Sometimes it's hard to be a parent (well, actually, it is pretty hard in myriad ways all the time, but I digress). Aside from discipline, love, play, school, etc., it's hard just knowing when to let go enough to let your kid grow. For example, last night Rachel was sick, I was trying to study for a math exam (ick!) I have this week, and supper needed to be fixed and the kitchen was a total wreck. So, since Jamie has helped on several occassions with the dishes, I decided he was old enough to rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher by himself.
Now, as much as I love my son, he has this really annoying habit of doing something wrong on purpose, asking a million questions about if he did it right, in the hopes that I'll get exasperated and tell him to just move and let me do it. Well, last night it finally dawned on me that letting him get away with that wasn't only making more work for me, but it was also doing him a disservice, as he would grow up expecting somebody else to step in and take over any time he messes up (on purpose or otherwise). So, I squashed my impulse to just step in and do it, and made him finish the job. But it was HARD. He dawdled, hemmed and hawed, water went running all the way down to the other end of the counter, but still, I insisted that he do it.
Then he asked in a whiny voice, "Why do I have to do this?" My reply was that he has to do what I ask him to do because he's old enough to start helping around the house more. I also said that since Rachel and I are both working and going to school, if we're going to have a house that doesn't look like a pigsty, EVERYONE has to pitch in and help. Then he tried to make a smart-butt comment about Destiny not doing the dishes. I replied, no, but she is expected to pick up her toys when she's done playing with them, and put movies back on the shelf after watching them. That helps keep the house clean. All he said was, "Oh." Then he finished loading the dishes in the dishwasher, and I told him how to run it.
I wish I had the luxury of not expecting so much out of him. I wish I didn't always have to put a load of responsibility on his shoulders. However, that's not realistic. Our household right now requires that everyone pitches in. I know, in the long run, this is good for his character, rather than letting him loll around the house all day with no responsibilities. I know several children at his school whose parents don't make them do any chores or have any responsibility, and they are total brats! But still, sometimes I wonder if I'm not taking away from his opportunity to "let the kid be a kid" when I have to expect so much from him. Due to family circumstances, my brother and I didn't really get to be children, we had to be tiny adults. I always swore it would be different for my child(ren).
So, now I'll open the floor to your thoughts and experiences on the subject. Comments anyone?