, expectations and consequences should be reasonable and age-appropriate.

      If you put your child’s dish in the sink every time he forgets, then YOU’RE the one dealing with the consequences of his actions, not him. If he doesn’t get screen time (or get to play outside) until his backpack is hung up, his shoes and jacket are put away, and the dishes from his snack are in the sink, then HE will have to deal with the consequences of his actions, and that’s how he will learn. If he’s 8, he won’t learn this right away, but that’s OK, because 8 is a good time to start learning. And turning the TV or video games (or whatever), or calling him back in and asking, “What do you need to do before you can start your free time?” will help him learn to take responsibility, and that not taking responsibility is less convenient. Plus, having to go back and re-do it is a meaningful consequence that won’t kill him. Yes, it might be a process, or even a battle, to get him to do it at first. But aren’t a few battles now better than having to clean up after him every day for the next 10 years? A few battles now that he learns from are also kinder for him in the long run than constant battles over increasingly large issues over the next 10 years. Often what seems kinder in the moment isn’t actually kinder in the long run.

      Reply
    • Cathy Dawson
      Cathy Dawson says:

      And you are absolutely right to start early. Given his disabilities, it will take him longer to learn these skills, and he will need the time with your support to help him get there. He won’t get them perfect for a while, so be patient, but keep encouraging him so he can reach these goals! (I am a retired special education teacher, so do have some experience behind my comments)

      Reply
    • Momof2
      Momof2 says:

      This is on point! I have two grown children in there mid and late twenties. My first child is no where near as responsible as my second. This is ALL my fault! I was learning with her. Her brother, Mr Successful, should thank her!

      Reply
    • Janice Miller
      Janice Miller says:

      As a parent of a child in her 20’s, I think this article is really sad. My daughter was babied in the extreme by me, but she is now a very successful adult woman living many states away. Our children grow up too quickly as it is, so take the time to parent your child while you can. Savor your mornings with your children, and be your child’s hero when you bring a forgotten textbook. Life is too short and your child will be an adult soon enough.

      Reply
    • Katie
      Katie says:

      Eight years old is still too young to do many things. There’s a huge difference in maturity between an eight year old and a twelve year old.

      Reply
    • Shyvonna
      Shyvonna says:

      My daughter is the same way and same age … it’s an work in progress but she’s learning that what she forgets or don’t do will affect her. I wash their clothes, they dry and fold them. My daughter has remained on honor roll since 1st grade but she’s one messy forgetful young lady. But soak up school work like a sponge.

      Reply
    • Ben
      Ben says:

      Has he been tested for ADHD? The child you’re describing sounds exactly like my youngest son who was diagnosed at eight. Being extremely intelligent can mask the more traditional symptoms because they’re somehow able to keep their grades up in school. We think they’re just quirky or irresponsible but it’s actually that their brains work a little bit different. Apparently, highly intelligent people are often ADHD, but it’s severely undiagnosed. The good news is that with a few minor modifications to how he approaches things, he can be very successful without medication. At least that’s been our experience.

      Reply
    • Sarah Kennedy
      Sarah Kennedy says:

      It’s great that you are trying to gradually pass more personal responsibility on to him- he will thank you for this later! I have three kids, and the oldest has moderate attention deficit. I’ve expected him to get his lunch together before school, and unpack his lunch things at the end of the day, since he was 4 yrs old, and it took a spectacularly long time to become routine, because he was so busy thinking about much more exciting things. He would literally walk in circles around the kitchen, forgetting why he was there. Taking the easiest way through every situation, and procrastinating on work and assignments became a real issue, but I was desperate to get him to a place where he could become a functional adult. We had a seriously difficult few years from grade 4 to grade 7, as we expected him to take responsibility for more and more of his personal chores (room, hygiene) and school work. I would ask about homework, and he would avoid answering or even outright lie, so he could buy a couple more days of “freedom” (then impending doom, as the deadline loomed and he panicked). More and more, I gave responsibility over to him, and more and more, I allowed him to do an inadequate job, and sometimes, fail. To my amazement, at the start of grade 7, he began fending for himself, taking full responsibility for all academic work (and usually hygiene). When he was 8 yrs old, I honestly didn’t see how he could ever become a normally-functioning adult. Now that he’s 14, he helps make meals, he does laundry and cleans, he gets himself to school, on time, with a healthy lunch (much less circling aimlessly in the kitchen!), and keeps track of his homework, extra-curricular sports & band practices. The struggles and heartache were difficult, but the results have been amazing!

      Reply
    • Hannah
      Hannah says:

      This article is mind blowing…this is ALMOST spot on to my thought process and what I do with my daughter…only difference is my fear of judgement from other parents causes me to cave occasionally…

      Reply
    • Mary cerasoli
      Mary cerasoli says:

      Parents can’t just wash hands of THEIR responsibility to guide their children to take responsibility. Otherwise it is problem for parent and child. How can they learn responsibility if a parent does the same by washing their hand of homework parents shouldn’t do the work but if they haven’t been taught to take it on themselves they won’t do it on their own in many cases. Children are born to parents because they need guidance

      Reply
    • Lisa
      Lisa says:

      My sons are 9 and 4…..and i have to tell my 9yrs old step by step…whereas my 4yrs old gets it.

      I also watch how i interact with my 9yrs old because he is sensitive. Instead of yelling of poor grades, I say something like….hey son…u did awesome on ur class assignment keep that up. He is way more responsive to acclaimations that criticisms.

      Good luck Mom

      Reply
    • Skootsmom
      Skootsmom says:

      We did all of these things the beginning in 9/10th grades…& our daughter was properly prepared for college. Several times she noted to us how she was asked multiple times to help train some of the students who were struggling

      Reply
    • Rhiannon
      Rhiannon says:

      Sorry but some of this is useful but some are just lazy and not right …have you been to the schools lately they are getting bad teachers not all but some are really terrible I personally had a coach texting my daughter talking about how he loved her …got the police involved she was 17 so not considered a child got suspended two weeks and that was it ..now I have to send my 15 to the same school parents are thier to protect their children asking them to deal with other adults is not right …but to each their own

      Reply
    • Shelly
      Shelly says:

      Amy, try a list for your 8 year old. I have a morning list for my 7 year old……just an index card with squares for him to check off. Make bed, PJ’s away, brush teeth, pack lunch, homework in backpack, Jacket on hook, shoes on, bfast made/eaten, dishes in washer, etc. My son finds joy in checking the boxes. we have modified it over the school year, but it really works! He also requested a list for after school and bedtime. If I have chores for him, a list it is! Works great! Now, this does not work for my other 3 children. They are all wired differently. I just thought this may be a suggestion you could try if you are looking for other ideas. Good luck! Hang in there!!

      Reply
    • Clara
      Clara says:

      I have a son with ADHD and he is 10. My nephew lives with us and he is 8 and he has ADHD and a mood disorder. I have experienced my share of behavior issues with both of them. My nephew is currently going to behavior therapy, but I already have them doing some of the things on the list. They have an alarm clock and get up on their own. They choose their clothes the night before. They pack their own snacks for school, but eat breakfast and lunch at school. I wash their clothes, but they put them away. I have learned kids are capable of doing things, but as adults sometimes we limit them or make excuses for them. You have to have set clear expectations, be consistent, have structure. The both play flag football and I believe if you can remember your plays and be competitive then I am sure you can be responsible for a few things. They have to learn to adapt to the world and manage their ADHD and mood disorder. Start with one thing and when the child gets that down, then introduce them to something else. Do overwhelm yourself or the child.

      Reply
    • Mandy
      Mandy says:

      Its winderful to hear you are teaching him at this age, issues or not. My girls, 6 & 8 too are learning to organise themselves. To help them we have a list of tasks for the day on the fridge, in the order they need to be completed, as the task is complete, they move a fridge magnet down the list, worked wonders on my kindy child last year, especially on the days I need to be out the door 5 minutes after they get on the bus. Keep up the awesome work 👌🏻👌🏻

      Reply
    • Lyle Hicks
      Lyle Hicks says:

      Hi Amy, from your comments about being very intelligent, but having behavior problems and absent mindedness and a million other things going through his head, he sounds a lot like my stepson who has Aspergers syndrome, have you had your son tested for Autism? If not it may be something that you might consider doing.

      Reply
    • Jackie
      Jackie says:

      If you had left something you needed for work, you would have turned around. If you were a stay st hone parent and your spouse asked you to bring something to their work that they forgot, you wouldn’t say “Sorry, maybe you’ll remember it next time”. We can teach responsibility and at the same time give them grace when they occasionally forget something or need help.

      Reply
    • Louise
      Louise says:

      Start with where he already has success, where he already can manage and with praise, encouragement and modelling build outwards.
      Look at tasks with similar skill sets that he already has.

      Reply
    • ANdree
      ANdree says:

      Omg I feel like we are raising the same kid! Mine also forgets about his fork! I can’t give him the same responsibilities as other kids his age, he’s just not their yet and I feel judged for it. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
    • Marina
      Marina says:

      Amy-I have twin 8 year old boys and have similarly struggled. I deeply appreciated this article because I am trying to lay the groundwork for more independence and responsibility. My boys tend to goof off and need constant nagging to accomplish the basic morning tasks. Of course, the result is that one of my guys gets anxious and panics as we inevitably rush to get on the bus for school. My solution was to create a responsibility chart (different from a chore chart). It lists in detail the tasks they need to get done before getting on the bus. If they accomplish this without my participation, they earn 15 mins of screen time. The positive reinforcement is helpful to keep them motivated until these tasks become second nature. The key to the chart is being VERY specific (ie., eat breakfast, clear plates, brush teeth, tidy bathroom). They check off each task as it’s completed. They have really taken to this new strategy and have even asked for a similar list for evenings (another tough time in our house). This is just one idea. I agree that it can be so hard but I am confident it is worth the effort. Good luck!!

      Reply
    • Audrey
      Audrey says:

      My children are grown now, so parenting blogs aren’t as high on my radar, but I just saw this on Facebook. My daughters would probably tell you I could have written it. Kudos to you for realizing that our “jobs” as parents is to produce independent adults who can function in society. As soon as my kids were old enough to be left alone in a grocery store, I periodically would drop them off with $100 cash and tell them to buy what they want for their school lunches and other meals and snacks because I was sick of hearing that I “never buy . . .” whatever their latest craving was. They learned so many valuable lessons from these shopping trips and love telling people about them. Keep up the good work and good luck.

      Reply
    • Lara
      Lara says:

      You pretty much know, as his mom, what he’s capable of doing, & what he’s not yet fully ready for. My son just turned 12, & has Autism, & he honestly can’t even wash his own hair properly! I keep showing him how to scrub & he just can’t seem to get it! He made a sandwich once, & struggled to even get the Cheese Whiz out of the jar & spread it on the bread. It took him at least 20 minutes, and then I had to cut it for him. It’s a different ball game when your kid has some special needs. I just keep trying to get him more & more independent without getting too upset at the slower progress from his peers. He’s 12, but he’s really not.

      Reply
  2. Danielle Draut
    Danielle Draut says:

    Amy I am happy to say we stop doing those things a while ago. I think in 6th grade. The only thing is they automatically started filling out those school papers for me. Nice huh! It is very important for them to fly on their own. Two of the most important things we did in 6th grade was not get them on about school work. They know what our expectations are, so we might ask if they have homework, but I know how they are doing by their report cards and awards. They are all on the National Honor Society and technical Honor society as well. Again like you mentioned on their own. The second one is they have to self advocate for themselves. They need to be able to approach teachers, coaches etc.. when they need help or have an issue. I am not going to college with them next year, so building this skill early is beneficial when they get their first job and venture out into the world. Great article.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Perhaps having triplets makes us parent intentionally because we just have to. I love that you parent similarly and will be sending off capable, kind men into the world soon! Thanks for your response Danielle!

      Reply
  3. Sara
    Sara says:

    I started reading this and was thinking, “Did I write this..?”!! All that work in the early years has really paid off. Though, I do have small moments of guilt every now and again, when other parents are preparing their kids a nutritious breakfast, packing spectacular lunches, and helping their kids prepare for their math tests…. You’re doing great things with those beautiful kids of yours!! Proud of you!!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      We’re all doing our best, aren’t we? It can be so easy for me to over parent that I really have to be conscious to try and balance helping them and helping them to stand on their own two feet. We only have a few years left to teach them life skills, so better they figure them out now. I do not want some college counselor shaking their head when my kid can’t function because I didn’t take the time to let them function in my home. Here’s to rockstar triplet boy moms trying to put capable men out into the world!

      Reply
  4. Julie
    Julie says:

    “Over parent”! Give me a break! I’m feeling so sorry for your teens who need you more than ever. Yes … I do wake up my kids (although they set an alarm and are already awake), I make their breakfast and we have our best conversations at this time (and pack lunches) and they say thank you everyday, I do inquire about class work and grades with interest … Already knowing online where they are (and they are ready on the spot with accurate status), I do deliver forgotten items because it is so rare, and they are so apologetic and grateful, of course I do their laundry … And when they say “Mom, my hoodie smells so good!” I tell them how to make that happen. They have no problem doing a load upon my request,but in no way do I expect my teen do his laundry. I rather they focused on keeping their straight A’s, being leaders In their various clubs, getting involved in school sports and community projects. They have a good 50+ years to do laundry. Being a parent is a privilege not to be passed off. No I’m not the perfect parent … But in the age of absentee parenting … I’m proud to be an “involved parent”. I’m literally sick hearing your excuses for being a lazy parent.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you for your comments Julie. I am far from a lazy parent and do a lot for my kids, so no reason to feel sorry for them. I agree that parenting is a privilege and we all should set up our homes based on our core values and beliefs. We have a problem in our society with over parenting whether that applies to you or not. Ask any teacher, coach or college counselor. Parents are the problem, not the kids.

      Reply
      • Maria
        Maria says:

        Hi Amy,
        Everyone is entitled to raise their kids how they see fit, but I am shocked by the hateful responses you have received. As a mom of a 22 year old daughter, and a 19 year old son, I can honestly say that I wish I had done some things differently. There are several items you mentioned that I did fine, and I feel I was and am a good mom, but some I wish I had done differently. I remember my son’s senior year thinking to myself, in a panic, he doesn’t know how to do this, or this, etc… He has learned, on his own, thankfully, but I have seen first hand how equipping our children with skills is valuable. My sister has 12 year old twin girls. She is a flight attendant that has worked since they were born. She is gone two nights a week. Because my nieces have been taught age appropriate tasks, they run circles around their older cousins. My nieces are not deprived of love, attention, or having two parents that are involved in every aspect of their lives. On the contrary, they feel empowered. Do they still need reminded from time to time, sure they are kids, but they will be more than equipped to take on the world.

        Reply
        • Amy Carney
          Amy Carney says:

          Maria, thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. There have been way more Moms chiming in that agree with this post, than ones who don’t. It has been shared on Facebook with about 20,000 people so far. People don’t share things they don’t agree with. The great thing about writing a blog post, is that it’s my perspective. My opinion. It doesn’t mean it’s fact. It’s just sharing what I feel is working in my parenting, even though I am far, far from perfect as are my kids. I think it’s important that we really have open dialogue about the issue we have in today’s culture where the term helicopter parenting is commonplace and we no longer even use the term latch key kid that was normal in our day. We are all doing the best we can on our journeys. If I can help someone through my story along the way, then great. Some of the responses I’ve received have given me new perspective as well. Not everyone is going to agree and that’s okay. I love that you used the word empowered. Yes. I want my kids to feel empowered too. I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and write your authentic response!

          Reply
          • yvonne
            yvonne says:

            My oldest is 18. I wish that I had given him more autonomy as I find myself now with a failure to launch teen. However, as I try to let them do more for themselves, it is hard to watch them fail. Last year, I got automated emails from the school twice about an absent 16 year old. When I got home at lunch, he was still sound asleep in bed. At 12:15. I don’t have all the answers but, sometimes, letting them fail is not a good choice either. I wish they came with owner’s manuals!

          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Yvonne, thank you for being brave enough to share this. It would be nice if these kids came with owner’s manuals wouldn’t it? Problem is they are all different and we are all parenting from a different background and current circumstance. We all just do our best and I feel that backing away and giving my kids some responsibility is something that is good for my kids and our family. Thanks for reading!

