ten point blog  

1.  Check your kid’s hands. Do they have opposable thumbs? Yes? Well don’t make their lunches. They can spread their own peanut butter on their own 2 slices of bread, or go hungry. I mean, how hard is it to put an apple in a lunch box? You buy good healthy food, they make their lunch. They’ll either eat or die. Opposable thumbs also come in handy for other such tasks.

 2.  Don’t make your bed. Hear me out. If you make your bed, then you will expect them to make theirs. They wont. You will then fight over something that will never actually impact the world just to build resentment before you even get to the stuff that actually matters. This will buy you some wiggle room so you can really give it to them over the big stuff, like when they’re sneaking off with your gin under their coat.

 3.  Fart in front of your kids. If your kids feel grossed out by you, then they feel comfortable enough to gross you out too- by asking tricky sex questions, not having to be perfect, and by just being their growing-up-awkward-and-messy selves.  By keeping it real you are allowing them to be forgiving of their own selves, while having a giggle. ‘Cause I don’t care how old you are- farts are funny, so they better get used to laughing at themselves. Might not want take this one to the streets though, keep it as your own special bond.

 4.  Get them their damn dog/cat/guinea pig/mountain goat they keep begging for. This is a no-brainer. Yes you will get stuck with cleaning up even more poo and having to hunt the thing down when it hides under a bed, but bit-by-bit they’ll get it. A living breathing creature needs food, water, play and cuddles –which are all good and worthy things in life. The sooner they learn to give these to another, the better for us all.

 5.  Pocket money is not a one way transaction. They don’t just get it just because you love them. Show them that in other ways. (see #1 though #10) Write a chore list with $$ amounts. They have to get their chubby little hands dirty. Whatever you think they’re capable of, throw even more at them. They can do way more than you give them credit for- they’re playing you, don’t buy it. Time to drop your standards, like, super low. This is not about a vacuumed floor, or even a remotely clean floor. It’s about believing they are capable of contributing and valuing their efforts. (which is more important than a clean floor any day, except for the day your finicky old aunt visits)

 6.  Shrug your shoulders. Get them to make choices, all the time! From the minute they can- anything from what socks to wear, what cup to drink from, to where to go on the next family vacation. Don’t jump in to rescue them when they can’t decide, just shrug your shoulders in the most supportive shrugging way. A kid who can make decisions that don’t actually kill anyone, turns into an adult who can make bigger, more life altering decisions with confidence. Practice practice practice.

 7.  Don’t be a wuss. You are the parent, you get to say no if you want. No to R rated movies, getting  your 6yr old an iphone, or letting your teen grunt at people. You are the adult, you get to make the rules. Children who follow rules know their place. And that place is in the care of people who are looking out for them, who care more than anybody else about them. They will resist, but will be secretly glad someone else is steering this crazy ride. And as a bonus, you are teaching your kids just how powerful the word no is and that it’s ok to use it. See- win/win!

 8Eyeball your kids- like right up in their face. That will require putting down your iphone, kindle, turning off the TV, and bookmarking your page. When they talk- listen with your eyes. Don’t just say a half-assed aha, ok, yup. Ask a question back, it shows you care, and give a damn about what they have to say. Love them more than some cat jumping off a lamp on youtube. Because if you care, then maybe they will believe others will care too, and finally trust the world around them enough to eventually move out of home becoming healthy and productive citizens of society. See how it goes- you listen, they move out believing in the good of humanity. It starts with you.

 9.  Let them fight like dogs (or puppies at least) with their siblings. It will drive you to drink but it must be done. (If they don’t have siblings, then sorry, you’re next in the firing line) Don’t get all up their business. Stop refereeing every single minute, and try just doing it every second minute instead. They will get nasty, feelings will be hurt and there could be blood- but learning how to argue may just lead them toward gaining negotiation skills, compromise and empathy, on a good day. Either that, or tie them up in separate rooms till the day they graduate, and every family dinner from then on.

 10Paaaaartay like a rock star  Well perhaps not quite like a 20-something (minus the bong, perm and hangover) Show your kids you are human, and that you have a life of your own outside of their algebra homework (that you may not have really understood the first time round anyway) Basically, get a life (outside of your parent role)- then live it! Show them how to walk confidently out that door and into the world to book club, yoga, or Las Vegas.

Disclaimer : This may or may not work. Our kids are really decent people -  we like to think it had something to do with us, but who knows.  Take or leave these tips, each to their own. I understand making beds could be a deal breaker for some.

