Are You Teaching Your Kids To Be Incompetent?

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I’m sure most parents don’t set out to overindulge their kids. I know I don’t, but sometimes it happens when I’m not paying attention. Overindulgence comes from a good place — it is born out of our deep love for our kids. We want to meet their needs and to make them happy and comfortable. We want to nurture them, and rightfully so — nurturing is foundational to parenting.

But did you know that we can overindulge our kids by OVER nurturing them? When we do things for our children that they can and should learn to do for themselves, we are over nurturing them. Every loving parent crosses this line occasionally, and when it happens once in a while, it simply sends the message to our kiddos that we love them and want to celebrate them in various little ways.

But when the occasional overindulgence becomes the norm, it can spell huge problems for our kids later in life.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz wrote, “The proverb warns that you should not bite the hand that feeds you. But maybe you should, if it prevents you from feeding yourself.”

When we do things for our kids that they should learn to do for themselves, we train them to be helpless and teach them be incompetent.

So what should our kids learn to do for themselves? Everything!

I remember once, as a younger mom, seeing a woman who had had her baby later in life and marveling at how she doted upon this little girl. The child was nearing a year old, and she had her strapped into a bouncy chair while she spoon fed her baby food.

From infancy, our goal should be gradual independence. So we help our little ones practice sitting up, and then we encourage them to stand, while we hold there hands. As soon as we see them grasping things with their thumb and forefinger instead of raking with four fingers, we begin offer small pieces of food for them to feed themselves.

Soon we teach them how to undress and dress themselves and how to clean up their toys. Two and three year olds can do simple little chores like folding wash cloths or putting their folded shirts into their shirt drawer.

As kids get older, they learn to make their beds, do dishes, take out the garbage. Our goal with housework should be to eventually teach our kids how to do everything we do as well or better than we do it.

When we are prescribing over-the-counter meds to our 10 year old, we can explain what we are giving them, why we chose that medication and how we determined the dosage.

Our kids can learn how to find experts who can answer their questions, make phone calls and leave detailed messages. They can learn how to make reservations, book airline tickets, cook for themselves, get directions, do their laundry.

Of course, we have to be mindful of their developmental level, but when we assume strength and competence in our kids, we gradually teach them to become capable, independent people. On the flip side, when we do things for them that they can learn to do for themselves, we are assuming that they are weak and incapable, and over time, we will train them to become helpless and incompetent. And who really wants that outcome?

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 2 to 16), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write freelance articles and columns and speak on topics that affect parents and families.

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Weekly Leader — May 1, 2015

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If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

Weekly Leader for the first week in May.

Mastermind Monday

Talk briefly about the difference between a chain and a franchise. Not sure yourself? Just ask Mr. Google!

TED Talk Tuesday

Underwater Astonishments

*Note — You may not always agree with the perspective of a TED Talk, but rather than shy away from it, use it as an opportunity to explain why you don’t agree.

What’s Up Wednesday

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Think Tank Thursday

Friends are like vitamins — each one provides something different but essential. Have each family member talk about how their closest friends bring something unique to their life.

Famous Friday

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Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are two moms with nine kids between them (ages 2 to 26). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write parenting articles and columns, coach individual families, teach workshops and seminars and speak at conventions and conferences. They are passionate about empowering and equipping parenting on purpose with an emphasis on strong family relationships (loving), raising teachable kids (training), and pointing kids toward their passion and purpose (releasing).

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Weekly Leader — April 24, 2015

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If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

 

Weekly Leader for the second week in April.

Mastermind Monday

Have everyone in the family brainstorm ideas for a business for each member of the family. Or if someone already has a business, brainstorm new ideas for the business.

TED Talk Tuesday

The History of Our World in 18 Minutes by David Christian

*Note — You may not always agree with the perspective of a TED Talk, but rather than shy away from it, use it as an opportunity to explain why you don’t agree.

What’s Up Wednesday

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Think Tank Thursday

How can you steer away from conversations that are inappropriate or somehow violate your conscience?

Famous Friday

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Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are two moms with nine kids between them (ages 2 to 26). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write parenting articles and columns, coach individual families, teach workshops and seminars and speak at conventions and conferences. They are passionate about empowering and equipping parenting on purpose with an emphasis on strong family relationships (loving), raising teachable kids (training), and pointing kids toward their passion and purpose (releasing).