      • Shirley
        Shirley says:

        Amy, I am what many refer to as an ” OVER INVOLVED ” parent, and proud and Blessed to be one. I have an issue with you saying to ” ask any teacher.” My son’s teachers for many years have told me they truly appreciate that I am an INVOLVED parent. ( They have used that word) . I believe a child is responsible for their work.. BUT.. a good parent will talk to their child and their teachers, not only to be sure they are doing great, but also because a good parent will teach and show their children that they really do care about them and their future !! I have already raised 2 outstanding , self sufficient children and my son is a junior in high school. He will be college bound and do great just like his sister’s did. They had breakfast.. team thing.. they got themselves up for school when I opened the door and with love..said good morning… I showed my children a lot of attention and I did a lot for them, so they could enjoy their youth. It’s not ” over parenting ” ! It’s called love. Any child can be taught to do things.. a little here and a little there.. But I know I will cherish and so will they… All the help they received as teenagers.. Teen age years are probably the most scary and difficult time in ones life.. you should be there for them 100%.

        Reply
        • C Duncan
          C Duncan says:

          Teachers and coaches thank me often for being so involved with my kids as well. This woman has some nerve! I need to write an article about lazy parents who expect their children to raise themselves! I’m sure other parents are taking her place in her children’s lives. I know a few like her! I do a lot for those lazy parents’ kids too!

          Reply
          • Justine
            Justine says:

            C Duncan I take exception to what you are saying about that author. She is not uninvolved or expecting her kids to raise themselves and the fact that you claim this when its not true makes me think you know you might cling too much. I have been the parent to many kids tossed around by the system, truly kids who had no one. When they came to me, they had things to unlearn such as you don’t have to steal food (I kept a bowl of healthy snacks I refilled daily so he could learn to make choices while Knowing he wouldn’t starve. I taught him (and others) to care for his things, wash and even to sew because someday I might not be there. I taught my kids to cook beside me, gave them butter knives to hack up veggies that we cooked and ate… all the time with the motto “I won’t do this for them forever so we need to start learning to do it now.” No where in that article was she throwing her kids to the wind but she had natural consequences…the kind someone will face in college or in work environments. Don’t do everything for your kids or you may be faced with a moment I ran into in college: a guy who wandered into the laundry room and seeing me had to painfully ask for help as he had tried to do laundry shrank stuff turned other stuff pink and had been told by his mom to go find a girl to ask for help. Or the college roommate that cried when I washed her sheets as she couldn’t remake her bed (she had gone over a month with the same sheets when I washed them) I taught her to make her bed and her parents ended up paying so she could take her laundry to a Laundromat… not kidding she never learned to do laundry in college. (she couldn’t buy her own clothes when we started but we fixed that over her mother’s protests.) So when I read this authors material I think a little different than you, I think wow she is making that transition easier and her kids won’t be crying when mom or dad isn’t there to walk them through each step.

      • Terri
        Terri says:

        In the prior post, inflammatory and unhelpful phrases like “give me a break,” “I feel sorry for your kids,”, “lazy parenting,” and “I’m sick of hearing….,” speak volumes. Your response was more than gracious despite the insults. As a veteran classrooom teacher and the proud parent of two very excellent young adults, I submit that yours is an excellent article and you are absolutely spot on. Keep on keeping on 🙂

        Reply
        • Amy Carney
          Amy Carney says:

          Thank you Terri for reading and commenting! This article has killed my website and we’re still working to get it back up properly as it’s being viewed so many times, so it’s definitely resonating with people. I write to try and inspire Moms coming behind me to possibly think about things coming up for them in their future parenting. I don’t write to try and shame any Mom, but to perhaps share a different viewpoint. It’s interesting how some readers view me as unloving or uncommunicative with my kids because I have them doing some things for themselves. Thanks for your support and positivity!

          Reply
          • Terri
            Terri says:

            You are welcome. An interesting story concerning coaches: My husband is a high-school recruiter for college baseball. He insists his players communicate with him directly, as opposed to parents speaking on their behalf, to prepare them for the college baseball experience. College coaches will not speak to parents concerning game specifics, playing time, player conduct, players’ responsibilities. etc. At one particular high school-level game, a mother, against my husband’s rules about parents interacting with their kids during play, brought her son his lunch in the dugout. Immediately, one college coach in attendance approached my husband and wanted to know the name of that particular player. The coach wrote the name down, commenting that he would NOT be selecting that player for his team.

          • Kristin
            Kristin says:

            I am so torn on this article. I stay home to help run the house of 3 teenage children. I feel being at home is more important then any $ to make. My husband and I are happily married and find ourselves good role models. We do care for them by engaging them with choices etc but lead by example and do help with lunches and monitor schoolwork. We do without and sacrifice lots to pay for private education. I’m not letting their inability to be adults at this time in their lives to eat poorly or let missed HW dictate their future. Everyone is different and has priorities. Nobody should feel they MUST do these 8 things. My children will certainly be active citizens who care and are successful because they know they are loved
            Kristin

    • Rose
      Rose says:

      Perfect response Julie. It struck me as an excuse to justify laziness also. These kids are not backwards or immature because they eat with family, share chores (I do laundry, you wash cars) , occasionally need backup, or even occasionally miss the boat completely and take a misstep or two. I don’t see that showing them that they can never depend on family makes them better citizens.

      Reply
      • Amy Carney
        Amy Carney says:

        Thank you for reading and commenting Rose! Eating meals together, sharing chores and supporting our family members no matter what is a crucial part of intentional parenting and family life I agree.

        Reply
        • April
          April says:

          Wow! I am kind of shocked at the negative replies! I have two kids, 15 and 11, that are already doing their own laundry, packing their own lunches, making their breakfast, telling me what homework they have done or need to finish. And they are both straight A students, participating in extracurricular activities. My oldest has been waking herself up since middle school to get herself ready for school. My youngest has always been an early riser so he tends to wake himself up most days. My oldest even talked to her counselor to get the proper information to test out of a math class last year that she was bored in. Then she let us know what her plan of action was. My youngest’s football coaches have told the team that it is their responsibility, not their parents, to make sure they have everything ready for practices and games and when/where to be. They are told that they are growing into young men and need to be accountable. They have household chores that they know they have to have done each week. They also are responsible for their dogs, which was the rule when we got them.
          I do check their home access to check on their classes every few (2-4) weeks, so if they aren’t saying something about a bad test (they usually tell me everything, though) or something, I am aware of it. I also give them a “get out of jail free” card that they can use once a trimester to deliver something they may have forgotten. However, because I work full-time, they have to be diligent in making sure they have their items. And I do fill out their paperwork because they both inherited their dad’s awful handwriting. And I do have to remind them to pick their clothes up from the bathroom after they shower.
          We do eat dinner together every night (and they can help make some of it!) and do community outings and volunteer work. We have open discussions where they know they are not being judged and this is when they usually tell me what is going on at school, at activities, etc. They ask for advice and help. My oldest is also ADHD, which sometimes makes things a little more difficult. But they also know they have some freedom in making their own choices and learning lessons if something works or doesn’t work. And their friends actually want to hang out with them at our house because they appreciate the atmosphere.

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            I love your “get out of jail free” card idea! We also eat dinner together most every night, which is a feat with sports practices! It’s important to me that we have that time together eating and conversing. Especially when I’ve shafted them on the other two meals, right? 🙂 I need to get mine in the kitchen cooking more. Thanks for reading and for your great response April!

    • Angie
      Angie says:

      Thank you Julie! I look forward to doing things for my family. My husband, and my children. I want them to focus on being kids while they still can. It certainly doesn’t mean they’ll become lazy incompetent adults. Amy, at what age do you plan to charge your children rent for their bedrooms so they can go ahead learn to pay their own bills as well- that is if you’re not already?

      Reply
      • Amy Carney
        Amy Carney says:

        Ha! No plans to charge rent yet, although we are having a lot of discussion on how they will be able to help pay for a car, gas, etc. as they will be driving soon. My Mom did say I was going to have to pay rent when I moved back home for a bit as a young adult. Got me to move right back out! I,too,enjoy serving my family and this article is only a means to get people talking and thinking, which it is doing. Thanks for joining the conversation!

        Reply
      • Lisa Gentry
        Lisa Gentry says:

        My husband never had to work as a kiddo and it took him many years to find a direction in life and lack time management skills. His parents were so concerned with letting him ‘enjoy his childhood’ that they failure to realize happiness is a byproduct of hard work and not something you pursue. I worked since I was in eighth grade and learned to manage my time, money, and have a sense of self satisfaction. My grades didn’t suffer and I learned valuable lessons. Be careful with falling into the trap of letting them have a ‘carefree’ childhood. It often comes back to bite them in the butt.

        Reply
    • DA
      DA says:

      I agree I have raised four outstanding members of society each with a college degree and two with their Masters, and one of those has a Purple Heart from the Marine Corp. I did their laundry, made them breakfast, packed their lunches, and even delivered forgotten items. Their job was schoolwork. They all participated in a varsity sport as well. Before every school year they got “the speech”. God comes first, then family, the school.
      Now I’m the lucky one. I have 10 fabulous grandchildren and are lucky enough to live with one of my kids and her family. They treat me like a queen. Parenting comes in different forms.

      Reply
      • gK
        gK says:

        DA: Great response! This article come across as arrogant and judgey…..comes across as if she has all the parenting answers and that her way is the only way.

        Reply
          • NG
            NG says:

            okay, CDuncan. I think we all get that you disagree now. You don’t need to change your life because of this article, you can just move on and forget it. Some parents and their kids might benefit from it. Obviously she is not DEMANDING that you parent her way. You call her lazy but someone else could say it is lazy to do all for your kids rather than put in the time and stress of teaching them life skills.

    • Papillon
      Papillon says:

      I couldn’t agree more with Julie if I was parked right inside her heart and/or her head!! Parents do the best they can with what they’re learning and experienced–not excluding the “over-parenting” label thrown around so often. My youngest son is an honor roll student academically in advanced classes and a medical academy, sings extracurricularly in front of thousands enjoyed multiple recreational sports. He is soberly aware and on track for twelve more years beyond his high school education to become an anesthesiologist (self-goal of his) … and I am so happy to do ME helping him keep it all together with breakfast, lunch, dinner laundry and helping him stay organized in this fast paced world! Parents should follow their own parenting desire without guilt–that is so counterproductive! This article didn’t sound like a conversation-maker it echoes parent shaming which is essentially the blind leading the blind. No one escapes mistakes in child-rearing; however, I’d rather err on the side of doing as much as I am able to towards my family’s success and sanity! Allow and cultivating focus on what they are capable of doing individually. Their brain mature with every gained adolescent year–some take longer than others. Staying on top of it all is always the challenge for parents and children respectively. The student load isn’t even close to what I had as a child. Parent-shaming that goes on today because of social media-soap box platforms and chest thumping parent “professionals” is silly! Jeez…sharing suggestions are welcome if not embraced–making demands as if you have all the answers– laughable! Life happens…enjoy every minute of it because the cliche stands–they grow up and away so fast. My older ones are married and have children and my high schooler is in forward motion– all thriving!

      Reply
    • Dorothy
      Dorothy says:

      You wrote exactly what I was thinking ! My kids are grown and self supporting, have college degrees and good jobs! Do not regret being in their business and being a parent to guide them thru their teenage years where a lot of young people left on their own miss their footing! Just a different style of parenting that I have not regretted in the least! Proud mama!!

      Reply
    • Lee
      Lee says:

      I agree with Julie and Papillon. I had to wait a long time to have children. My “children” are now 19 and 23 years old. I sometimes wish I could go back in time. The years that your children are home, go by incredibly quickly!! Help them with projects, chat with them while you make breakfast, hug them, encourage them to be independent but let them know that “you’ll always have their back”. My husband and I have been told by teachers and school administrators that they appreciated the interest that we showed in our children. Trust me, before you know it you’ll be visiting colleges and POOF, your children will be gone!! I feel badly for young children that are expected to pack their own lunches and do their own laundry. They are not slaves, they our our children!!

      Reply
      • Gloria
        Gloria says:

        I was hurt by this article. I felt that I was the only one who loved doing for my kids. I think in some ways I didn’t want them to grow up but knowing it would happen I made the most of my time. I remember running to the store late at night to pick up something my daughter needed for school the next day and forgot to tell me sooner. I made a choice to not work until my youngest was well into high school and later wished I had not worked until he was graduated. I was a mother first and anything else came later. I am widowed now and my children long ago on their own. But they know as long as I am able, I still am there for them.

        Reply
        • Miriam
          Miriam says:

          Don’t be hurt by this. You are/were a wonderful parent. There is an intense trend these days for parents to do too much and more damaging, make excuses for their children. We are all Mothers first. The writer has triplet boys, she has to make things a team effort to survive and also is gracious in understanding all families are different. I love doing for my kids too, it’s just fun. But I expect growth, gratitude, respect, etc., which I’m sure you expected as well. It’s all such a balancing act. There’s no one way, expect the one that is with love, grace and forgiveness.

          Reply
          • Amy Carney
            Amy Carney says:

            Miriam, thank you for taking the time to write this heartfelt reply! The one thing I know for sure is that Mothers rock!!

    • Zipfish
      Zipfish says:

      Amy, I love your article. We raised our kids exactly the way you described. I’ve been involed with families as a youth pastor fir 30 plus years. I’ve watched parents justify went the do everything for their kids, and then be completely flabbergasted as these same kids fall hard in adukthood. The “it’s a privilege ” to do these things, is a selfish, self serving cop-out. It makes the parent feel important, vital and needed. But, it does not help the child develop the life skills needed.

      I got phone calls from my daughters when they were in college,(and beyond) thinking me for teaching independence and life slills as a teen. These came as they watched their classmates stumble cluelessly as adults. Many could not fill out job applications, and had nothing to put on them. My daughters had “experience” yo put on applications before they were working age. No, sports do not count.

      As an employer of teens and young adults (managed a laege municiply pool), I refused to deal with parents. I didn’t hire mom. Yes, one lost his job, because mom woyld not heed this advice.

      Just this week, my husband, a police chief, told me about a candidate that did not get hired because the over patenting was obvious and still happening at the age of 22. Mom accompanied him to the interview. When asked to describe a time he overcame adversity, it was a story how his good suit got ruined on the rain helping another college girl change a tire (really, t good at’s not adversity). When asked why this department/town. He said his mom liked it…….. This was a $50k a year career job.

      My advice to parents is to think long term….well past HS. A little discomfort now can pay off tenfold in the future.

      Reply
    • Janice Miller
      Janice Miller says:

      I thought the same thing Zipfish. This article sounds like a woman who doesn’t want to be a parent. There is a difference between overindulgence, and bringing things to your child when he or she forgets. What adult human being remembers everything all of the time. Expecting children to be held to a higher standard than an adult is silly. I feel like the author of this article has oversimplified the issue. The issue is also not just parents, kids, teachers or coaches. It’s much larger, and I feel for people who don’t understand the difference.

      Reply
  5. Michele
    Michele says:

    On the money with EVERY point!

    I raised 2 INCREDIBLY successful adults (28 & 24) on my own. Perhaps through necessity, like you said – having triplets – but they were “somehow” able to pull it all together on their own while I worked.

    And … I’m a teacher. “Helicopter” parents are the bane of my existence. I TRULY appreciate the parents who will come through with help and guidance when needed. But the ones that email me 3-4 times a DAY?!? Not so much.

    In my classroom, FAIL means “First Attempt In Learning”. We use struggles to grow and become better. A child who isn’t “allowed” to fail will grow up to blame everyone else for their shortcomings.

    Great piece! Listen well, parents!

    Reply
      • JB76
        JB76 says:

        The heart of this article is teaching kids to take responsibility for themselves and contribute, however that is done, and to prepare them for the future. For me, it would have been irritating if my parents woke me up, packed my lunches, meddled in my grades in high school, ect. I wanted to choose my own food, get myself up, and more than anything, I wanted them to trust me and believe in me. When I over do for my kids, I find it usually has more to do with me than them, because I like feeling needed, and in their blossoming independence, I have to find a new role in their lives. But it’s good for them. Kids need our nurturing, our love, our attention, and our time, but that doesn’t equate to us doing things for them daily they can do for themselves. I expect and hope those still doing this for a high schooler are helping in other ways. My mom did my laundry, but we were on a farm, and I mowed, based hay, fed animals. So there was give and take.