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  1. Linda says:

    I always make my bed…but then I don’t have kids. Gotcha mom !!

  2. Amanda says:

    Well, I do most of these, so it’s nice to know I’m doing something right :) We’re a big farting family haha, nothing puts a smile on my face faster then someone running up to me “prffttt I farted on your face! *GIGGLE GIGGLE*” lolI’d like to add a couple suggestions to your list though:Make them find their own stuff – Not only will it teach them to put their stuff away where they’ll remember (instead of just throwing it on the floor) but it will also teach them to actually use their eyes to look for stuff (as opposed to standing in the middle of the room looking at the floor declaring “I CAN’T find it!!”)Don’t jump to the rescue when your child says “I’m bored” – Sometimes it feels like my 6 year old says this at least once a day. And not because there are not multiple things to do but because he doesn’t *want* to do any of them. Instead of jumping in with all kinds of solutions and making it seem like being bored is the worst thing ever – shrug your shoulders and tell them to find something to do. Usually, if you ignore the whining long enough, they WILL go find something to do. This helps them to grow into adults who are not constantly bored and have the ability to entertain themselves. 

  3. Karly says:

    Love it! 

  4. Holli says:

    It’s so true that a 6-yr-old will tell you he/she is bored every 20 seconds.  Our solution?  “Well, if you’re that bored and you need me to find you something to do, I choose for you to clean the toilet.  Have fun.”  Works like a charm! 

  5. Kat says:

    SO many kinds of love for this article. Yes. Yes. Yes. Brilliant! :)

  6. Great article Meg! I love the part where you are encouraging parents to let their children become more independent. And, as you say, they are quite capable of doing more than you think! Having them make choices is brilliant. “Which socks would you like to put on, before you put your shoes on? These ones, these ones or these ones?” They will respond and pick a pair, every time. It’s like a Universal Law, “Empower Me and I will respond well.” The one think I would love to add to your content is that if you would love to have the beds made, then go ahead and make them. Then the answer to your children when they are hungry is “I would love for you to have breakfast. What did your bed need to look like first?” This way, the beds get made and the children are happy to make them because they are accomplishing a goal, not just making their bed because you said so. :) Thank you for sharing, Bonnie Liotta

  7. Kiki Dunigan says:

    Love this list!  My kids are in college now, and just starting to figure out that I wasn’t such a mean mom, just a caring mom who raised them to be responsible.  And like your children, mine are doing quite well on their own.  I am so proud of them!

  8. Laura says:

    This is a great list that should be handed to each new mother before she leaves the hospital!I would add one:  Let your kids know that you will only give a limited number of rescues.  For example, for school you get one rescue a week, so if you forget your math book on Monday, then you are going hungry if you forget your lunch on Thursday.  It teaches them to think things through and plan instead of expecting Mom to leave work and race to  school with their homework on Monday, their costume for the school play on Tuesday, their lunch on Wednesday, their permission slip on Thursday and their gym shorts on Friday. 

  9. Summer says:

    Seriously best parenting tips I’ve ever read. 

  10. Cate says:

    So so good – thanks for the reminder!

  11. Beth says:

    Well said!

  12. Petra says:

    Great set of tips and the additions from Holli, Bonnie and Laura are excellent – especially Laura’s about rescuing!!  The last one is so important!!  Thanks Meg.I would add another – give them a say in big decisions for the family and respect their input.  It makes them recognise that they have a responsibility in the family too – e.g. when my husband lost his job and we needed to be more mindful of the budget, we included our daughter in the decisions as to what would be cut back on. 

  13. Debby says:

    I learned in college if there is a misspelling in an article than the article should not be understood as a truthful article. I found two errors and I am not an English teacher.

  14. Meg says:

    Thanks for the comments- I love all the extra tips. Originally I was considering making it a list of 20 points, but thought it might get a bit tedious to read. :)

    Debby, we ALL make spelling errors …..you may want to re-read your own comment :) I’m sorry you missed my message and wish you well.