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You Can Do It — Surprising Benefits of Reading Aloud

ReadingAloud

It’s “You Can Do It Wednesday,” and today we are focusing on early elementary aged kids, but this tip is actually great for the whole family.

An important part of child development, especially in the elementary years, involves learning new concepts. Through discussion of the story, young listeners begin to understand plot concepts. The inflection in the reader’s voice and emphasis on certain words and phrases helps clarify meaning in ways they could miss just reading on their own.

A friend of ours who teaches middle school English noticed that a large percentage of her students were not yet able to have a vicarious reading experience. In other words, they were not able to see that “movie in their mind” that most of us get when we read. This can make reading a difficult and boring task.

But we have found that daily out loud reading from a young age can help kids develop that skill earlier.

Got a wiggly kid who struggles to sit through a chapter book as you read? Grab some blank paper and colorful markers, and let them draw while they listen. When their right brain is occupied with drawing, their left brain is free to listen.

Don’t worry if they are not following along at first. Just stop often and talk about what is happening. It takes time to be able to listen and comprehend. So be willing to catch them up and offer frequent little plot developments. In time, they will be on the edge of their seat, waiting to hear what will happen next.

Out loud reading is not just helpful for your young elementary student, it’s good for you too! Research has shown that reading aloud is chock full of benefits for the young and old. Want to birth new brain cells? There are a variety of ways to do that, such as learning a new language and learning to play an instrument. Reading aloud is another way to stimulate brain cell production.

There are many other things that out loud reading does to benefit our brains. Here are a few of the big ones:

  • Helps gain greater comprehension
  • Sharpens focus
  • Increases vocabulary
  • Challenges use of intonation
  • Improves listening and reading skills

Got any kids who struggle with dyslexia? Out loud reading can help! Here’s an article that explains why.

So, grab a cup of tea, gather your kiddos of all ages (and especially those early elementary kids) and enjoy some family reading time. In the process, you are birthing brain cells and your bambinos are reaping some great benefits of their own.

read aloud book

A great book to check out on this topic is the Read-Aloud Handbook, by Jim Trelease, also known to some as the “Read Aloud Bible.” It’s full of great tips and information. Happy Reading!

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are two moms with nine kids between them (ages 2 to 26). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write parenting articles and columns, coach individual families, teach workshops and seminars and speak at conventions and conferences. They are passionate about empowering and equipping parenting on purpose with an emphasis on strong family relationships (loving), raising teachable kids (training), and pointing kids toward their passion and purpose (releasing).

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Clean Car = Happy Mom

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“My car is not a garbage can!”

Yep, that’s what I used to yell when I felt frustrated over my car being such a mess. Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if I could figure out a solution considering I had small kids, but I knew I had to try something. So after exhausting a few fruitless ideas, I decided to treat my car like I did my home.

In my home, I don’t allow the kids to throw their trash on the floor or make messes without cleaning them up or eat in certain parts of the house without some precautionary steps in place, and I decided to try the same in my car.

Here’s how my family mastered a clean car.

Jody Hagaman

Jody Hagaman and her husband Tony have three kids, ages 26 to 15. Jody’s story of how her son asked to be homeschooled has inspired tens of thousands of families around the nation. A true homeschooling success story, that son is now an attorney in New Hampshire and is the New England Regional Director of The Concord Coalition, a bipartisan organization dedicated to advocating responsible fiscal policy. As a community leader, Jody has served on the board of directors of many local non-profit organizations. Her work experience as a corrections officer on a crisis intervention team inspired her to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.

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Weekly Leader — April 17, 2015

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If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

 

Weekly Leader for the second week in April.

Mastermind Monday

Last week we talked about inventions that were created out of mistakes. This week, take a look at successful people who failed at first. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but we would LOVE to hear yours. So if you know of others, leave us comments below.

  • Walt Disney
  • Charles Schultz
  • Barbara Corcoran
  • James Dyson
  • Bill Gates
  • Jim Carey

TED Talk Tuesday

Hackschooling by Logan LaPlante

What’s Up Wednesday

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and its biggest economy. In fact, Nigeria has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the past 15 years. Research its recent elections held at the end of March and talk about the impact of the elections.

Think Tank Thursday

What are your standards for movies? Are you bothered by violence, and if so, what do you consider violence? Are you sensitive to bad language, and what constitutes bad language in your opinion? Do you want a movie to have a happy ending or do you find most happy endings to be unrealistic or uncreative?