        Reply
  6. Sherry
    Sherry says:

    We have been doing all of this since middle school. I have 3 children. And in third grade they all started doing your own laundry. It is not lazy parenting, it is teaching our children to be responsible adults. We are not raising babies, we are trying to raise adults that contribute to society. And, as well I am happy to announce that all 3 of my children are always consistently on the honor roll at school too!
    I thoroughly enjoy my children but I do not feel that I need validation from them as to whether or not I’m a good enough mom.
    I believe that if a parent feels they need to do everything for their children, then they don’t believe that their children are capable enough. That is a bad message sent to the child. The other issue may be that the mom is very needy herself.
    Great article Amy! I am totally on board with you!

    Reply
    • Rose T.
      Rose T. says:

      My co-worker once said to me,”We are not raising children; we are raising adults,” and I was thinking of that exact phrase as I read these replies. I’m glad I found someone who had already said it. I have no experience in parenting, in fact, I will be a parent for the first time early next year. Articles like this help me to justify my desire to parent the same way my family has for generations. Thank you Amy for the insight, and thank you Sherry for your open reply that speaks to both sides.

      Reply
      • Amy Carney
        Amy Carney says:

        How exciting Rose that you are already reading parenting articles before you have your first! Intentionally going in to your parenting with a game plan of how you want to teach your kids values is so important. Thank you for reading and commenting!

        Reply
  7. Tricia
    Tricia says:

    Oops, I am judging you. Consequence of being *that* parent who thinks she’s got everyone’s answers. It will make you stronger.

    Reply
  8. Destiny Russell
    Destiny Russell says:

    I didn’t realize we do so much for our kids. Thankfully my teenagers have been doing their own laundry for years. I haven’t packed their lunch in years they pack their own if they want sack lunch and either make breakfast at home or they eat at school. As long as they eat breakfast somewhere I don’t care and they are old enough to make it themselves. It’s very rare I get a call for something they forgot but I don’t stress over it anymore if I’m unable to bring it to school or unable to sign a syllabus for a class. I enjoy getting updates on grades through PowerSchool. My oldest gives me updates on his own but my 15yr old needs me to be on his case (He’s ADHD with some high functioning autism and a learning disability and social emotional behavior issues and ODD) along with school but I think by next year I won’t have to do that anymore he’s improving so much and pushing himself to do better!!! I no longer have to get my 15yr old up and my oldest has been getting up on his own since middle school he’s now a senior. I call school mostly for my 15yr old if the struggle is severe enough he needs help otherwise he’s slowly learning to deal his own battles and is learning to make the right choices who to be around and finally comfortable with school enough to go to them on his own for help. That’s a relief and weight lifted off of me. These are all wonderful things to realize that some of us still do. I’m proud to say that some of these are only as needed for my 15yr old. Things to watch for with my 8yr old though. So far I just do his laundry but he folds and put away. Maybe by the time he’s a teenager I won’t be doing any of the above. I have been blessed with independent kids. Good luck parents!!!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you so much for your response! My post is just to get people talking and thinking about raising kids to independence and what that looks like in your home! I love doing a lot for them, but I want them to be responsible and resilient. I love that you are raising your kids to be independent, even with the challenges that you have. It is not easy so keep fighting the good fight Momma!

      Reply
    • Jen
      Jen says:

      I couldn’t written this same post, only difference is my youngest is 13. I agreee with the author. And as a teacher, it is discouraging to see so much over parenting these days. Even the kids of these parents realize it and have made comments as to how they often feel their parents do not trust them. There is a difference in being involved and OVERLY involved.

      Reply
  9. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    It’s a great list! I will say, however, that while your kids had the internal motivation and drive to make all the honors you mention, many kids don’t have that yet–and that is fine and developmentally appropriate for most kids. Many kids need support (which does not mean doing their homework)! If I weren’t helping my middle schooler find strategies, if we weren’t having an ongoing conversation about keeping up with his homework–frankly, that would be neglectful. Because he needs it.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I love this Lisa! You are so right that kids need definite support. There is a big difference in hovering over kids and their homework and what you said about strategies and ongoing conversation. Our younger two need a lot more than our oldest. They also have each other to hold one other accountable, so that makes a difference I’m sure. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  10. Nell
    Nell says:

    I can appreciate all of these points and hope to incorporate loads of responsibility in my children as they grow older. I was definitely spoiled as a child, and it certainly showed when I got to college (though I wasn’t alone). Luckily, I managed to figure it all out without too many negative consequences.

    With that said, I am so glad my mom never said to me “That sucks about your work!” I am so glad my mom validated my pain and worked with me to build a plan so whatever happened did not happen again.

    The spirit of your blog is dead on. The tone of your blog is very cold.

    I have no doubt you love your children and that you are an incredible caretaker – I would never challenge that.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I love what you said about your mom validating your pain. That is so important and a great point. I debated showing that text string since I did use teen lingo and wished I hadn’t. Live and learn, right?!

      Reply
  11. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I still run forgotten items up to them, but the key is that they owe me time for my time. The price of having to do an extra chore has to be worth the text or phone call.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Same! There have been definitely times when I’ve brought something to them. The point is that parent and child know it’s not a habit and that it’s appreciated. Thanks for commenting Lisa.

      Reply
  12. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    As a mother to 2 preschoolers, I see this article as the plan I want to have. It so resonates with how I feel parenting should look like! My question is — what did you start doing from an early age to set up for what you lay out here? Any advice to parents just starting this journey? 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Melanie! I love that you are already parenting forward by thinking ahead. I think that is the key. What do you want to have given your kids in the 18 years that you have them in your home? Then you set up a plan to teach, model and show them these things so they can happily fly. I am writing my first book right now currently titled Raising Kids Without Regret, that I think would resonate with you as it helps you to parent from the end. Sign up to get my newsletter that will begin soon http://www.raisingkidswithoutregret.com or follow me on Facebook. Enjoy those little ones!

      Reply
    • Dara
      Dara says:

      Melanie, we are parents to three kids we adopted as elementary-school-aged children. All three have behavioral/health challenges, so although their chronological ages are 10-11-14, their emotional/psychological/functional ages are more like 7-8-11. The two younger kids had zero parenting in their original home, which means they have significant deficits in some basic areas most kids learn as toddlers (don’t touch things that don’t belong to you; ask permission for going outside to play; using silverware adeptly; bathing well; caring for personal belongings). I believe it’s really important to start with very young children teaching basic things. Preschoolers can master such tasks as putting toys away after play, putting dirty clothes in a hamper; hanging up bath towels on a hook at their height; brushing teeth, hair; washing hands and face. As those things become habit, other skills can be layered on top: sorting laundry before washing; pairing socks and folding simple things (towels, for example); putting folded clothes away. A six-year-old can learn to put the clean silverware in its proper place. Our 14-yr-old was doing his own laundry at 9 (detergent pods and a clearly labeled, front-loading washer helps). He is always up and ready for to leave for the school bus stop on time (and this kid is on the autism spectrum and has ADHD). Early bedtimes help assure our kids get up when they need to; even so, we have to supervise their morning routines. Our younger kids are in their rooms by 8 and lights out by 8:30. The older one is almost always asleep by 9. They learned quickly that 6 a.m. comes very early!

      Reply
  13. Buffi
    Buffi says:

    Recently, my 8th grader came to me in a panic because he had a diorama due the next day that he had thought wasn’t due til the next week. He assumed that I should be panicking and scrambling to help him get it done. I told him I had already passed 8th grade history. He figured it out…and got an A on it.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      You rock!! It is SO hard to not panic along with our children. Remembering that their failure to plan is not our emergency is so important, yet so tough to do sometimes. Your son will always remember the times when he came through for himself more than the ones when you rescued him. Way to go Momma!

      Reply
  14. Yvette Hoitink
    Yvette Hoitink says:

    Our six-year-old has a small problem with the teacher (he needs the teacher to sign off on a book, and the teacher keeps skipping him), and we just brainstormed with him how he can best approach the teacher about it. He came up with a great solution on his own (I’ll tell him that I finished my book when I greet him in the morning and ask him to come by later). Little things like this is how I hope he will learn how to handle things himself.

    I think parents are supposed to be a safety net, not a harness. We’ll help him if there is a real problem, but for the rest we want him to be free and learn how to do things for himself.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I love that at six years old, you are already brainstorming ways for your child to communicate with the teacher instead of you just sending off an email and handling things for him! It will be nice when he’s a teenager and able to handle his own affairs because you set him up for success in that area! Thanks for reading and for your input!

      Reply
  15. Angelica
    Angelica says:

    So many of us are trying so hard to be Pintrest perfect parents, at the cost of our children. We need to do less and they need to do more. You can’t pour from and empty cup and parents now are so overwhelmed helicoptering our kids and making sure that their childhood is full. My daughter, ans RA in university sees first hand the kids that are for the first time in their own, they don’t know how to get places, how to prepare meals, how to do laundry. They are lost, and quickly having to navigate real life.
    I love this article. And I love the person that commented that failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you Angelica for reading and responding! I decided awhile ago to forgo the Pinterest Perfect Parent route. There is no way for me to keep up with that show. I didn’t grow up doing my own laundry, chores or making meals, but I felt capable to do and learn anything when I left home at 18. The difference is now young adults don’t feel confident and are looking for people to help them out because that’s what they are accustomed to. I would love to interview your daughter on what she is experiencing and hear her thoughts. If she would be interested, please have her email me at amy@amycarney.com or message me on Facebook at Amy Carney.

      Reply
  16. Stevie
    Stevie says:

    I am not sure about this as a truth for every parent. Although I must admit my hubby wants me to do these things. My kids are very spread out so I have the advantage of seeing how my parenting worked the first go round. I think because I had to do everything for myself and alot for my brother and sister that I felt I didnt have a chance to be a kid. Maybe I have been trying to keep that from happening with my kids. I want them to be kids while they can so I do most things. I applaud you and what you are doing it works for your kids and family. I pray everyday for the same end result with my kids but have a different approach. My 24 year old is responsible and loving and caring and nurturing and I hope I had something to do with that. She knows how to do things and take care of herself and her family she just didnt HAVE to do it as a child. I believe that is a result of how I raised her. I expect to have the same result with my sons, well the youngest one anyway the older has medical/mental health problems that prevent the same growth.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I believe we all do the best we can, with what resources we have and what background we come from! It is a struggle to know if we are doing right or wrong by our kids today. I do my best to nurture and grow my kids up in ways that I view as important. We all just have to know what is important to us in the end and parent our best to that. I never had to do laundry, make meals or do set chores growing up. This generation of kids, where I live anyway, is very entitled. So I want to do my best to combat that with getting them to own their own ‘stuff’ when I can. Thank you so much for reading and commenting Stevie!

      Reply
  17. Susan
    Susan says:

    Amy, how does bedtime work at your house? Is there a set lights out time? Are you there to say good night or at what age did they start going to bed on their own?

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Susan- bedtime is one of the areas that my husband and I do hold sacred by doing our best to always say goodnight to them in their rooms. We are big on sleep and getting enough of it, so we do monitor getting off technology early and getting to bed at a decent time. As the kids have gotten older and are up much later with homework and sports, there are nights that they do put themselves to bed once in awhile and it feels strange. A parenting teacher that I respect and trained under, Susie Walton http://www.indigovillage.com, said that we need to be letting our teenagers put themselves to bed. That is a hard one for me because it’s a sweet ending to the day. I’m trying to let the kids put themselves to bed when they’re ready on weekends though.

      Reply
      • Hillary
        Hillary says:

        I think a crucial point which you indicate is that you and your husband are completely on the same page. Mine has never supported my efforts to do all these things and it has made everything more difficult to make them stick.

        Reply
      • Laura
        Laura says:

        So suddenly it’s no longer important for your children to learn to make their own decisions and suffer their own consequences? Sounds hypocritical, or like you only use “they need to learn” as an excuse when you want to get out of parenting responsibilities that YOU chose when you had four kids.

        Reply
        • Xanthe
          Xanthe says:

          There have not been that many places and generations on earth where children did not have to jump in and start helping out as soon as they were able for the good of the whole family. What you are terming a “responsibility” is actually an upper class privilege.

          Reply
  18. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    Amy, I totally agree with your post. I am a veteran educator (10 years in a high school class, 2 years at an alternative school, 2 years as an administrator) and a mom of two college graduates (22 and 24) who are both gainfully employed, tax-paying citizens. My husband and I did exactly as you did and taught our children responsibility for themselves. Yes, we made sure there was food and taught them to cook. Yes, we made sure they had clothes and taught them how to take care of them. Yes, we bought them a phone and taught them to use the alarm. Yes, we bought them a car and shared the payments with them. We instilled a sense of pride in their ability to earn money, earn good grades, and earn scholarship, all while also playing multiple sports. Both of our children were raised to understand that college was expensive and that they needed to work hard to pay for their educations. Both earned college degrees paid for with scholarships and graduated with no student loans, and no, we did not qualify for government assistance to pay for college. My children did not accomplish this through our lazy parenting. In fact, we were exhausted parents. Because of all the lessons we guided our children through to make them self sufficient, we are proud parents who don’t have to worry about our kids’ being able to survive in the world as adults.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Amen Lynn! I applaud you as an educator and a Mother who has launched self sufficient kids! You are so right that parenting this way is a lot of work. It’s easier to just do for our kids in the moment, rather than teach them for the future. I appreciate you reading and commenting your thoughts!

      Reply
  19. Pam
    Pam says:

    Thank you for this article, it is really true that enabling is doing something for your kids they are able to do themselves. The key is that they are able to do. Of course you make allowances as they learn, sometimes they need tough love, sometimes the get out of jail card.
    Some have said it sounds like you are the lazy one by making the kids do some work-that made me laugh out loud. Having my kids do the laundry, make lunches, even make and clean up after dinner would hardly make a dent in the list of things I do for my kids, and would free me up to do some fun stuff with them I don’t have as much time for as I would like. Giving my kids chores definitely wouldn’t make me feel lazy or neglectful, and would have the added bonus that they wouldn’t show up on weekends during college for me to do their laundry for them 😀

    Reply
  20. Heather
    Heather says:

    I agree with some things on the list. My kids are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to growing up. My son who is in 10th grade still has a hard time getting out of bed, to the point where he literally has 3-4 alarms set. Before I go on my walk in the early a.m., I do turn on his light, but that is it. It’s funny tho, my daughter sets one alarm and boom she is up and out of bed! I disagree with parents not keeping up with their school life. When you have a child with learning disabilities, it is harder to teach things as simple as remembering to turn in homework.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I, too, have to throw on the light or open the window shade once in awhile if they are sleeping right through the beeping alarm. We definitely talk through a lot about school life when they get home and around the dinner table. Thanks for reading and commenting Heather!

      Reply
  21. Paula
    Paula says:

    What about managing their money? I started early with the use of my credit cards. I taught them how to use safely on line. They always asked and paid me back and have never spent my money without permission. You need to build financial knowledge. Have your children practice buying goods and services. Show them how to pay bills. Help them earn money and you might even have them start a small business. Show them how to save. Save for college or their first car. help them manage a checking and savings account. Take them to the bank or bank online for practice. When I attended college they were giving away credit cards and most of friends had their first checking account. They didn’t know how to manage a checkbook

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Yes Paula! Money is another huge topic that I plan to write about soon. You have hit on a lot of great points and I feel teaching our kids financial responsibility early is really important. All my kids have debit cards attached to their own checking accounts since 13. I will write on that soon, because it’s a great topic! Thanks.

      Reply
      • Reen
        Reen says:

        Dear Amy, when my teenager kids got their first jobs…I taught them that they can have the first paycheck to blow as they please and then future pay checks had to be direct deposited into their accounts and given a debit card. Most people would say this is mean but soon my kids realized as most teenagers do with jobs! That money in their pocket is a free for all for friends…meaning ” you got paid lets go to the mall, and by the end no paycheck is left because your friends have spent it for you”. By the time my sons finished high school they had more in the bank than I did at that age. To this day they thank me for showing them how to be financially independent.

        Reply
        • Amy Carney
          Amy Carney says:

          I love this Reen! One of my next posts is writing about growing up financially independent kids! Thanks for reading and commenting your wisdom!

          Reply
  22. Fran
    Fran says:

    I LOVE this article and couldn’t agree with you more. It is unfortunate that some parents rate themselves as a ‘great’ parent because they are so involved with their children’s lives. However, doing all these tasks for their child is detrimental to the child’s growth and development as a successful adult. My 2 year old granddaughter has already made it her responsibility to clean the garden of the puppies poop! Thank you, I will share in several places.

