Learning to Think

boy thinkingMy son may be getting older, but for a long time he’s had one issue that’s prevented him from growing up. That issue is me. I’ve been holding him back and I didn’t realize it until yesterday.

There are many things that my son should be doing by now without me having to say a word, but he doesn’t. Instead, he waits to be prompted. So, when he’s not with me he forgets to do these simple every day tasks entirely. For years, week after week, I’ve been discouraged wondering how I will ever convince him that these tasks are important. I have tried to teach him this in many ways, yet nothing seems to make a difference.

Yesterday, as I was once again lecturing him for not handling his responsibilities, it hit me that the problem was not him. It was me. For the past 14 years I have told my son what to do, when to do it and where to do it. He’s never really had to think for himself. There was no need to, as I was always there to do it for him. For years, I thought he was being lazy or just didn’t care about his responsibilities. In fact, it was me who never taught him to be any other way. I can’t expect him to do something on his own if I’ve never taught him how. (light bulb moment)

If I ever want him to grow up, then I have to stop thinking for him. He must learn to think for himself. It’s ridiculous that it’s taken this long for me to figure this out, but better late than never. We started this new adventure today and I can already tell that it’s going to require a lot of discipline from both of us. I have to train myself to step back and be quiet. That can be hard for a parent to do. It’s much easier to baby our kids, but unfortunately they’ll never grow up that way.

Lesson: The great part of realizing your mistakes is that you can correct them.

 

 

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13 Responses to Learning to Think

  1. Aussa Lorens says:

    Gotta love a good “lightbulb” moment. You sound like you care very much for your son.

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  2. grannyK says:

    The important thing is that you did have that light bulb moment and you are willing to change and help you son change. I did the same with my kids, and we all paid the price for that when they became older. I’m betting everything turns out just fine. šŸ™‚

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  3. oh ya… me too!!! This is something I’ve realized with all my kids. And with my littles, I’m too often doing instead of finding the time to coach them through the doing (which takes about 50x as long, but is REALLY important).

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    • mewhoami says:

      You are right about that. It is so much easier to just do something ourselves than teach someone else to do it. But, we have to spend the time if we want them to learn.

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  4. suzjones says:

    Motherhood is all about learning and making mistakes. Wish kids came with a handbook when they were born lol
    It could read “Hi mum, my name is… and this is my personality and just how you can cope with it….” šŸ˜‰

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  5. Interesting. When I think back on my childhood of several decades ago (yes, light bulbs had been invented!) and look at today’s kids I see a lot of what you have written. Perhaps there are more ‘traps’ today for kids to fall into but parents do seem to be over-protective.

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    • mewhoami says:

      You are right. Kids are protected from the very things that make them kids, all the things we loved when we were younger. I would like to say that this new parenting style is not justifiable, but in large part it is. The world constantly shows us how much worse it is becoming and all too often we see the terrible outcomes of those who were not protected enough. I believe there has to be a balance of both protection and freedom.

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  6. April says:

    I loved those light bulb moments as well. Unfortunately, some of mine came after they moved out of the house. I had 3 kids I had to parent differently, because they each had their own personalities. I have a daughter who knows how to save a penny, and is extremely independent. I have a younger son who is finding his independence, but still leans on us a bit. The oldest son–well, right now he is breaking my heart. I rarely hear from him, he has never learned “lessons” or consequences of bad choices. He keeps making them. He also never grasped where money comes from either. I can’t wait until he graduates from college and — well, I don’t know what he is going to do.

    Maybe I did too much thinking for my oldest son, and I didn’t know it. They had their responsibilities and knew the consequences for not accomplishing them. I had to make the punishment match the crime exactly, or it never made sense to them. You know, if you don’t clean your room, you can’t see friends for a week. Instead, it was, you don’t go anywhere or do anything until the work is completed first. I don’t know…as a mom, I am sure a made a TON of mistakes, but my kids seem to be making great adults.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I’ve always found it interesting how children who grow up in the same home, same environment and with the same parents, can become so different from each other. But, I’ve seen it happen in my family too. My siblings and I are all very different.

      I believe that parents, most of them, do their very best at raising their children. It’s hard to know just what to do when everyone requires something different. It’s a learning process with each child and a process that continues on well into adulthood. I can tell by how you speak of your children that you love them dearly and want nothing more than for them to be successful. I think many times, parenting boils down to the love we have and show for our children. That is something that can’t be replaced by any amount of teaching.

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