     

  15. […] 1. Check your kid’s hands. Do they have opposable thumbs? Yes? Well don’t make their lunches. They can spread their own peanut butter on their (It’s time to drop your standards, like, super low.  […]

  16. @theteapixie says:

    i love this article!  I would add*holidays MUST include everyone’s ideas.  We survey activity desires of everyone the night before each day, and then work out what can be reasonably done.  Everyone gets input but we are the final decision-makers and everyone does everything together. *at least one meal a day is eaten together.  Preferrably dinner.  everyone has important acivities in their life and everyone needs to know so as to support, encourage, guide, connect.  Make the effort – it’s cheaper than therapy. *kids are not regularly forced to socialize with children of adult friends, but such socialization has to occur once in a while.  Ultimate, successful independence is not a reflection of abandonment or singledom, it’s about learning how to behave in the face of many influences and our job is to guide them through it.  Having kids face uncomfortable environments (not unsafe – be clear) is about developing skills for dealing with such.  An ugly, true part of life. In creating independent kids, we must teach them how to be contributing partners.  Learning how to be  confident and self-directed with the ability to negotiate and find common ground is so crucially important.  Intrinsic in this is the teaching of respect, love, and caring.

  17. rashmi says:

    Luv it!!! Needed this push…I always feel like a cruel mean mom. It seems I’m on the right track. Is it ok for me to read this article to my 11yr old and 6 yr old???? I think it might enlighten them also. 

  18. Rachel says:

    Debby, Your comment also has a misused word. Should that mean that it “should not be understood” either? The content of the article is definitely understood……sometimes English and writing professors will try to pitch the point that the writing may not be credible – if it has various typos. However, it is the soul seeds site, and is a subjective article nonetheless. It’s not a newspaper, like The New York Times……

  19. […] Check out this great blog post that keeps it real for us: http://www.soulseeds.com/grassroots/2013/11/ten-ways-to-make-sure-your-kids-dont-grow-up-all-moany-a… […]

  20. Ara says:

    I’m so glad I caught this post before it got buried in my inbox!Powerful stuff. Instead of saying, you should do this because it’s honest and present or telling them to be honest or present, you SHOW them. So true, doing the right thing, setting the example, taking the action, over giving evaluative talk is effective and real…some of this should be extended to how to treat many others in your life.Again, good stuff.

  21. This is brilliant – thanks! About the bed making: while I don’t disagree with you at all, there’s something about making my eight-year-old’s bed myself that I find strangely rewarding. Maybe because it’s one finite little task that offers instant gratification and beauty in a day full of messy moments and processes…

  22. Fionapip says:

    Love this article.  I largely followed this addage & my kids who are out in the big wide world now, having studied & travelled overseas (self funded). There is just one other thing I would like to add,  don’t ever tell your little ones something at the Doctors isn’t going to hurt when it will. Tell them it won’t hurt as bad as skinning their knee or falling off their bike. They then expect pain but understand it won’t last forever.

  23. Helen McKinney says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned that parents need to get a life!  When parents are so wrapped up in their kids’ lives and have no interests of their own, it paints a very dull portrait of adult life in their children’s eyes!  Why would anyone want to be an adult if all adults do is work and function as maids, cooks and taxi drivers for their kids? That is how I viewed the parents I saw around me when I was a child.  Sure, I wanted to be old enough to make my own decisions, but I never wanted to be an adult!  From what I could tell, adulthood was the most boring, hellish drudgery imaginable!  I spent years trying to avoid such a miserable fate!  I still don’t really see myself as a “grownup” even though I have a job and family.  If we want our kids to become mature adults, we need to show them that maturity is a good and desireable goal, not a prison sentence we must fulfill when childhood ends.

  24. Camille says:

    Hey Debbie, ^ there are just some things you can’t learn in college. You’ll see. Great artical!!

  25. Angela says:

    I never make the bed. I don’t have kids. Who cares? When I am on my (unmade) deathbed I doubt I’ll be regretting the housework I didn’t do.

  26. nita says:

    BRILLIANT i believed my role as a parent was (and should be for all other parents) to make my boys into the best adults they could be . I believe i have accomplished this ! One of my boys has a job that i have been told by others is harder than getting into our parliament. the other is still training and will accomplish as much if not more than his elder sibling. Yes I make spelling and grammatical errors…. but this did NOT affect my ability to parent WELL  

  27. Her says:

    I always make my bed- every day. It’s sooo lovely to come back to at night! But once my 4 boys were old enough to make their own, they are also old enough to get that they have choices, do it or don’t. I’ll make my choice, they make theirs if they choose to. Everyone’s cool with that. Sometimes if I want I quickly shake their quilts and their bed looks great and they always, always say thank you when do and it makes me smile. Xxx