    Reply
    • Gloria
      Gloria says:

      Being judgemental because your parenting you feel is perfect but others who parent different is not great is rude. I did for my babies because they were my life. I had kids because they were very wanted. Not because I wanted to see how much I could become a commandant. I raised 2 independent adults. I would be a hover parent all over again. It worked well. So those goody two shoes parents who’s kids were paying rent at age 12 can judge harshly all they want. I don’t need to be judged, my kids are fine.

      Reply
  23. Dana
    Dana says:

    Love the do your own school paperwork idea!!! I’m the mom of 4 kids ages 15, 12, 8, and 3 and it gets to be a lot of paperwork! I think I’ll start that one at middle school. Then even our 8 yr old does her own school lunch most of the time, but I’m in the kitchen as she’s making it, so I can see what she chooses. The older three girls are also in charge of sorting out the clean laundry to be delivered to the owners room and folding and putting away their own stuff and towels. That is really out of necessity, because I have a hard time always knowing who’s is who’s and what got handed down, nor do I have the time. Another trick that worked wonders for when my girls would leave the milk or breakfast dishes out after breakfast. Nagging and explaining the cost of milk didn’t work. I finally made it that if it was left out, they owed me dishes. Now when I see the milk left out and no one is there, I thank the last person for offering to do dishes. Once I even just texted a pic of the milk sitting out to my high schooler when she was at school thanking her for dishes. That was fun… for me. She took it really well though. Doing the Dishes has also become the payment for forgotten items the need me to run. It doesn’t happen to often, and sometimes they realize I just can’t. If it gets to be a problem, I liked the idea of once per quarter… (I only live 6 minutes from the schools and my work). Anyway, thanks for the great article!!

    PS – Ignore the angry haters and just be glad you’re not them and pray for them because you don’t know what they are going through….. That’s what I tell my kids when they encounter that. You did a great job handling it with respect. There are more than one way to raise a child, but defensive anger is unnecessary.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Love this Dana and really appreciate and value your support and comments! I actually have done the texting the picture thing instead of nagging as well! Love that you are holding your foursome accountable too!

      Reply
  24. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Amy this is an amazing read and extremely poignant! I couldn’t agree more with this parenting style. I was brought up this way and would 100% advocate these methods. The thing is I do no believe my husband’s parents had these tools and that is the main reason I am reluctant to have children with him. How do I get him on board with this parenting style if this isn’t something he understands for himself? My husband is 35 years old, married 5 years now, and over the years I see that these aren’t principles for him as they are for me. I do not enable his behavior and he is clear for not having ADD. In our household of just us two it is a challenge for him to take initiative, he will do chores or his laundry if I ask him to do so but not on his own accord. He is an engineer for a respected company. He will text me throughout the day that he forgot something at home and ask if have seen it or can go home to look for it or bring it to him: his work badges, his keys, his notebooks or his tools. He has lost important expensive tools before that he had to replace. Can I bring it to him? My response 90% of the time is no. He doesn’t get up early in the morning unless I wake him. But I don’t do that if it doesn’t affect somewhere we both have to be. He is chronically late for work, he snoozes for 80 minutes each morning. He’s always still sleeping when I leave the house and most times I don’t get a notification he left the house via alarm until 10am. He forgets about caring for the pets often. He is also dangerously irresponsible. If he cooks he leaves the gas oven on, sometimes through the entire night. He leaves the stove top burners on, the water running in the sink. Every time I ask him to please not do that or advise him to be better about it, it’s equated as nagging or being critical. I’ve tried leaving helpful notes but they are often overlooked. I love him dearly but it’s clear he was brought up in a manner that doesn’t instill the basic principles of independence, competency, and responsibility that you speak of. Is it too late? Any suggestions? Is he capable of parenting? And also hopefully this can be insightful for the parent out there who is enabling this behavior at a young age.

    Reply
    • Kari
      Kari says:

      Dear Jessica,

      It is time for some serious counseling for both of you. You’re being forced into taking a mother’s role instead of a wife’s. Even the way you describe him seems more like one would speak about a son.

      I’m so sorry! But there is certainly hope! Find a good counselor who can give your husband and you the gift of forging an adult relationship.

      Reply
  25. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    As a single mom to an only child who is growing up WAY too fast, I have struggled with some of these things. I’m getting better, if I do say so myself, as he is in his last year of middle school and I know that it’s only going to get tougher from here on out. He is on point about doing his chores, but my boyfriend’s kids are not (and they’re older than my son – 15 & 18). The fact that there are no consequences for not doing their chores or for talking back, whining, etc., is a major source of contention for us. What are your thoughts on consequences for these types of behaviors?

    Reply
  26. Kristi
    Kristi says:

    My boys (12 and 9) have been getting their own breakfast for years. They love it. Honestly. They enjoy the independence and responsibility they have in feeding themselves. (Still working on getting them to remember to rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. 😉 ) They also make their own lunches, whether packing for school or eating lunch at home on the weekend. I also refuse to bring my older son’s forgotten items to school. I tell him, you’re in 7th grade buddy. You are responsible for your stuff. He’s had a few hard lessons, but I’m not going to be by his side forever, handing him his briefcase as he walks out the door to work.

    I completely agree with all eight points on this post. When your kids go off to college, they will be able to function and handle their newfound independence because you paved the way. As a parent, we need to take care of our children and part of that is teaching them how to take care of themselves.

    Fantastic post!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you Kristi for reading and commenting on my post! I love picturing you running after your son with his briefcase. I say to my sons, I don’t want to have to apologize to your wife one day because I never taught you these things. It’s so true that kids feel empowered through independence and responsibility.

      Reply
  27. Megan
    Megan says:

    I could not agree more with this post. I was brought up in a similar style of parenting as you are implementing– not necessarily intentionally, but my parents both had demanding jobs (mom in healthcare and dad a pastor of a large church and a counselor–a 24/7 job). They were just not able to be there for me at the drop of a hat (well, they would be there for the big things) but not “ahhh I forgot my homework!” I don’t think I ever even asked! My husband on the other hand, his mother did everything for him. Homework, paperwork, appointments, food, laundry–even up until the day we were married. It caused a lot of problems in our marriage and depression for my husband because of him feeling like he was a failure. In the interest of my future daughters in law (and my sons too!), I want to avoid that at all costs. We are in our 30s now, and we finally have worked through a lot of these issues (with the help of counseling and a lot of prayer!), but it was a difficult road that we can both look at now and see where missteps were taken in our upbringing (both of us–I have my own share of issues!), and try to avoid those at all costs.

    My kids aren’t in high school yet (or middle school) but they are empowered by getting to make their own lunches, picking out their clothes, folding/putting away laundry, etc. Sometimes begrudgingly, but even at their ages, they understand that that is part of their role in the family. It’s not to be served, but to serve.

    Reply
  28. Liza
    Liza says:

    Most of this is my parenting style as well. My boys are 15, 12, and 10. My older two are often out the door before I even wake up.

    I sometimes deliver things to school, but only in rare cases and never for actual schoolwork. I’ve delivered baseball uniforms and clothes or water for band. Food for my youngest – but only because he has allergies and cannot eat food from the cafeteria. Those cases are rare. If it happened often, I’d have a different approach.

    I do keep track of grades – but only low grades and missing assignments. I discuss those with my kids and encourage them to get things done. It also lets them know I’m paying attention and won’t let them be lazy. But I don’t go to the teacher for those things- the kids have to work it out themselves. If they can’t, then I’ll intervene, but that hasn’t happened yet.

    The only thing I haven’t taught them is cooking. It’s completely my fault in that – I’m a control freak in the kitchen. I have a process down and teaching interrupts my process. I know it’s something I need to do, but I haven’t done it yet.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I, too, would like to teach my kids more cooking and will probably implement more of that as they get older. I have taught them how to follow a recipe and make some breakfast dishes already, but it would be good for them to learn more. Thank you for reading and commenting Liza!

      Reply
  29. Amie
    Amie says:

    Awesome!! While I still make sure mine get up in the morning sometimes, for the most part they manage on their own. My fault, for my convenience. I AM very good at the rest of this list, though. Because of it, all three of my kids are in leadership roles at school… my eldest is a sophomore who is in honors classes with juniors & seniors & tutors other students in his spare time. My middle child is in a student planning committee that plans AND prepares school functions & events (all on their own) & mentors younger students. My youngest, who is in 5th grade, also tutors other kids at her school & was ‘hired’ to be a dismissal leader. She is also in Beta/honor society.
    Kids become what they are expected to. If you expect them to be responsible & succeed, more likely than not, they will rise to the occasion! Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I still have to wake mine once in awhile too, because we are all human! It’s just nice to watch them start doing things for themselves instead of having the expectation that I am to do it all. Thank you for your comments Amie!

      Reply
  30. Kindall Nelson
    Kindall Nelson says:

    I love this!

    I give my kids one time per school year each that I will bring something from home. I’m a single mom and business owner… and they thought that since I was just at home anyway, I could run all over, all the time.

    I gave up on trying to get my brilliant son to do his homework last year in 8th grade and took a “you suffer the consequences” attitude. At the end of 8th grade, he was one “zero” away from Honor Roll… missing it for the first time ever.

    It was a huge wake up call for him because he wants to go to an out of state college… and I’ve already made it clear to all 4 of them that I can’t and won’t pay for college, nor will I cosign student loans. I haven’t had to ask him about homework once this year…

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      And I love your response Kindall! It is not easy to watch our kids “fail” but crucial that we try and let them feel the pain of their mistakes so that they can get back up and perhaps do it differently the next time… or not 🙂

      Reply
  31. Lee
    Lee says:

    I read some of the comments but when I got to the naysayers, I had to move on. Lazy??? Good Lord no! It’s hard to stand by and watch your children struggle, (as we all do when we learn new things), but I would so rather they make these mistakes with me nearby as a safety net. Oh you turned your white socks pink. Whelp, here’s how you can try and fix it. Oh you bought the wrong item, we’ll let’s go and return it.

    Insisting my 16 and 12 year old be age appropriately independent paid off in spades this summer. I was unexpectedly out of town for 2 weeks when my MIL fell and broke her hip while she was on vacation with us. The kids flew home and with their Dad while I stayed behind to care for Grammy. Dad works full time. Mostly from home, but he is still WORKING. I was so proud of the kids. They held down the fort with nary a fuss.

    One thing I would add to your list is grocery shopping. I use an online program to plan my meals and generate a shopping list. When I shop, I take both kids (and their smart phones) with me. We divide the list in thirds and can be in and out of a busy grocery store in about 30 minutes (about $150-$200 grocery order). We also talk about what is a “bargain” and what should be passed by, what fruits are in season and why we buy certain types of meat and not others.

    Great Piece! Rock on Mama!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      My new friend Lee! I so appreciate you reading and making me smile with your comments. I love your inspiration to teach the kids more about grocery shopping. Great ideas for all of us who are working to teach our kids as much as we can while they’re under our roof!

      Reply
  32. Ally Sutton
    Ally Sutton says:

    As a teacher I love reading this article and definitely agree! Overparenting is definitely a problem teachers notice within schools. My parents were the same as you described in this article and I owe it to them that I am the successful adult I am today. My mom did, however, make me breakfast and pack me lunch. I was always so appreciative and was definitely capable of doing it myself once I got to college. Her fun breakfasts and notes that she gave me for lunch were the highlight of my day. I don’t think parents helping with these two things are overparenting. Thanks for the article!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I agree that making meals for kids is not over parenting. I love that your Mom did that for you! I was in the habit for years of making breakfasts and then putting together sandwiches for them to pack for lunch. I enjoy serving my kids but I could see that it was becoming an expectation and that’s why I decided to let them be responsible for their mornings. Thank you for your comments Ally!

      Reply
  33. Z
    Z says:

    Obviously any parenting commentary is full of ambiguity and grey areas because everyone’s situation is different. So this is all about developing self awareness and building executive skills. This is one approach. Please don’t sell my email or send me any spam, thanks.

    Reply
  34. Brigette
    Brigette says:

    I made all of these mistakes with my oldest (with one exception, he did his own laundry) and it bit us both in the butt his junior and senior year. I’ve done things completely differently with my teenaged daughter and it’s made her more responsible and more confident. Ironically, I do her laundry, but that’s it!

    Reply
  35. Danette
    Danette says:

    I find this to be more of a cultural thing than an over parenting thing.
    My parents are Hispanic and I’m an only child. So while we didn’t get forgotten items (we lived too far from the private school anyways) I lived at home til I was 30 and my dad always made breakfast and lunch for me til I moved out…..oh but he made breakfast and coffee and lunch for my mom too because he’s just that awesome. My husband is not that awesome ha ha ha…..my mom didn’t like anyone but herself doing laundry because it was her domain and didn’t like anyone in her domain…..and because I was a slacker, they did help with my school projects I forgot, as I would be the first to go to college (while smacking me upside the head). But I’m almost 39 now, had a job since I graduated the first time at 21, do laundry just fine, and am pretty well liked at work so it can happen…..I see your point and I think we all have our lists, but I wouldn’t say our children are destined to never thrive in life if we didn’t agree with all the things on the list……

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Your Dad sounds awesome! Of course, my list is just to get people talking and thinking and not saying that kids won’t succeed without knowing how to do these things. I appreciate you taking the time to comment Danette!

      Reply
  36. Danette
    Danette says:

    Yep my dad would wake me up still for school or work in the mornings til I moved out at thirty too now that I think about it lol!!!!!!

    Reply
  37. Bonnie
    Bonnie says:

    Love it, Yvette…”I think parents are supposed to be a safety net, not a harness.” That’s just what I was thinking. To all you parents who think it’s lazy parenting, you’re missing the point. No one is saying to abandon your kids. Good grief, it goes without saying that parents should always help and teach and guide their children. But coddling them at every whim is not helping anyone. My 15 yr old son recently got his first job, a checking account, and a debit card all in one week. He’s loving it! And when he’s at that job, there is no way I can be there to help him. If he didn’t learn how to stack dishes and clear the table at home when he was 8, he’d be out of luck now! My word, at 20 I was taking my laundry home to my mom because I never learned how to do it. Even though I appreciated it, I was embarrassed about it. How pathetic is that?!

    Find balance. It will look different in every family. The lack of common sense to realize this is astonishing to me.

    Great original post, by the way. Two thumbs up 🙂

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you Bonnie! Yes, it makes me sad that people think that handing responsibilities over to our kids means that we don’t love and support our kids. I see it the opposite. It takes a lot of effort to teach and train up kids to become adults. My guys just turned 15 and are wanting to get jobs too! One has filled out an application online for Safeway, but he’s too nervous to call the manager so far. Guess who won’t be calling the manager for him? 🙂

      Reply
  38. Joan
    Joan says:

    I raised five children, 3 boys and two girls. I do agree with all of your items because I lost my Mother as a teenager and did not want my children to not be able to care for themselves. But there came a time when the washer and dryer became off limits when I realized that you were washing one item at a time. I did the laundry to save $$. I also would go into their rooms and clean once every other month but always gave a weeks notice that I was going to clean and gave the date. No surprises to annoy me. On Sunday night I gave you your lunch money for the week. How you spent it was up to you.I loved it when someone was upset that they could not find something. I would be glad to help but I charged a fee. Amazingly they always found what they were looking for. I remember a time when my older Daughter was complaining that she was tired of loading the dishwasher. Fine, you can wash, dry and put the dishes away by hand. After a week of that, she was glad to use the dishwasher.

    Reply
  39. Erin O. Brewer
    Erin O. Brewer says:

    So glad to stumble upon this article at a critical point in my youngsters life! I appreciate you sharing your wealth of knowledge. Please know that your wisdom has helped this Momma out! Thank you so much!!!

    Reply
  40. Holly Tartaglia
    Holly Tartaglia says:

    We have a family farm, and everyone works. We sell our produce and eggs at a local farmer’s market, and my kids make and sell crafts/art to sell there as well. My 12 year old paid for her own horseback riding lessons for 3 months from the money she earned…and guess what? She decided it wasn’t worth the money. If it had been MY money, I am not sure she would have reached the same conclusions. Everyone has to pull their load…it’s a team effort. Do I bend over backwards to help them when opportunities present themselves? Yes. Do they have to meet me in the middle? Yes. I can tell you that our kids do all of the things listed – every single one…but there are days I get up and make breakfast…they get ONE free pass per semester for me to bring them something they forgot at school. There are hours and hours of conversation about how to handle conflict, how to address issues with teachers and bus drivers and other kids. But they can function and operate as people. I still help my 10-year old with his homework and organization skills…but at some point, they have to become responsible for their own success. They know that their mom and dad have been behind them 110%, but that we also want them to learn to stand on their own two feet. Our oldest one was bullied all the way through middle school…and yes, there were times when we had to intervene. I was her ONLY friend. But she is almost 18 now and a very independent and beautiful young lady. Struggles often carve out beauty in our kids’ lives. Life is what you make it and sometimes you have to work hard for it. Parents sometimes create the illusion that their kids can do everything and have it all…when real life says you have to prioritize and choose. I love this article and am thankful that you were courageous enough to share it.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      You are providing your kids so many teaching and growth opportunities which is awesome! Thank you Holly for recognizing the courage in writing about our own parenting journey. I love that it is stirring up a lot of conversation.

