Monday, September 19, 2011

Teaching Them to Fish. Or at Least Cook.

I stole this sign from this etsy shop.  In case you'd actually like to purchase it, instead of steal it.  Like I did. 

First of all. Love at Home. I think it's going well. Sophia told me that I don't even yell anymore (not entirely true), and Bria and Chloe are loving the lunchbox notes every day. To be honest, I wasn't sure what Bria would think about them, being in middle school and all, but it seems she looks rather forward to them. And Chloe, of course, LOVES them. As she does nearly everything in the world.

The next step is Self-Reliance.

I mean, I'd like to think that my kids would be able to survive without me, but I'm pretty sure that at this point in their lives it just wouldn't happen. Bria is actually getting there with cooking, because she is very interested in it. She really loves to cook. I don't know if she could do laundry, though. Or the dishes (we don't have a dishwasher, so it's slightly more difficult at our house).

So, as far as this little task goes, I've tried to give them a few more things. Like, since Bria is now in middle school it is high time that she learn to do the dishes. So she does them every Tuesday night as of last week. This was not something she enjoyed hearing (or doing), because she has quite a bit of germaphobia going on, but she did it. And she will continue to do so.

The other girls have some new things to do as well.

I will admit that the hardest thing about this particular challenge is that it is so much easier to just do things myself. So I have to constantly remind myself that teaching my children is more important than perfection, or time, or whatever it is that holds me back from requiring them to do certain things.  I've heard the saying "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime" millions and millions of times.  But the application? 

It's hard.

So, what kinds of things do you do in order to teach your children self-reliance?
Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.


  1. For our middle school child this year....I have not once looked at the homework assignments posted on the internet. I ask if she has homework when she comes home and if she needs help with it. Then I leave it at that - so far it seems to be working - we will see when the grades come out. For the middle girl - I can not think of anything - I think she could run the ship without me (and you know her so you know what I mean). The the baby - getting to your back pack as soon as you get off the bus. Taking things out and packing it for the next day - right away.

  2. My girls are responsible for the dishes, and their own laundry. They have been doing it since 3rd grade. If they need extra help with something, they ask and I help them. They also do the dishes every night (except the weekends) and they do other simple things at home. we have different chores for different nights. They are pretty self sufficient in most things. I have a top cover on their beds, so they can make them easy, and I do help them with the sheets and big items that might need washing. We don't use the dryer in the summer, so they have all learned to hang laundry and take it down. They use a step stool, although my 10 year old likes to use the garden wagon to stand in.

  3. It is hard. My older kids are finally able to do things on their own, but it is only because I suffered through years of taking the hard road and letting them do a worse job in a longer time period than I could have done on my own.

    I think the most important thing in teaching this sort of self-reliance is to not expect or require perfection. As long as they do a decent job, I let it go. And over time I increase my expectation of "decent".

  4. Are Bria and Evie twins or something? Ev just started jr. high, so that's similar. She is terrified of washing dishes because EW (we don't have a dishwasher either).

    I need to be doing much better at this. I have the same issues with just wanting things done well and quickly and it does take tons of time and patience to teach kids to do things. I will remember to work on it, though.

  5. You are such a wonderful mom!
    I love reading your posts because it is very clear that you really think through the things you want to teach your beautiful girls.

    I've found through the years that teaching anything to kids, including self-reliance is just a day by day process, over and over and over. And having a mom who cares enough to want to teach them to take care of themselves.

    You are doing it just right!

  6. I could be SO much better at this. I do try and teach them kitchen things. We want to know that on their missions our kids know how to prepare meals.

  7. I did this this year. I read read "The parenting breakthrough and changed it up to something that works for me.
    This year I bought some binders for each kids and made them cook a meal three time when they got the hang of it they made it by them self. I put the recipe in there binder so they know what they can do. They love telling dad the things that they made.
    Tanner can do and get his hair cut and pay them. He has a account set up with the Credit Union and loves see it grow.
    McKenna is the same I know I have a was to go but check out the book and then fit it to your needs of your children. I love your post and your comments.

  8. For birthday presents on their 13th birthdays, my boys got laundry baskets and a lesson in using the washer and dryer. They are completely responsible for their laundry and for the towels they use. They are also responsible for the dishes, one loads and the other unloads the dishwasher. I was the large things by hand because I don't want them in the dishwasher. They take out the trash as well. They can cook things like mac and cheese, ramen, grilled cheese...simple my middle son is the absolute best at making a pitcher of sweet tea.

  9. Well, we are ALL about accountability around here...
    And of course, I have an intricate algorhythm of chore charts. :)
    It's a tough thing.
    Let's face it, my family would die with out me.

  10. I really need to work on this. Especially when it comes to cleaning their room. But it is so hard. And the whining and crying really take their toll on me. I never realized before how exhausted and worn out I get with the tantrums they through. Sigh. But I love that you have these posts, as it is inspiration for me. Thank you for helping me know what I need to work on.

  11. My kidlets have chores ... and Buddy just made breakfast this morning. (Although I wonder if I'm giving them chores for as noble of a reason as you are?)

  12. Get Bria her own set of rubber gloves. They do make them in small size. I always found washing dishes was easier that way. We didn't have a dishwasher either.

  13. I am doing so horrible at this! My kids have chores, super simple chores, but if I want them to get done, i have to put forth effort to remind and supervise and blah blah blah. My kids are all under age 7, so I guess I'm not in a rush, but I wish I were better at getting them to help.

    (Big sigh) Baby steps?

  14. You're so right--it's hard to keep teaching and plugging along when it's easier (and faster, and better done) when you do it.

    And yet we persist.