  28. Helen says:

    Thank you for this, it is going to be a good companion by my side as I work out how to push my boys into a little more independence. They are 8 and 5 years old but the elder has high-functioning autism which has meant a huge amount of micro-managing situations and of leading him by the hand through basic tasks  - because he has basically NO ability to imitate others, or read their reactions for that matter, and also because his extremes of frustration and therefore temper tantrum/meltdown have been so great.  He is making wonderful wonderful progress but now that I have put so much work into getting him secure and responsive to me I have the ‘other challenge’ of enabling him to take responsibility himself and to take a few risks without a precise plan and clear expectation of how something will turn out. Of course with the 5 year old becoming ready for more and more independence this is my opportunity to tackle them both at once – which we often have to do with anything related to social skills, treat them at the same developmental level regardless of age – and this article is going to be a help for me to think through what my ‘developmentally appropriate’ expectations are!

  29. Mandy says:

    This list is extremely inappropriate. If you are a parent, you should not be partying. That is absolutely disgusting. Your job is to show your children how to be responsible in the world. Alcohol is abused far too much in this society. Also showing them love by making their lunch is not a bad thing. My mother made my lunches everyday when I was a child. I didn’t grow up all whiny and dependant. Obviously the moron who wrote this article regrets having children and wishes they could have their old life back. That or they are so self absorbed that they feel that neglecting their duties as a parent is the correct way to parent. Shame on all you people who agree with this list

  30. Cindy says:

    Hey Debby. Bugger off and go be a pain somewhere else.

  31. Kim says:

    Tsk Tsk- Mandy you may not be dependent but you sure are whiny.  You missed the point of the article.  You don’t have to be supermom expecting perfection from your house and your kids and yourself.  You can also overlook the little battles in life with your kids and they still will grow up to be responsible human beings.  She’s also stating that you can should go out or on vacation every once in a while without the kids.  She isn’t telling everyone to go out and get trashed every night…  Your comments (especially the name calling- moron) reflect on you as an individual.  I’d much rather hang with Meg and let my hair down while my kids get creative and get messy than chase them around the house mopping up every crumb after them and getting upset when they get a spot on their shirt with you.  I respect your right to your own opinion until you start bad mouthing other people’s right to their own opinions.  

  32. Beanerbabe says:

    Every one of those my Mom did..though a clean room was a must.  the only time I was ever grounded was the time it took me to clean my room lol. I had 5 older siblings, my sister next to me and I fought like cat and dogs ALL the time. My mom never got involved. We had to figure it out. The one time she did get involved was when she was sick and tired of us bickering over some TV show and slapped us both in the face and yelled ” Will you two bitches shut up” . My sister was 20 and I was 15. The only time my mom ever slapped me in the face or call me a bitch. AND we deserved it. I laugh with my Mom over it now. I’m 43 now we grown kids of my own. Really don’t sweat the small stuff.  My kids know they can say ANYTHING to me and I don’t flinch or get mad. I listen and give my honest response. The same way my Mom gave me hers. 

  33. Maureen says:

    I wish I had received this advice when my kids were young.  I had very strict, overbearing parents, who had not received good parenting themselves.  Our cousins once described me and my siblings as little toy soldiers as we had to do exactly as we were told and not to question any commands.  It made me a very bad parent, who expected her kids to do the same (unbelievably!).  Thankfully, I learned to change my attitude when they became teenagers – belatedly unfortunately, but they still love me!  they have children of their own now, but my eldest still won’t let me look after her son.

  34. Michelle says:

    Loved this!  One of the best parenting columns I’ve read to date, all presented with a great sense of humor.  I laughed out loud.   Great nuggets here, thanks!  And for the record, I do not require my kids to make their beds.  There, I admitted it.  

  35. Cera says:

    These are all so great! I’m always telling my kids, “The good Lord blessed you with 2 arms and 2 legs that work, show me how it’s done kiddo!”  Thanks for the great real life tips!!!

  36. Oh My Goodness! You had me with #1! This is gold, and I’m so glad you have the courage to continue writing wonderful, truthful posts that real people can implement.Good Show! 

  37. LIsa H says:

    Loved this!  Thanks for sharing.  

  38. Julie says:

    This might be ridiculous but, I don’t make my bed myself…I pay my youngest to make it for me.  I see it as a win/win!   I figure she’s going to get my money anyway so I might as well get something out of it too!

  39. I guess most of these tips would apply universally albeit modified to suit cultures. Thanks a lot for sharing this valuable treats.