      Reply
  41. R.A.M.
    R.A.M. says:

    My parents raised me like you are raising your children, and I can attest that the method works beautifully. I never felt neglected. I felt adored, as well as in control of my own destiny. My sister and I were both National Merit Scholars. Both of us have advanced degrees from prestigious universities. I’m a published author with several well received novels under my belt. As a fellow writer, you know that initiative, time management, and perseverance are imperative to the writing life. Upon reading some of the comments you have received, I’m grateful to my parents for giving me the gift of self-sufficiency. If their egos had been tied to their parenting, I might be the dreaded adult-child, who outlines plot points with Daddy and calls Mommy to freak out, when deadlines and word counts don’t coincide. Keep doing what you are doing with parenting and writing, because you do both exceptionally!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you so much for your intelligent and inspiring comments! I appreciate you taking the time to post your positive wisdom.

      Reply
  42. Maricruz Velasco
    Maricruz Velasco says:

    Thank you for this! Excellent advice. Yes, “helicopter” parenting is a very real epidemic. We are trying to raise kids to be self-reliant in a very self-indulgent world. It is interesting; there are parents who are ok with the “helicopter” parenting style, but it just doesn’t sit well with me. I personally think that my children will be much more ready to face the real world and be successful (& happy!) if they are armed with the tools they need to manage their lives & if they know how to solve problems with confidence, not being afraid to make mistakes. The items on your list of things to stop doing for our kids is GREAT-if they can do these things for themselves, they’ll be much more prepared for life away from mom & dad.

    Reply
  43. CFloyd
    CFloyd says:

    I agree with everything except the “grades” and education. Education is a life skill that parents were given the responsibility to ensure in their children. We can delegate but we can not and should not try to abdicate our responsibility. We surely shouldn’t “do” the work “for” our teens, but we should stay involved in their work. To say as a parent I’m totally ignorant of what and how my young adult is learning – while they are still under my roof, or on my dime – I think is borderline neglectful, not helpful. Why would my child think academics are important if I make it seem like they aren’t by never involving myself? That’s how that can be perceived – why should I care mom/dad, when you don’t care enough to help or check on me or talk with me about these things. Why is geometry important to LIFE??? WE show it’s important for more than college by being apart of it with our children. Just taking a class to get into college is a terrible use of a human being’s life and time, and young adults feel that. It feels like a rat race, and many rebel against it. WE bring the relevance because WE are the “authority”. When and IF my children go off to college, it will be under their OWN “authority” and they will need to choose a school where they can respect the professors or teachers they will learn from – in partnership – because they will be paying their own way as their own authority. And we will then become their cheerleaders. Paying is another form of “over-parenting” as well.

    Reply
  44. Amber
    Amber says:

    THANK YOU!! Sometimes I feel like the only parent who doesn’t allow their children to schedule their lives. They will be adults soon enough but if we don’t teach them now how to make decisions & the mistakes & consequences that go with those decisions, what are we truly teaching them? Well said!!

    Reply
  45. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    As a result of my mother’s illness during my childhood, I had a great deal of responsibility at a young age. I woke up my siblings for school, helped them get dressed, filled out forms and often was taken out of school to go to doctor appointments with her. When I had my son I went in a completely different direction. I did everything for him and expected him to do nothing. Huge mistake!! It has taken forever for him to make his way as a grownup. I decided a few years ago that he might have learn the hard way. Several times he has, but I won’t be around forever. He found a good job, saved money, moved in with a friend and is well on his way to adulthood. Oddly enough my mother will often tell me that she’s worried about how he’s doing. I manage to control the urge to remind her that I had more responsibility at 13 than he did at 23!

    Reply
  46. J.V
    J.V says:

    Great article and much needed advice for this mother. I slack off and then feel guilty when he begins to fail and then step back in to guide, but I need to be stronger and let him fall on his own. I know he can do it and I need to let him. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you for reading and sharing your vulnerable thoughts. I know exactly what you mean because watching my kids “fail” is the toughest thing for me. I’m not saying walk away if they aren’t able to successfully manage an area of their life on their own yet. It’s important to help our kids come up with strategies to help them grow in areas that are difficult for them today. We, as parents, cannot always facilitate our kids success and they have to have room to make mistakes and learn from them so that they don’t crumble when we’re no longer there to pick up the pieces.

      Reply
  47. Janet
    Janet says:

    Wow. This article is a real eye opener for me. I’ve been doing it all for my boys, thinking I was making it easier to do their job of going to school. No wonder my stress level is through the roof. Thank you for making me see that I need to be letting go so that they can function as adults.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts Janet. Start with something simple that you see as important for them to learn. I so agree that school is stressful today, so we want and need to help them. We just have to be careful with how much we do. I always have to work at balancing showing up for my kids and showing up in my own life. Also, God willing my sons will be husbands one day and I don’t want to have to apologize to my daughter-in-laws because I didn’t take the time to teach them life skills when they were under my wing. 🙂

      Reply
  48. Liz
    Liz says:

    I’m seriously considering getting my son a t-shirt that says “Adult In Training” to remind nosy busy-bodies that at the age of 15, he is not being neglected or abandoned when he is “gently nudged” to do certain things independently without adult supervision. 😉 He is a very talented musician and our local community theater is hosting a Youth Arts Celebration later this month. He wanted to participate, which required going in for an audition yesterday. I resisted the urge to help him with the whole process – from communicating with the person in charge to schedule an audition time and get the details of the event, to deciding what he was going to play and what he was going to wear, etc. – he did it all on his own. We basically told him, we’ll get you there and be there to support you, but you need to tell us when/where and all of the details are up to you to figure out. At first he dragged his feet and wasn’t real thrilled about having to do it all himself, but he did it and the audition was great! He hasn’t heard back yet if they are going to pick him for the final show, but regardless, it was worth it for the smile on his face yesterday when he walked off that stage with the satisfaction of a job well done.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Rock on Liz! I love your comments and can wholeheartedly relate to your story. Resisting the urge is a key phrase to remember in our parenting! I’m board to start selling these t-shirts with you when you’re ready 🙂 You’ve inspired me and many others today I’m sure. Thanks!

      Reply
  49. Martha
    Martha says:

    Great article! We have definitely taken this approach with our girls, and they are very competent and independent. But now that they are in high school, and are invited to parties, I find myself being the only parent that calls to see if any adults will be home, if there will be drinking allowed, etc. Most parents taking the don’t ask don’t tell approach. So I’m finally getting more involved and asking questions and apparently I’m the exception and ‘ruining their social lives’ because ‘no other parents ask’. I have even busted a party or two by calling parents to check in. Please give me the 8 rules for this.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting Martha! I am feeling the same as you as I need to talk with the adults as well. I absolutely agree that we need to be in communication with their peers parents. Seems a small percentage of people care about doing this though, so we seem to be in the minority fighting this good fight!

      Reply
  50. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I agree with everything you wrote, but I do have a bit of an issue with the ‘don’t interfere with coaches and teachers’. unfortunately the education system is struggling at best, and failing in many ways. In our district, (which is middle of the road financially, socially, etc) we do not always have a system of accountability for rogue and irresponsible teachers.

    I agree that most times youth should handle things first, but when there is not a resolution we do need to be willing to take a stand on our kids behalf. I think in theory your advice on this issue is correct, but the reality is, our children can and are victims of those in authority more often than we’d like to think.

    Teachers can bully just as a child can
    They can wound in irreparable ways.
    Someone needs to be a voice for the kids sometimes.
    Nicole

    Reply
  51. Sheri
    Sheri says:

    This article is great. I had to have my husband read it also. I have 3 kids…1 girl and 2 boys. I always tell my kids I’m raising them to be capable adults not entitled, self centered individuals. We have to teach our kids to be independent, self reliant people because they will hopefully one day be just that Independent, self reliant, hard working, loving, caring people.

    Thank you for writing about what we really need out in the real world and not about what we are all doing wrong by not holding our teens hand. It’s not always easy but we are raising them to be adults.

    Reply
  52. Cindi
    Cindi says:

    I agree with some of this, but I also think you need to ease into things. For example at the age of 4 we had our daughter start taking her dirty dishes to the counter by the time she was 8 she was putting her dishes in the dishwasher. When she would “forget” she was called back into the kitchen to take care of her dishes. When she was in 3rd grade she was doing her own laundry, only because she would not turn her clothes right side out (never try to out stubborn your mother!). That is a decision I do not regret. It was one thing I never had to worry about. There are things on the list that I didn’t do. I always followed up on school work, breakfast was made until she wasn’t getting up with enough time to eat it!! I realized we did a good job when I talked to a mom that filled out their child’s applications for college!! Now that’s CRAZY.

    Reply
  53. Constance
    Constance says:

    When my children were younger, they were constantly forgetting lunches, and planning/getting them to make lunches was a struggle. Starting in middle school, I gave each of them their lunch money on Sunday. I didn’t care if they bought lunch or took lunch from home, I just was going to have nothing to do with lunches other than to take them to the store on Sunday to allow them to buy items (with their money) for their lunches if they were packing. The only other rule was, they HAD to eat lunch. No skipping meals. In high school, they got a whole month’s work of lunch money at the beginning of the month & had to make it last. They learned to manage their money, remember their lunches or make other arrangements. My youngest is now in high school and is making such good lunches that I let her pocket the lunch money and I cover the lunch groceries if she will pack my lunch too. It’s working out great. The other thing is she clips coupons and keeps them organized, and we split the savings. Good deal for both of us!

    Reply
  54. Lori Imdad
    Lori Imdad says:

    Hi Amy,

    First off, I truly love your blog. I have been referring a few other Mom’s here. Here for me is Bangladesh. My paradigm is slightly different because we live in a household of privilege. By that I mean, I have a maid who handles most of the household chores. However, I do most of the Mom’ing. The ideas you presented here were music to my ears. So, I’ve begun implementing. The kids had become lazy and not “owning” their lives and mine are a bit older than yours, so it was high time. Thanks for this wake up call!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting Lori! My kids are also growing up in a home of privilege (minus the maid, but boy I’d like a chef!), so it’s very important that they learn to serve themselves instead of looking to others to pick up the pieces for them all of the time. I love that this post got you thinking 🙂

      Reply
  55. Ron
    Ron says:

    There is no judging here just the truth. The problem in America today is allowing children to be treated like adults without mentoring and supervision (Parenting). The issue here is a teenager is only a teenager for a few years why be forced into adulthood. A parent who believes that there should be no accountability in their teenager’s life is truly lost. There are so many wholes in your parenting theory but I only have time to point out one because I actually like to spend time with my children. We have to give more than just food, shelter and the idea of “here is life good luck I’ll pick you up if you blow or maybe I won’t”. That’s your theory. We have to mentally support, educate, mentor, build self esteem and have unconditional love. This never ends because we are always parents. In any successful business there is always learning, innovation, teamwork and mentorship. That’s the real world, that’s life that’s adulthood. I get it I really do. I had parents just like you. Do it on your own, be responsible, make your own decisions. Hey parent I’m a kid you have the knowledge I don’t why let me make the same mistakes you did. Maybe Henry Ford should of kept is ideas to his self along with Mr. Edison that would’ve been great we would still be traveling by horse and buggy and lighting everything by candlelight. Teach your children life skills yes but you have to allow them to grow into it and hold them accountable. That’s the mentoring part the PARENTING.

    Reply
  56. Amy Geahardt
    Amy Geahardt says:

    Amy,
    Thank you for writing this! I agree that independent adults are my end goal as well. We homeschool so the natural consequences are harder to come by acedemcially, though there. We have a plan, and it is their responsibility to complete the plan. Their school year doesn’t “end” until the plan is complete. We are part of a community that meets weekly to discuss and debate the week’s work to which they are accountable to have their work completed. My older three each have a laundry day, my youngest doesn’t mostly because she is 7 and still too short to reach into the washing machine. My oldest is responsible for communicating information to his coaches for football and helps with the carpooling logistics. Second oldest is responsible for helping get dinner started if I am running late from carpool meet. They all take care of the dog. I rarely do any dishes throughout the week as each of the boys has a meal to take care of. Now that my oldest is looking at adulthood in way too short a time, many of our discussions are about “as an adult….” in which he asks questions and I help fill in the appropriate expectations, either mine or general society. These are awesome! Keep up the fine work!

    Reply
  57. Karen
    Karen says:

    These are all great but I think that it really depends on the child. As a parent, we need to KNOW our children…including their strengths and weaknesses. I readily admit that I did a few of the things listed for my three kids. I made their breakfasts/lunches every morning—never considered not doing it and on most mornings, I received a hug and “thanks mama.” I ran over forgotten things to their school…20 miles away mind you. Did it happen very often? Nope. One time it was my son’s running shoes needed for his cross country meet. We still laugh today–10 years later–that it was the only piece of sporting “equipment” needed and he still forgot them! (And he will still say “thanks mom for bringing them that day” even after a decade later. Even though I did things for them, they all grew up, graduated college, became responsible adults and have good careers. It didn’t hamper or cripple any of them. I realize that if I had different personalities to work with, the outcome might have been different. That’s why I say that you have to know your kids and what will work for them and your family. There is no “one size (or strategy)” that fits all.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Absolutely agree Karen! We have to know our kids and absolutely show them grace at times! Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  58. Tina
    Tina says:

    I think a lot depends on the kid, too. If your super-responsible, bed-making, laundry-folding child left her band instrument at home for the first time ever, then I don’t think it’s necessarily “enabling” to run it to school for her, if it doesn’t totally inconvenience you. It’s not unlike my husband once realizing that he had left his pants at home after he already left for work and went to the gym. He called (embarrassed) and said, “I really can’t go to the office in a polo shirt and stinky shorts. Do you think you can bring them to me?” Of course I did, but if I had been at work already or on a trip, I guess he would have had to rearrange his morning to drive all the way home to get his pants.

    I don’t like absolutes when it comes to raising kids. However, if you have a child who is routinely depending upon you to bail him/her out of a bind (i.e., more than once or twice a school year), then it’s definitely time for a little tough love.

    Reply
  59. Christina
    Christina says:

    I agree with both the article and many of the comments. I think the important thing is moving your child along a path toward competent adult-hood at whatever speed that child is capable of moving. Children with Aspergers/autism/ADD/ADHD will move at a slower pace, as they will become overly frustrated by “failure”. I have 4 children, 2 with Asperger’s 2 without. 2 are adults now, and 2 are still in high school, and each of them had different expectations from me as they grew up according to what they could handle, but I refused to baby any of them or coddle them. I kept teaching and modeling routines, visual aids, alarms, and lists helped enormously with the Asperger’s children) and expecting, and eventually they “get” it. Slower than some of their peers, but they do, and they appreciated not being pushed beyond what they could handle. We as parents sometimes get too caught up in the details of things instead of looking at the overall picture of moving forward.

    Reply
  60. Fran
    Fran says:

    This article is great. I thought I was the only mom who believed in teaching responsibility and independence at a young age. I had twins and starting at 4 years old, they were taught to be in charge of their toys and making of bed. First grade started with being in charge of their back pack, homework papers, and lunch box. Getting to third grade welcomes the alarm clock and making sure you have all your books and work morning and evening. Fifth grade starts with making your lunch. If you forget your lunch or books or homework, do not call me. You explain to the teacher why you don’t have it. If you forgot your homework or book at school, you are welcome to call friends to get the information. If you insist on going back to school you will pay me $5.00 for the trouble…cash up front, no credit! In eight years I only went back once for my daughter and twice for my son…not bad! When they got to the eighth grade I introduced Mr. & Mrs. Washer/Dryer and ironing board and iron. If something didn’t get washed, better planning should be practiced. When they started high school they were very well prepared and planned their time accordingly, with a few glitches here and there. I felt a definite freedom. When I sent them off to college I knew they would be successful because they had a great background in organization and time management. They are now 35 years old with several degrees and both are successful in their fields.

