Seriously, if you’re a parent you should go back to her first post and read it start to finish. It’s a great “in the trenches” story that really sums up many of my philosophies about the job of parents.
The job of a parent is to make sure that when kids are 18 they’re equipped with the skills they need to leave home. So a 9-year-old should have about half of those skills, right? They should be able to manage money and suffer consequences if they screw up. They need to be able to manage their own sleep and food and understand the consequences. They need to deal with bullies. They need to recognize when they’re being bullies. They should be able to get a job.
The list goes on.
Catha’s latest post was about how she lets her kids pick their own food, without nagging. As you know the other week Max had a sleepover, and because this summer we had no rules on sugar, food or sleep for the kids Ian had a chance to learn how to manage all these things himself. So at Max’s party we just let Ian (6) do whatever he wanted. No rules or nagging at all. We just set out food and let ALL the kids do WHATEVER they want.
You know what?
He at some sugar, but like many of the 10-year olds at the party his eyes were bigger than his stomach when it came to ice cream. He also went to bed some time. I don’t even know when. It might have been 10 or 12 or 2. But he handled it better than many of the 10 year olds.
But it’s safe to say he went to bed when he was tired.
He woke up when he wanted to the next morning (Saturday), and he got enough sleep that he joined us for an awesome show at the Fine Arts Center (Parsons Dance). He stayed awake through the entire ballet (which ended around 10) and really enjoyed the second act.
Basically he handed control of his life (food, sleep, etc.) better than about half of the 10 year olds at the party.
Good life lessons, right?