Famous Friday

Juliette Gordon Low

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are two moms with nine kids between them (ages 2 to 26). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write parenting articles and columns, coach individual families, teach workshops and seminars and speak at conventions and conferences. They are passionate about empowering and equipping parenting on purpose with an emphasis on strong family relationships (loving), raising teachable kids (training), and pointing kids toward their passion and purpose (releasing).

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You Can Do It — Preparing Kids to Write

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It’s “You Can Do It Wednesday,” and today we’re offering a couple of hot tips for getting your pre-schooler ready to write.

Part of preparing little hands to write is strengthening them for the task, and cutting is a good way to do that. You can draw lines on white paper with a black Sharpie and let pre-schoolers cut along the lines.

Small pop beads are another good way to strengthen little fingers.

Small Pop Beads

Small Pop Beads

To help pre-schoolers with coordination and motor planning, have them string wooden beads. It’s helpful when they’re first starting to wrap a piece of masking tape around the tip of the string. It gives little fingers extra help to get the string through the bead.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 2 to 16), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write freelance articles and columns and speak on topics that affect parents and families.

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Explain – Show – Practice

ESP_PARENTING

Sitting at the supper table as a middle schooler, I wanted the butter which was on the other side of the table. I started to reach for it when a booming voice said, “Sit down. Keep your buns on your chair.”

Okay, but what then? I was seriously frozen; I was clueless how to get the butter without lifting myself off my chair.

As the parent of small children, I would often tell my children not to do this or that. At times I could see a confused look on their face that brought back this memory from my childhood. I realized I was not helping them by just telling them what not to do; I needed to help them by telling them what to do.

That realization only complicated matters for me, because at times I didn’t know what I wanted my child to do or what was the “right” thing to do, I just knew I didn’t want them to do what they were doing.

While taking the time to think through situations we didn’t like and actually pondering what would be a better way for our child to act, my husband and I began to see a pattern developing.

First, we noticed the need to identify the character trait lacking in any situation. Again, this required not just labeling but understanding what we meant and expected when we declared a character trait.

Kim Doebler

Kim lives in the North Woods of WI with her husband of twenty-nine years, Todd. They are blessed with four children ages fifteen to twenty. They made their move to the country from big city living nine years ago. Kim keeps active teaching beginning public speaking, homeschooling, and speaking on Training Children in Character. She also loves entertaining, reading and going for walks.

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Weekly Leader — April 10, 2015

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If this is your first time seeing the Weekly Leader, scroll down and read all about it below the line. Then pop back up to the top for next week’s suggestions.

 

Weekly Leader for the second week in April.

Mastermind Monday

Talk about inventions that were created out of mistakes. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, but we would LOVE to hear yours. So if you know of others, leave us comments below.

  • Slinky
  • Penicillin
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Potato Chips
  • Post It Notes

TED Talk Tuesday

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy

What’s Up Wednesday

Who are some potential presidential candidates for the 2016 election? And if the election were tomorrow, who would you pick and why?

Think Tank Thursday

What are the traits you want in a future spouse?

Famous Friday

Golda Meir

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are two moms with nine kids between them (ages 2 to 26). Together they host a weekly parenting radio show, write parenting articles and columns, coach individual families, teach workshops and seminars and speak at conventions and conferences. They are passionate about empowering and equipping parenting on purpose with an emphasis on strong family relationships (loving), raising teachable kids (training), and pointing kids toward their passion and purpose (releasing).

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You Can Do It — Toddler Rice Bin

ricebin

It’s “You Can Do It Wednesday,” and today we are focusing on toddlers.

When my oldest child was 19 months, we began a long road of therapy. At that time, his therapists called it “Sensory Integration Disorder,” but by the time he was two, the neurologist called it Autism.

We had a wide range of weekly therapy appointments — from speech therapy and play therapy to occupational therapy and behavior modification. Along the way, I picked up some cool tips that helped not only my oldest, but were awesome for my other kids too.

One of those was the rice bin!

We filled a big Rubbermaid tote with rice and then hid little toys in it. When it was playtime, I would spread a big sheet on the floor to catch the spill over and give him measuring cups and spoons and a ladle, and he would scoop and pour the rice and find the hidden toys along the way.

So if you’re looking for a fun toddler diversion this week, try a rice bin.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 2 to 16), including one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly radio show, write freelance articles and columns and speak on topics that affect parents and families.

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