    Reply
  61. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    Great advice but i think most of this should be done far before the teen years. my daughter is in first grade and has made her own breakfast for over a year and helps me with lunches, laundry, etc. she forgets something at home- tough. And she’s been her own advocate for what she wants in sports with couches or school with teachers since she was 4. It’s never too early to teach kids these life long skills!

    Reply
  62. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    Ok, love this. I do have a question about #5 though. What do you do in an instance where a child has a night-before crisis, and you DO actually have time to run to the store for him? Do you go? Do you not go just to make a point? I struggle with this one.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I wrote this really just as a baseline. I do all of these things that I talked about here and there. There are always circumstances to show grace! I would say to help your child, if you are able, as long as it’s not a habit or that it’s expected of you. If you ever feel that it’s expected for you do something then that’s a good sign to back away. Make it clear to your child that you will run out and help them because it works for you to do so and you want to help them out. But, that most likely you won’t be able to do it next time. Thanks for reading and commenting Jenna!

      Reply
  63. Megan
    Megan says:

    Agree with the sentiment and the independence, for sure! That said, I am a mom of 4 and 2 of my children have special needs — one with autism and one with dyslexia. They need additional help and support that my oldest and even my youngest (at 4) do not require. It’s a tough balance trying to instill independence and yet still honor the difference and where they are developmentally and/or academically. My son with autism has to have a lot of coaching on hygiene as well as a LOT of limits on electronics. My son with dyslexia needs extra support during homework time. We’ll keep working on getting them where they need to be, but after having multiple children with multiple issues, I know that each kid has to be met where they are and expectations have to be different for each one of them based on ability.

    Reply
  64. Edie
    Edie says:

    Very good article! Long, rambling post coming up!

    I have tried to empower my son (my only child) in an effort to prevent him from having an attitude similar to his father’s (my EX husband). During our marriage, I was constantly being asked to help him find his keys, wallet, sunglasses, etc so he could get out the door. When he went on business trips (normally 1-2 nights each week), he asked me to pack his suitcase so he would have everything he needed. I was also called OFTEN to bring him something that he had forgotten. Granted, I had a job, so I could not always accommodate him. But that didn’t stop him from making the call anyway. Living with him was so draining, because it was similar to taking care of a second child!

    My son will be 18 in December, and he has been doing his own laundry since he was 10. It is a mandatory life skill that he MUST have. He knows how to use the microwave and stove safely, and he says he loves having the freedom to choose what he would like to eat for dinner. If he didn’t want to eat what I cooked for dinner, he had the freedom to cook something else. He eats school lunch, and fixes his own breakfast.

    I am not perfect, though. He uses his alarm clock, but I am guilty of opening his bedroom door (in case he hits the snooze) and making sure he is up and moving on most weekday mornings (I am up by 5:00am anyway). He does not expect this though. On weekends, he often has to work an early shift, and he knows that I like to sleep in occasionally, so I will not be getting up just to make sure he is up.

    As for his homework, he works almost every day after school, and often doesn’t come in until after 9:30 or 10:00. I am normally in bed by then, so he comes in, does his homework, and gets to bed. And, I have been lucky enough that he is responsible with his schoolwork and will stay up until midnight if necessary to get it all done. I do not hound him about his homework or tests. I do like having access to powerschool, and I check in on his grades about once a month.

    I have also been guilty of getting too involved when he hits a rough patch with a teacher or such, so I have FORCED myself over the last couple of years to step back. Nowadays, if he has an issue, he normally tells me about it, and I just ask him, “Do you want or need me to get involved?” 9 times out of 10, he will say, “No, I can handle it myself.” He NEEDS to learn how to handle those issues, but he knows that I am here to assist if necessary. I am his backup.

    There have been a couple of times that I have had to take a forgotten item to him at school, but I am literally 3 blocks from the school, so it isn’t that big of a deal. And, it is has been very rare for that to happen. So, that is kind of a non-issue for us.

    I am glad you will be writing about kids and money. Money management is SUCH a critical skill, and one that is often overlooked when it comes to parenting. My son had a paypal account with a debit card from the time he was 10, and 90% of his birthday/Christmas/extra money was deposited there. I kept an eye on what he was doing, and he was always very responsible with it. Now, he has a job, a checking account, and a savings account. He also knows how to prepare a simple budget. His paycheck is directly deposited, and he transfers money every week from checking into savings. He pays his car insurance (I gave him my old 2002 hand-me-down car), gas, and buys any extras that he wants. He understands the importance of saving money for unexpected expenses such as car repairs and such, and it doing very well in planning how much of his paycheck gets saved each week.

    As for those of you who say this article is advocating “lazy” parenting, I call foul. I have met too many children who have had parents do EVERYTHING for them while they were growing up, and while some turned out fine and learned what they needed to, there are so many more (like my ex-husband), who could not balance a checkbook, do laundry, or even fix a simple meal like hamburgers or scrambled eggs. My ex-mother-in-law said that she realized that she had effectively crippled her son by never requiring him to learn to do things and make decisions for himself. I have also had friends who say that they WISHED they would have done things differently and taught their children some basic skills rather than doing everything for them.

    Yes, parenting also takes love, mentoring, supervision, emotional support, communication, and discipline. Just because I taught my son to be independent does not mean that he thinks I don’t care. He likes having some independence, and I know that when he goes out into the world, he will know how to survive without being a drain on a significant other.

    Reply
  65. Andrew Kaczmarski
    Andrew Kaczmarski says:

    My wife and I have most of these covered with the exception of the laundry. Which left me feeling a bit guilty I have to say. But this is a great read. Thanks for writing it. It’s good to know there are still normal people out there

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Andrew, do not feel guilty about a thing! If you read the laundry portion of the post, I said that I do my kids laundry. But, I have had them do it in the past so they know what to do and can do it anytime that their help is needed. Thanks for reading and considering me normal 🙂

      Reply
  66. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    We have a teen and have been pretty much hands-off for his high school years. We do have teachers that email us about an assignment that was due and he hadn’t turned it in. My response to their email is “Thanks for letting us know, I’ve forwarded the email to my son.” That’s it. While I appreciate them in communications with us (just imagine if I got email about missing homework assignments when I was in high school!), he is still accountable for his actions. If he doesn’t turn it in. Sucks to be him. He’s fails a couple of times and he had to pay the consequences for his actions.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Michelle, I’m high fiving you right now. A couple of my daughter’s 8th grade teachers email about missing assignments and upcoming work that’s due. I have been debating asking them to take me off their list and replace my email with my daughters. I can appreciate the teacher’s attempt to communicate, because I do think a lot of parents like that. I am going to begin forwarding any future emails to my kiddo and using your response to the teacher. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  67. Denise
    Denise says:

    This is completely how I was raised!

    My husband and I have three kids, 15 yr old boy- sophomore, 13 yr boy – 8th grade and 9 yr old girl-4th grade.

    My husband does everything it seems for our kids, things I refused to do for them, wake them up in the morning, chases them to bed around 10, packs their lunches and hovers over them about their school work.

    Maybe I should back up a bit regarding our first 13 years of marriage my husband worked night shift as he is a police officer, and about 4 years ago he promoted to upper levels that allows him normal hours, normal days except he is on call at any moment if needed. So before the shift change I did the morning duty, the afternoon duty and the nighttime routine and since the change I felt him come in and take over completely. (That is probably another issue for another subject)

    For a while there, he was sticking his head in every 15 minutes checking on our oldest and his homework the first year of high school. Which quickly got on our high school kid’s nerves and actually adding to his time in completing his homework. Our 8th grader is easy going, comes home and goes straight to the homework. I advised our oldest to start speaking up and tell his dad that the constant interruptions aren’t helping, he finally did and he has cut back for the most part.

    The youngest well she is much more independent then the older two, maybe cause she is a lot like her mom. Now as far as the waking up in the morning routine well the youngest gets up with her alarm,

    The 8th grader talked to me that he didn’t like the way his dad woke him up in the morning and my answer was use your alarm clock then so now he gets up to his alarm clock and he told his dad that he wanted to use his alarm clock from now on.

    As far as the oldest kid he can sleep through a nuclear bomb which is actually an improvement over the years but still can’t wake up to an alarm to save his life but I also believe that in his mind he knows he doesn’t have to either cause Dad will wake him. We are 2.5 years away from the oldest going to college and he will never make it to classes on his own ever if my husband doesn’t let him figure out how to wake up to an alarm. Good lord my hubby even chases the boys to bed starting at 10 pm, I say let them figure it out and homework is not always finished at 10 either especially for the high school level.

    Yes, Dad makes all the lunches, granted yes our 9 year old daughter needs to have her lunches made plus we are trying to teach her good food choices.

    I try at times to push my kids to be independent but that apparently does not go over well with the husband. Our youngest is so independent and has been doing things for herself way before the boys ever did.

    A few weeks ago I was having a medical procedure done that required me to have a driver afterwards which was my husband. After dropping off the kids that morning here came a text to my husband that the oldest lost his marching shoes and was asking for alternative shoes from home to have for the away game, so he got his dress shoes to take to him on the way to my medical procedure. While I was trying to text my son and tell him he needs to go ask the band director since I figured he probably left them in the drum room and the director cleaned house there besides not many have a size 14 foot like my 15 year old either (he’s 6’4″). So now we are in pre op, here comes another text to my husband from the oldest that he forgot his jeans for travel wear. See it’s not me that gets the texts because well I have done the “bummer, deal with it, I am at work” response.

    And yes in the mornings I see the boys with ear buds in, glued to their phones eating breakfast that their dad prepared for them.

    Lately, I think I am seeing that my husband is getting irritated but it seems more directed to me for not helping out with the lunches, fixing breakfast, getting them to bed and so on. These were things that I did on my own starting about 5-6 grade and I was event a latch key kid who locked up the house in the morning and came home to an empty house after school. Now my parents label me the rebellious child at 41 since I left for college and well never came back home meaning I found my life at college and settled down in the same city as my college to even having a job at the university.
    I think I am waiting for the ticking time bomb to explode and am considering saving this post about the 8 things to stop doing. When he has had enough maybe leave the article out where he could find it to read. I am in 200% agreement with what is said here and have believed that all along. I try not to get involved with issues of academics unless something crosses the moral line, which has happened once.

    It was amusing when my husband was out of town for a week last year. Having to wake up the two boys, good grief! I went to the store after the second day and purchased a fog horn to use, but never used it. Threatened them with it and they got moving in the morning. I know I have two weeks coming up in a month where husband will be out of town for work, wonder what I can do in that time or if I can even get things to change. Maybe the alarm clock will be a fog horn sounding off at 6 am but without me going into the bedrooms to coax them out of the beds.

    I think I am just quietly waiting until the hubby has had enough although I think the blame will be my fault that I am not helping him out which will be my queue to explain why. Bet your wondering why I don’t approach him now, yes we have a good marriage, yes we can communicate however I don’t think he is ready to actually listen to my input on this subject. Plus, I think in a way he is trying to make up for all the years that he was getting ready for work when I was feeding them dinner and doing the nighttime routine with the kids. I had a great system back then. I am grateful that my kids can completely open up to talk to me and they are a little reluctant with dad just out of fear which I tell them they have nothing to fear and they can talk to their dad which they are learning. I think the idea that their dad is an assistant police chief for our city and well he does have a lot on his plate at work.
    We are a close family besides the issues here. We cook dinners together and eat dinner together at the table as a family with no devices. Just need him to let go more and let the kids grow independently.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to write this Denise! I have to ask my husband constantly to please back away from the children. He is a retired pro athlete and is home most of the time now and loves doing for the kids because he missed so much when they were young. There has to be a balance between doing for the kids and having them do for themselves. It’s tough when your spouse doesn’t see it. Just share the article with him now and get his take. Many Dads are chiming in to the conversation. Love the foghorn idea 🙂 May have to get one of those for one of my heavy sleepers! Keep up the great work Momma!

      Reply
  68. Gloria
    Gloria says:

    To each his own. I was a hovering parent a great deal. My washer is off limits to anyone but me. I am a laundry nut. I love doing laundry and don’t want my state of the art machine messed with. I also like cooking, so I enjoy making breakfast when kids were young and they were not allowed to leave without eating. Now my daughter who is over 40 always makes good meals for herself and she is single. I did run items to school like forgotten lunch money or a book or so. Not often but it did happen. I can’t imagine not getting it to them if possible. My daughter matured earlier than her younger brother of 7 years. She got herself up in high school, but her choice. My son I got up. I went to bat for my kids alot. I grew up in a home of 7 kids and mom never worked and did get us up and made breakfast for us, but it ended there. I swore my kids would have a very involved parent. And I was and would do it all again. I never worked. I made a choice to be a full time parent and work would get in the way. So working parents have it tougher.

    Reply
  69. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Love EVERYTHING you listed! I have a 15 year old and a 12 year old. I’m also a 5th grade teacher. Encouraging independence is the greatest gift we can give our children! Thanks for an awesome blog!

    Reply
  70. Shelby
    Shelby says:

    My opinion:
    I did wake my teenagers up for school, mainly because of seminary. It was that important to me that my children get to seminary on time to start their day on a spiritual note.
    As a mom, I made my children breakfast and I packed their lunches. I even went so far as to make freshly baked cookies to put in their lunches every morning. I would make a batch of cookies and keep the dough in the refrigerator and each morning bake a dozen cookies. It’s something I wanted to do for them. I found out later that my freshly baked cookies got quite a price in trade at the lunch tables. Michael would trade ONE of my cookies for a bag of chips or a half a sandwich or some other thing that he wanted. Then he would trade another ONE of my cookies for something else he wanted. LOL fine with me! Actually, I got a little ego boost from it Lol!
    For dinner, if they did not like what I made, I would tell them there was bread and peanut butter up in the cabinets that they were more than welcome to make themselves a sandwich.
    If my student forgot something for school, if it was convenient, I would bring it to them… Especially if they said please. I would not break my neck to do it though.
    All of my children have grown into responsible adults, good citizens and great friends to others. I don’t take all of the credit, thank goodness for heavenly assistance! Your children grow up so fast, enjoy every minute of it! I miss those days, however I love that I have a dog children that are also my friends.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting Shelby! I bake muffins a lot for my kids to pack in their lunches and their friends even try to pay them or trade them too. Homemade baked goods are obviously a hit for school lunches for sure! I agree with you that kids grow up fast and we should enjoy every minute of it that we can!

      Reply
  71. Mo
    Mo says:

    As a mother to a 4 year old, I totally agree with this and am already working on raising my son as a responsible, independent, and kind person.

    As someone who was once a child to a mother who hovered over me and never allowed me to do anything myself — even up until I left for college! — I support this even more.

    I was incredibly independent naturally, but I struggled in a lot of ways when I first left home. Sure, my mother taught me to do my own chores and cook (because I was a woman), but I wasn’t allowed to drive, talk to strangers, buy things for myself, leave the house without adult supervision (usually my own parents), decide on my education or activities (I was homeschooled as well, so it was a CONSTANT, highly-controlled environment), fill out any forms for myself, apply to college, choose the college I went to, manage money, have money, have a bank account, have a job… the list goes on. And it hurt me a lot when I had to figure everything out on my own as a freshman in college when I was 17.

    Not to mention the psychological turmoil it caused. It’s been almost 10 years, and even though now I’m a mother, wife and business owner, and I did it all myself, I still struggle with the mental and emotional damage. Because over-parenting stems from a need for control, and fear. And those are really damaging things to live with as a child, to learn from.

    Thanks for writing this!

    Reply
  72. Michael
    Michael says:

    I totally disagree with most of what is said here.

    If your kids forget something, and you are the parent, you are responsible as a parent to make sure they have what they need even if they forget. Kids are kids until they are adults. We dont have to make them suffer through class not having what they need just to try to make them responsible adults. They have plenty of time to be adults.

    If your kids forget a project, i dont care if it is the night before. A parent that cares will make sure it is done with their child even if it takes all night. It is the parents job to know whats going on in the childs life and not just be a spectator and say oh you forget a project is due the next day, well you the parent forgot as the responsible one that should have known. Grades are permanent, so until a child graduates it is the parents responsibility to make sure they do what they are supposed to do. Similar to what a supervisor does for a team who works for them. Totally disagree with that.

    Making lunches of course when a kid is old enough to cook on their own or make sandwiches they should. Thats basic.

    I agree when kids get of age they can do their own laundry.

