Thursday, December 5, 2013

Raising Independent Children

One of my parental goals is to ensure that I raise a self sufficient and independent young woman.    The main source of this aspiration is knowing the mortality of life, and that I may not be present for all of her childhood, so like my own Mother, I want to ensure that I can equip her as best I can, whilst I am here.

Although for me I do not have a terminal illness lingering over my head, so I am much softer in my approach.  I don't actually do a bed inspection whilst she is at school each day to ensure that all hospital corners would pass a Major Generals inspection, and if not, trash the entire operation and demand at 3:05 pm that the efforts are redone to a higher standard!  Nor do I make her ride her bike to the supermarket at the age of 8 to collect the ingredients for dinner, and then come home and make it.  But we do cook together, for four reasons.  It is a bonding experience for the two of us, it also provides some much needed life skills, and it also provides a corner stone to financial independence.  It is cheaper and healthier to cook at home.

I remember when I joined the Air Force at 21 that there were a number of similar aged adults who could not make their bed, iron, sew or even understand that shoes needed to be polished with a foreign substance called nugget.  With my upbringing, I found military training a breeze, and was in bed asleep by 10:00 pm when the balance of the flight was running around until 2:00 am!

Recently we were having a discussion about chores at home, and the youngster was negotiating for different chores.  I was really interested in this, as the underlying theme was that she thought she was ready to progress to a more advanced chore level.  After enquiring what she thought she should do, she quickly responded with her own ironing.  I was not so sure that she was ready for this, but determined to support her own quest for development.  So we practiced on a few square things to our eye in, and then quickly moved to t shirts and shorts etc.  So now she does her own washing, and 90% of her own ironing.  The morning chores for me around getting her ready for school are dwindling, and I have been able to start to fit in a few exercises in the spare time.

I am really proud of her developing, for eight, she is indeed the independent daughter I want to parent.  Speaking of independence, it also comes with selecting your own clothing range, and despite my please for no pink leopard print sleepwear, you can see I obviously failed to negotiate a win in that discussion.


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