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Local voices: Parenting column
Sharing the workload benefits parents and kids
by Sharon Egan, M.S. CPC
June 10, 2013 07:10 PM | 1787 views | 0 0 comments | 112 112 recommendations | email to a friend | print
School is out and summer is here. It’s time for lazy days, sleepovers and fun, right? 

At least that’s what many children have come to expect. 

In the meantime, however, a parent’s summer to-do list has been amped up — not only are parents still doing the laundry, cooking the dinner, cleaning the house, running the errands and going to work; they are now donning their social director hat ensuring that their children (and more than likely, their kid’s friends, too) are not bored. 

They are doing everything plus some. Isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?

Parents today are running on empty more than ever before.

Their daily balancing act has become like that of a teeter totter.

Parents choose to take on an abundance of roles and responsibilities all in the name of love (and yes, guilt, too) while the kids frolic in the yard or vegetate in front a screen. 

Stress is on the rise, and curiously, it is on the rise for both adults and children. 

Children are crucial to the effectiveness of a family.

Unless kids are included in all aspects of family life including family contributions, like chores, they not only are confused about their role in the family but even worse, they become entitled children. 

How many times have you heard a parent say, or have said yourself, “it is just so much easier to do things myself without having to deal with nasty attitudes and power struggles. Plus, I can get it done fast and right the first time. They should appreciate all that I do for them.”

Yes, this is very understandable, although when parents do everything for their children, much of what children are capable of doing by themselves, what messages are parents sending?  What are children hearing loud and clear?

Children may cringe at the thought of helping with the laundry, vacuuming or pulling weeds, and parents may cringe at the thought of how all will turn out, but consider the messages that are being sent when these adorable but entitled offspring are entrusted with responsibilities.

What might children be hearing now?

Children need to be needed. They also need to feel they are a valued and appreciated member of the family. 

The pride a child feels when a parent is willing to put quality aside and acknowledge with delight the freshly mowed yard or the folded laundry is a gift that keeps on giving. 

The skills and knowledge that children gain from contributing to the family translate into the gift of self-confidence. 

Anything a parent does for a child that a child can do for himself and others is robbing a child the opportunity to grow in responsibility, to feel and become capable, and to feel valued and appreciated from those he loves so much. 

So parents: lighten your load and share the wealth of responsibilities with your children (and not just during the summer months). 

If handled with loving yet firm limits, your children will thank you in years to come and your family will grow in strength, love and laughter.

What roles do your children play in your family? Are your children an integral part of your family or are they simply a guest in your home?

Sharon Egan is a ACPI Certified Parenting Coach and a Roswell resident. Visit her online at www.whatnowparentcoach.com.
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