    It is ABSOLUTELY the parents responsibility to talk to teachers or coaches when something goes wrong. A child is a minor and does not know what to say. Even 18 year old kids need to have parents represent them when things go wrong with teachers or coaches. Simple help questions parents dont need to handle, but problems are parents problems, not just kids.

    Reply
  73. Liz
    Liz says:

    I really can’t stand comments like this. I like being a mom, and time is going to go so quickly that I’ll miss making their school lunches someday. Don’t tell me I’m a bad mom because I like doing these things. You might not want all these responsibilities, but to each his own.

    Reply
  74. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    As a teacher for almost 30 years, I cannot agree more. My children are 21, 14 and 14. I have always done their laundry and do not mind it at all, (they put it away), If the clothes are not in the hamper, they are not washed. I do not pick up dirty laundry,

    My oldest packed her own lunch starting in middle school. My twins do not make their lunches…I tried to make them do this and they wound up buying every day and it cost me a lot of money. Not to mention they made bad food choices (ice cream and soft pretzels every day is not a good lunch!). For the five minutes it take for me to make them something nutritious, I save money.

    I stopped making them breakfast when middle school started because they have to be out the door at 7:00 while I am in the shower. Plenty of cereal, homemade muffins and other assorted carbs are available if they want to eat.

    Forget something at home? Take your lumps when you have to tell the teacher that it is on the kitchen table. My only exception is medication. If my son forgets to take it during the morning rush, he will call from school and I will bring it before I head out to work.

    Teachers are emailed only if I have a legitimate concern…like my children’s 504 Plans are not being followed. Trust me, no one wants to be “that Mom” who emails over every little thing.

    Have a project due? I will get you the supplies but you have to do the work. I will double check something if you ask, but I will not do the project for you. My kids can cook meals, bake desserts, and clean if asked because I have TAUGHT them these skills. They wanted to paint their rooms this summer, and my husband taught them how. They are so proud of how they came out!

    Your main point is one that I strive for as a parent…I want to give my children wings. I am in my early 50’s…my parents did not hover over my brother and me and we are successful adults. I am not a bad parent for not doing things for my kids, and neither are you!

    Reply
  75. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    3 of my 4 do their own laundry. Once in a while I will throw some in for them if I am on a role. They know when they have dirty clothes. They know how to use the washer and dryer. If they want clean clothes for school then it’s their responsibility to make that happen. My 14 year old always washes his laundry on Sunday night. Most of the time I don’t even have to give him a reminder. My 16 yr old does his own too but usually has 3 or more loads because he waits longer. My oldest is in college and does his at home and away unless he drops by grandmas:) My daughter is 9 and takes care if her own laundry but doesn’t wash it yet. I don’t pack lunches. If they want to take cold lunch they pack it themselves. I don’t do breakfast during the week. They do it themselves. We have a rule to be out of the house by 7:30. Breakfast is started no later than 7:15. Forgot your phone too bad. Forgot your homework, I might go back home, once. Trust me when I say you wint want to forget again. I ask if they have homework everyday. They know they are supposed to do homework as soon as they get home from school, doesn’t always happen but it gets done. There is no excuse for missing assignments or late assignments. They have chores as well. We dont pay allowance. We all live here and do our share. We have a no hanging out with friends during the school week rule as well. I know to some I sound harsh but my kids will grow up to be responsible adults and it starts young. I feel like I am doing them no good by running behind them picking up their faults and fails. I am here to love and support and teach them. Any questions?

    Reply
  76. D
    D says:

    Home and family should be a refuge. My experience is that the world teaches children, quite well on its own, that growing-up is hard. It’s strange to me that you feel the need to create that harshness at home. Of course children should take on age appropriate responsibilities, but it seems more than coincidental that the responsibilities you emphasize are things that you otherwise find inconvenient. When your children run into serious issues that they need help with, why would they turn to you? Your answer may be that it’s ok that they don’t, it means that you did your job of teaching them to be self-sufficient. They will turn to someone though.
    I’d also suggest you spend some time with children who have been in the juvenile justice system. None of them will complain about how much time their parents spent helping them with homework, or that they were forced to eat nutritious lunches. You’ll find that their parents also taught them self-sufficiency.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      That is interesting you suggest I spend time with children who’ve been in the juvenile justice system as we have taken in foster children for years and are in the process of adopting the one who is living with us right now. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  77. Julie Docker Johnon
    Julie Docker Johnon says:

    Today is my first day of landing my helicopter! Let’s hope I can make it through not waking her up! This is not easy at all, wish me luck I will need it!!!!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I love it Julie! Let us know how it goes. Letting go is a process and some days will go better than others for all involved. Proud of you!

      Reply
  78. Beth Holmes
    Beth Holmes says:

    Good for you for writing this! I practice this same philosophy. I used to tell my friend I was practicing “lazy” parenting, but she told me that wasn’t true at all — what I was doing was “empowering” parenting. I only have one daughter who is in 11th grade now. I don’t do any of these things. We do talk about her school work, what she’s learning, how it’s going, etc… but I rarely check online for grades. We phased in some of the other chores. I can’t even remember when I stopped waking her up in the morning it was so long ago! She started making her breakfast and lunch in 6th grade because she (and my husband) had to be up and out by 7:15 and I didn’t leave for work until 8:30. She started doing her own laundry in 9th grade after spending the Summer at a Dance Course at a college where they did all their own laundry and go t themselves to their activities and classes. We started all of this with a 4 week sleep away camp she begged to go to at age 8!!! Where the kids are required to wear watches and mostly get themselves to and from their activities and have assigned chores. I’ve always worked full-time so have never been able to drop everything and bring forgotten things to school — she rarely forgets anything anyway — is that her personality — maybe — or maybe it’s because she knows there is no back-up available if she forgets. Now she is driving so she can get her own school project supplies!!! Anyway — good for you.

    Reply
  79. erik
    erik says:

    “I heard a Mom actually voice out loud that her teen sons were just so cute still, that she loved going in and waking them up every morning. Please stop. ”

    It’s too bad that you are asking not to be judged, and in the same breath, you judge other parents. I found myself reluctantly agreeing with your points, in spite of what I found to be and overbearing and holier than thou manner of writing. The sharing of confident parenting techniques could use a little humility.

    Reply
  80. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I literally do all of these things. I have 2 teenagers who can cook full meals, do laundry, clean up after themselves and are getting good grades without my help!! At times I am called lazy for not doing things for them, but they will be much better husbands because I have prepared them for the future!!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      I always say to my sons that I’m trying to raise good husbands here. We can at least tell our daughter-in-laws that we tried, right? Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  81. Mell
    Mell says:

    These things can start a lot earlier than the teenage years. My kids are 10, 11 and 16 and they have done things for themselves since they were 7 or 8 years old (maybe earlier). I have not had any influence in classes for the 16 year old since 6th grade. I’m lucky to tell you what classes she takes and I have no idea who her teachers are, she takes care of all of it. She is a sophmore with a 4.4 GPA, so I know she is doing well on her own.

    I see soo many helicopter parents that do everything for their kids. The kids can not make their own decisions and freak out when their parents are not always around. I use them as learning lesson for my children. Being independent is a way of life in our house, wish others would allow or help their children grow up.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Yes, Melinda I agree that these things can start a lot earlier in childhood! It’s much easier when independence is just a way of life, like you said. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Reply
  82. Bri Stewart
    Bri Stewart says:

    As a senior in high school, I wish my parents did that for me all along. I mean I’ve been doing my own laundry for a little while now and I occasionally ask mom to do it when my schedule get super insane (like in the fall when I have marching band and theatre activities after school) but other than that my parents have babied me through my school years. I feel like those things would help someone in the long run. This advice should be taken literally. I know I would be a lot more prepared for college if these things were expected of me for years.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you Bri for reading and commenting! How great to get your perspective as a teen who hasn’t even launched yet. Enjoy your last year of high school!

      Reply
  83. Ginny
    Ginny says:

    I had those “I forgot this at home.”, I don’t know what to eat and I need this project done by tomorrow. First thing, get a planner they can throw in the backpack to keep track of homework, games, projects, etc. I always have notebook paper, pencils, markers, etc. If I “have to” go anywhere, I charge them, 25 cents a mile, to and from. If I get a phone call at work for something they forgot at home, I charge them 25 cents per mile, to and from, plus time I miss from work. Needless to day, I don’t get calls more than one time. They do their own laundry, cook, do household chores like cleaning the bathroom, vacuum, mop, etc. We also have chickens and a garden. They rototill the garden, help plant, harvest and can. They clean out the chicken coop, feed water etc. You teach then these things so they are productive, self reliant adults, that is the hope. 💜

    Reply
  84. Laura
    Laura says:

    College teacher here. I have met far too many legal adults who have no ability to take criticism, manage their time without reminders (they expect the teacher to remind them to complete things), or to take responsibility for the most basic duties. “I was late to class ’cause my mom didn’t wake me up.” Adults who never heard “no” or were protected from consequences suddenly having to deal with both. It doesn’t go well.

    We have a generation of young adults who are lost because they’ve never been taught to be in control of themselves or how to overcome setbacks. If you don’t feel empowered and capable, if your day-to-day has been dictated by someone else, you do not have a sense of security. You are helpless in controlling your destiny.

    Boundaries are loving. It shows respect for both parties. It is not abandonment. You can be a “guide on the side” and loving, you can even do laundry if that’s your thing, but yoir adult will get much further in life, with more long-term opportunities, if they show up fully prepared for the task.

    Reply
  85. Nina
    Nina says:

    Some parents never do. 🙁 The idea is that all this other stuff is a distraction from academics (especially math and science).

    The idea is also that the sons will keep living with the parents for life and the daughters will go from living with their parents to living with their husbands’ parents, so they won’t really *need* to know this stuff until their parents or in-laws go senile or die.

    Get enough of these people together in a subculture, and you can get hired, married off, befriended, etc. for your good grades alone no matter how much you suck at everything that isn’t on the test.

    Reply
  86. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way. I grew up with a mom who woke us up in the morning, brought us things if we forgot them, made our lunches, and even did our laundry. All 5 of my siblings are functional, independent, productive members of society who know their mom would do anything for them, but don’t require her to anymore.

    When we’re adults, we have the freedom to drive ourselves home if we forget something important. As kids at school, they are captive and totally at our mercy. I believe in mercy and in showing love.

    If I think it’s important and I’m able to, I’ll bring stuff to my kids. I believe they will become responsible adults despite sometimes relying on their mom while they’re kids.

    Reply
  87. Bill
    Bill says:

    Meh. We do all of these for our kids except number 8, and there hasn’t been any detriment. Two are off at college and are doing very well without hand holding, and two more are still at home healthy and happy.

    Parenting is guiding your kids through this stuff, and sometimes that means lending a helping hand when it may be aggravating.

    Honestly, this smacks a bit of “I have better things to do with my time than parent.”

    Reply
  88. Teresa
    Teresa says:

    I think it is sad that you don’t want to be involved in your children’s lives. Some of the best times I enjoy with my children are over breakfast. I’m not still in bed while they get up and ready for school. Why did you have them at all if you don’t want to spend time with them. I feel sorry for your kids. I guess it’s too much work for you to volunteer at their school too. As for forgetting something for school have you never forgotten to bring something to work before so don’t turn around and get it? They are only young for such a short amount of time. Why not cherish those morning instead of staying in bed and being woken by the sound of breakfast dishes. Are you really so selfish you can’t put your children’s clothes in the washer when you are doing your own? I like being a Mum, do you resent your child for taking up time? This post makes me sad. Why judge other parents?

    Reply
  89. Sage
    Sage says:

    This is all good advice of course, but I think it bears mentioning there’s no one right or wrong way to raise your children. There’s a whole long spectrum between enabling entitled children and tough love. Most of us fall somewhere imperfectly between. The author’s way works for her and her family and that’s great. However, for parents raising young children or looking back and thinking you did it all wrong because you made your kids’ lunches or did their laundries, my personal advice is, go with your gut. If you enjoy doing these things for your children, go ahead and do it guilt-free. There are many ways your children can be contributing members of the family. You may err on the side of doing things for your children they could do for themselves, but this does not mean they won’t grow up into fully functioning, responsible and independent adults. So much of it depends on how, not what. For example, if your child forgets his homework and you deliver it to his school, is he apologetic for taking your time? Does he thank you? Does he understand this was a one-time concession? Does he have empathy, understanding your time is important too? Will he try his best next time to remember his homework? If the answer to all of this is yes, then you’re doing a fine job raising a respectful, empathetic and compassionate young man. Also, I found the author I bit judgmental about the woman who enjoyed waking up her teenage sons. What is the possible harm in that? Her sons will be grown and gone before she knows it. Mothering them is not a crime, it’s an act of love. So much of life and parenting is a process. I don’t recall the exact moment I stopped waking up my children for school or tucking them into bed at night. There was just a natural point in which this ceased and my children put themselves to bed and got themselves up in the morning. I do recall, however, my younger daughter, when she was in high school, asking me if I wouldn’t mind waking her up in the morning. She was setting her clock alarm, but if she had it on a music station, she slept through it. If she set it to an alarm, it was too jarring. She said she missed being woken up by my soothing, gentle voice. Should I have said no, you’re old enough to wake yourself up now? My mother used to wake my four siblings and me up each morning. She would come into our bedrooms and snap open the shades. My older sister tells the story with great fondness, how our mother would go from window – snap! – to window – snap! – and say, “Rise and shine!” It’s one of our favorite childhood memories of a mother who started each of our mornings with cheer and sunshine. I hope my children look back on their own childhoods with this same kind of fondness for something they may have taken for granted at the time, but grow up to appreciate more fully. I hope they recall with pride the moments they reached a new milestone or accomplished something on their own. At the same time, I don’t think this will in any way be diminished by those times their father and I supported them or went out of our way to make something a little more possible for them.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thank you so much for your wise and thought out comment to this post! I loved when you said “There’s a whole long spectrum between enabling entitled children and tough love. Most of us fall somewhere imperfectly between.” So true!

      Reply
  90. Hildie
    Hildie says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve got six kids and am on my fourth teenager. Ever since they were in Kindergarten I’ve told them that they get two freebies a year (two times when I will bring something to school that they’ve left behind). The funny thing is that they rarely use them. When I asked one of my daughters why she said, “I always save my freebies for a time when it’s really important.” And then they end up not using them at all.

    I grew up with a mom who literally refused to do anything for us kids. She used the excuse that she was teaching us to be independent but 90% of it was just laziness. She did end up teaching us to be incredibly independent which, now that I’m older, I am really grateful for. But I don’t care much for my mom as an adult because I got the underlying message that I wasn’t important enough to go to any effort for. I was (and still am) super angry at her for not even bothering to make us breakfast. So I told myself that when I had kids I would always make them a nice breakfast. Which I usually do. To me feeding the people I love is terribly important. So I’m going to disagree with you on that one. But my kids do start making lunches once they get to high school.

    Here’s the one thing that drives me battiest about hovering parents: ones who carry their kids’ backpacks! We live in a neighborhood where most kids walk to school and I can’t tell you how many parents take their kids’ backpacks on the walk home! Why??? None of the kids are bringing home huge textbooks! It’s not like they’ve had such a hard day! You know who has had a hard day? Me! I’m going to make my son wear his backpack home AND carry my purse!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting Hildie! Way to go with 6 kiddos! I absolutely agree with you about taking time to show love through our meals. Almost every night, I cook a family dinner and love our time connecting over that meal. I also make breakfasts on the weekends when we have time to actually relax and savor the meal. If my kids didn’t have to be out the door so early, I would most likely make more weekday breakfasts too. I think its about figuring out the right balance in our own family and what that looks like depending on our circumstances. I’m glad this article really has people thinking and talking. Thanks for being one of them!

      Reply
  91. Chia-Lin Simmons
    Chia-Lin Simmons says:

    Teaching kids to be self regulating is important. A number of studies show that the long term impact of not gaining those skills early on to have impact on aggression, academics and more. They key is setting expectations for the entire family. This can be challenging any any household but as family dynamics change (step-parents, caretakers, etc) it because even more difficult. We all need reminders and it’s OK to provide tools to kids to do that (watches, phones, etc with calenders and reminders) but only they can make the decision to plan and do what is needed. I am a mom of an 8 year old and recently co-founded a company with my co-founder (he has 2 kids under 10) call MyPinwheel. The mobile app servixe gives families the tools to help do this. We are not launched yet but be on the lookout for us at iFundwomen.com November 1. You got two parents who is passionate about this topic and hoping to build some tools we can all use!

    Reply
  92. Julia
    Julia says:

    Totally agree with every item, but it also needs to be tempered with knowing your own child and their individual situation. It was a LONG road getting my son to get himself up and to his school. 6 years of Jr. high and High school, and he still was bad. I would still try and wake him up sometimes when I was just at my wits end, but often he would just go back to sleep, I would go about my business and then the sh*% would hit the fan. He suffered having to walk or ride his bike instead of getting a ride, detentions, lower grades, making up gym classes during his free time, failing classes in college, and even loss of employment before he was finally able to get himself up and out the door on a regular basis at age 23…ARG!! —we even had him go through sleep disorder testing at the hospital because we thought there had to be something physically wrong with him! Nothing more than sleep deprived and a heavy sleeper, and obviously a very high threshold for suffering adverse consequences.
    My kids are 9 years apart. A Boy with ADD issues, and a girl who is more organized than I am…..Crazy! I wish the grade check programs had existed when my son was in middle and high school. He really needed that constant check and reminder from us, as well as giving us the ability to give more immediate consequences when he didn’t live up to his responsibilities—-No, you don’t get to play soccer this weekend, you are failing math and have 4 homework assignments missing—He needed that structure, and it was much harder to give it to him when we only had teacher communication to rely on. The irony is that the grade programs and teacher websites are common place now and my daughter doesn’t need that from us. I didn’t check it once during middle school for her, and have only checked it twice so far during her Freshman year, and once was to check her class schedule, not grades. I think these tools are really important, no matter what your child is like. My kids can use these systems too to keep themselves organized and on track or to communicate with a teacher or professor directly. My son still has issues, but these computer systems have slowly helped him improve his ability to stay on track and advocate for himself.

    Reply
  93. Harriet Powell
    Harriet Powell says:

    I spent a wonderful week keeping 3 of my grandsons (then ages 9, 7, 5) while their parents were out of town. Each morning I had them line up at the door to look them over. Asked them if anyone forgot to put on their underwear, brush their teeth, make their beds, etc. or if they were wearing pajama bottoms or slippers. Each morning the “inspection” had different remarks and they loved it. Sometimes I would ask them to spell a word. Everything went smoothly, but I did get nicknamed the “piano Nazi.”

    Reply
  94. Lisa Peck
    Lisa Peck says:

    Every child and parent are unique. What works for one kid, might not work for another. Teaching competency can be done with these suggestions or letting a kid navigate a trip, drive on the highway, learn how to iron. You can discuss how to establish trust of another. Discuss using your judgment. I don’t really worry that my kid won’t eat at college if I am not making their meal, I do worry they may not know if a classmate is trustworthy or how to manage their time.

    Some kids have a harder time waking up. Others need to consult parents on busy schedules because of the impact their schedule has on the rest of the family.

    Point is parenting is not “One size fits all”.

    Reply
  95. Niki
    Niki says:

    LOL OMG, I found someone who parents almost like me. I do all those things.

    I have 2 adult (children) and 4 children. I haven’t had to deal with so much that I see other parents doing- like all the stuff you said. Even at the elementary level, I have had a teacher call him and say one of my kids brought a toy to school. My response was: were they aware this was a rule? Yes. Do you have a regular policy for dealing with this? Yes. Then you should be having this conversation with my child so why are you calling me? If those 2 things are in place, I (and my kids know this) will support the teacher/ coach 100%. My kids are smart, like most kids and they do learn quickly. You just have to step back and let them learn. Great article. Totally sharing!!!

    Reply
  96. Doreen McGettigan
    Doreen McGettigan says:

    I was a single mom and had no choice but to have my kids start doing this stuff for themselves around 4th grade. My oldest 2 daughters helped their younger brother and sister with homework, lunches and laundry. I went to school in the afternoon and worked the overnight shift so they got themselves up and to school too.
    I often felt guilty and did reward them with free time whenever I could but they grew up to be very independent, successful adults and great parents.

    Reply
  97. Heidi
    Heidi says:

    So what is it that you do, exactly? There is a very real difference between getting your child ready for the adult world and checking out completely as a parent. Let’s see – you don’t do breakfast, lunches, turn around for forgotten things (although I am sure you will turn around for something that YOU forgot), you don’t interact with teachers and coaches, don’t know what they are working on in school, and once in a blue moon will check their grades so that they know that you “care.” So again, what is it that you do as a parent? Oh. That’s right. You write blogs that excuse away your laziness.

    Reply
  98. Kate
    Kate says:

    I just have a freshly one year old now but this is basically how I’ve envisioned raising him! I love your response to not knowing what they lack for lunch… I look forward providing healthy options and worrying about the choices he (and possibly his siblings) will make! This was a refreshing article since it seems a lot of my generation fall under the category of “helicopter parents.”

    Reply
  99. Leigh
    Leigh says:

    What if I don’t do these things for my daughter but my daughter is getting bad grades at school, the most forgetful person on earth, does the bare minimum on everything, and has no respect for anyone? I don’t get how we could be more tough on her. She has daily chores and we take her phone away as a consequence. She doesn’t seem to learn from her mistakes. She misses the bus because she doesn’t get ready in time. It takes her 2 hours to get ready! I don’t take her in unless I’m already going into town and won’t write a note to get her out of trouble. None of these natural consequences seem to motivate her and change her. We do offer to help her with homework but she never wants us to. It’s like she just thinks she is doomed and doesn’t try because she keeps forgetting things and continues to have missing assignments and bad grades. What do you suggest? Any advice? She is 14.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Leigh. Thank you for reading and for your authentic response and questions. Our kids are all different and how they will respond will be different as well. I would recommend that you keep doing what you’re doing and team with the school guidance counselor or someone who knows your daughter and can help you implement new strategies that will maybe work better for her. 14 is a tough age for girls and their parents. Keep up the great work Momma and I appreciate you commenting.

      Reply
  100. Julia
    Julia says:

    Two words = LOVE THIS!
    We always remind our kids we are teaching them LIFE SKILLS but not doing everything for them. This is awesome, thank you for bravely posting this. I am chosing not to read the comments here. Sure there are some tough ones.

    Reply
  101. L. Noir
    L. Noir says:

    My mom worked nights, 11:00-7:00, and my dad worked days, 6:00-5:00, so I had to wake up to an alarm clock from the time I was in first grade and get myself ready for school. When I was 9 years old, my mom broke her ankle, so I had to do the laundry, hang it out on the clothesline, and do the ironing. I also started cooking meals when I was 9 and took care of my baby sister (feeding, diapering, walks, etc.). I also took phone orders for my dad who was a salesman and made my own appointments all before starting high school. Plus I was an honors student & played piano. Did I mention that my parents were alcoholics & mom suffered from depression? I never questioned any of these things and believe I am a stronger person because of my experiences.

    Reply
  102. Lorna fish
    Lorna fish says:

    Trust me these suggestions are good ones! I know because I am now raising grandkids because I SHOULD HAVE done more of this type of parenting with my own daughter, but instead I did too much for her for far too long! She now has a HUGE sense of entitlement! She 8s my youngest and I did differently with her two older brothers. They work and support their own families! I have never had to take care of them or their children. I did more for her because she was diagnosed bipolar as a teen. It was the wrong thing to do. I let that diagnosis be an excuse for her. She has no sense of responsibility at all. Doesn’t pay bills, and makes HORRIBLE choices. I am raising her 3 children because she went to prison. I am parenting these kids like I did my sons! They too are ADHD, but I don’t make excuses for them. They wake themselves up, they alone are rsponsible for homework, they have chores and consequences. The oldest takes care of responsibilities like band and show choir practices, usually has rides available or let’s me know way ahead of time if she needs me to drive her. I have not checked any grades on the computer. I don’t take forgotten items to school. The oldest does her own laundry, second oldest is learning to fix full meals. Soon he will be doing his laundry as well. Yes each child is different, but I for one have seen first hand the difference in how I parented my own….by the way, my two sons are also bipolar…Yet they still are responsible functioning adults!

    Reply
  103. Judy
    Judy says:

    GOOD Suggestions. BAD Suggestions.
    GREAT Sharing. BAD discussions.
    What we can learn is the good part of raising youngsters? What they learn is the GREAT part of our next generation(s)! [Ask the grand parents!]
    Everyone can be social and have good kids… Sharing is about ‘your’ experience, ‘your’ opinion.
    Why is the Mom “thing” a sharing that we get emotional on paper/email/chat/blog. Save the emotions for your children and know that the positive ones will be the ones they will smile with once you’re gone and they re ARE adults.

    Reply
  104. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    This is a great read. I have two children, my son is 10 years old and my daughter is 6 years old. I work in Higher Education (student affairs) as an upper level administrator and PREACH the importance of parents to “let go” – when it’s time for college. Problem is, I don’t listen to my own advice!!!!!! Parents start young, middle school is fantastic. I have yet to do that myself, although my son is still in 5th grade but I should. He’s also struggling with some behavioral issues (crying a lot, snaps at the littlest things, not paying attention in school etc) and cannot follow simple steps – but this is no excuse. I need to get my act together and start practicing now. This is a good place to start with your suggestions for backing down and allowing THEIR CHOICES to have consequences either positive or negative. Parenting a child, then a young adult, then an adult (because some adults still need their moms and dads) is challenging to say the least. I’m glad to see I am not alone in my struggles. Thanks for reading my response.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks Suzanne for reading and commenting! I’m glad that this post resonated with you as your kids are at a great age to start implementing some tools for self sufficiency if that works for your family.

      Reply
  105. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    Hi Amy! I had no idea you were writing this blog! So exciting! I so agree with this. I want to point out to readers that this is NOT the easy/lazy way. It is much easier to do it all for them than to train them to do it. It’s not like they roll over and comply right away… Ha! I commend you, Amy, because this is truly the harder thing to do. It requires way more discipline on your part. It pains me to let my children fail. Many times I do not because it is so hard to watch them suffer the consequences (and often they are consequences for me too!). But when I am strong, I do because I know it is growing them and that is really our job as parents. I am inspired by your boldness and courage to do things the hard way for the sake of your kids!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Hi Kristen! So fun that you found me on here. Miss seeing you guys! Thank you for recognizing that stepping back and letting our kids begin to navigate life takes a lot of effort actually. Thanks for reading and for your encouragement!

      Reply
  106. Hope
    Hope says:

    Parenting is not as black and white as I took this article to indicate. My mother was a wonderful stay at home mom. She made my lunch for school, she helped me with my homework. If I overslept, she woke me. She brought me stuff if I forgot it…..etc. But she also gradually expected more of me as I grew older, but never denied me assistance if I asked. I don’t feel like it made me incompetent at all. I grew up self-confident and sure that my mom would always be there for me if she could. I went out of state to college on my own, finished with a master’s……I have a job, husband, 2 children of my own…..and I do the same things for them. My oldest son is also out of state in college – very independent. I do not micro-manage any part of his life. I think you can teach independence without neglecting, frustrating, embarrassing, or stressing out your children.

    Reply
  107. Laura Fontaine
    Laura Fontaine says:

    I’ve been doing all of this for my now 13 year old. I started some of these things in elementary school, such as getting herself out of bed. Recently, I added doing her own laundry to the list. She was supposed to be folding the laundry for us but once I found clothes (again) in the laundry basket, belonging to me (that I had JUST washed and dried and was in “the pile” to be folded), I told her I was so depleted I just can’t do her laundry anymore. So, we’ll see how that goes. I imagine there will be a few times she will be pulling dirty stuff out of her laundry because she didn’t get around to doing any wash, or going without underwear because once again, no laundry has been done for two weeks. So, stay tuned on that one. What I have going for me is that I honestly don’t care if my kids even likes me. I know she will LOVE me and appreciate how I raised her when she is a successful adult, as she watches the majority of the kids flounder around her. I’m starting the process all over again with my son, who is now in grade 1. Still packing his lunch but what ever he doesn’t eat, that is his snack when he gets home. I teach them not to waste food, early on.

    Reply
  108. Carrie Elsass
    Carrie Elsass says:

    Thanks for writing this! It’s a great reminder that encouraging and rewarding irresponsible behavior does not create a responsible adult! I am shocked by some of the disparaging comments, but I’ve learned over the years that when people feel a twinge of guilt, one response is to lash out at the messenger. I know in our case, I sometimes feel I’m not doing enough of what you’re describing and need to do better, but in others, I am doing a great job! The key is balance-one example is that when my son is hard at work on a project, I am happy to make him a meal so that he can keep his train of thought going, but if he’s lazing around playing a video game, nope! He can fix it himself! People should realize it’s NOT about each specific item on your list, but rather about fostering responsibility for oneself and not bailing a child out when they make poor choices. It may look a little different in different households, but that SHOULD be our goal for all of our children! As a former teacher, I find those households who have struck the proper balance between nurturing and fostering independent, responsible young people produce the kiddos who are a pleasure to be around!

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting Carrie. Yes, parenting should absolutely look different for each family and home! Thank you for recognizing that this post is just to get parents thinking and not demanding that people follow exactly what I’m doing. I love how you mentioned balancing nurturing and fostering independence in our kids. Yes!!

      Reply
  109. Deniee
    Deniee says:

    It really sounds to me that you do nothing for your children that they’re raising themselves I truly hope with all of this Babble that you are at least over seeing what these children are doing you know sometimes people have lost the concept that they are supposed to mold and parent their children so they sit back and let them basically fend for themselves in what Society is this fair to the child? You can raise happy healthy independent children but also guiding them and helping them on a daily basis to achieve those goals instead of basically saying this is the world and you navigate on your own or you don’t navigate it! The truth of the matter is some children become overwhelmed and they just stop therefore they do not become accomplished adults!

    Reply
  110. Cindy Simonetti
    Cindy Simonetti says:

    I was actually told by one parent that I was too harsh with my kids, and that they were going to get a bad grade because of me. My response was, ” Do you work? Yeah, I didn’t think so; as I can’t imagine calling my boss and asking him to bring my laptop to me because I forgot to bring it home to finish my work. In addition, their bad grade IN 3RD GRADE means nothing on their high school transcript, but means everything in the “real world” in which most people live.

    First, I do not want to offend anyone who is fortunate enough to stay home with their kids instead of work outside of the home, I am just not one of those people. One evening I was trying to make it to a High School Scholar’s Bowl match and was 10 minutes late due to traffic. I had stayed home with my kids when they were young but I was no longer needed at the school and knew I wanted to continue my career. Which I did. A parent turned to me when I sat down and said, ” was on fire earlier, sorry you missed it. Bet you are rethinking that whole going back to work thing now.” My response was, “Um, no, I am NOT rethinking the going back to work thing, because one day my children need to know that they were not born into royalty, and we work for the things we want. They do now and will continue to respect me for that. And BTW, when they are off to college and you have nothing to do, because you spend 100% of your days at the school kissing teachers’/administrators’ a$$, I will be able to give work/life experience, will have a life and a different set of friends, and proud that because I didn’t have a choice but to work, that I worked my butt off and climbed the ladder to provide them with the college education they need as well as the life skills that will get them past the frat house. Now, don’t you EVER doubt my skills as a mother again.” There may or may not have been some inappropriate expletives in there. I was one of the few moms in our neighborhood who worked. You deal with the cards you’ve been dealt.

    Finally, a few things my kids knew beginning in 3rd grade:
    1) “Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part”
    2) “The laundry detergent is just above the washer.”
    3) “Aww. That is a pickle. But see I already completed all of those classes you are in now.” (Read: Never wake me up at 11:30 pm to tell me you are out of ink, need me to proof a 14-page paper, or type said paper.)
    4) Wait. The shoes that you said you tried on two days ago are hurting your toes and you have to wear them tonight for a concert? Isn’t it terrible? My toes are crammed into pumps everyday.
    5)No.

    And finally, one they knew then, but really understand now: I love you more than life itself and I want the best for you. Watching you hurt because you are going to get points taken off in 3rd grade made me almost sick. But it also taught you to be intrinsically concerned about your grades, and for that I am proud. (of my academically sound college students).

    Again, I admire stay at home moms. It is the hardest job anyone will ever do, and the one that gets the least amount of recognition or appreciation.

    Ok. Getting off of my soap stand.

    Reply
    • Amy Carney
      Amy Carney says:

      Thanks for reading and for your comments Cindy! Yes, I always tell my kids that if I had a full time corporate job I wouldn’t be aro