It’s easier to do it for them


Have you ever fallen into the trap of doing things for your child simply because it’s easier? I know I have. But what are the effects of doing so? What are we teaching our children?

This issue came to a head for me recently. I tend to help Lucas with his shoes and coat simply because it’s easier and faster, particularly when we’re rushing off to school. Well, at school, they have been teaching him to do this for himself. One day, his teacher told me that he was very proud of himself after putting on his coat and shoes himself, but he quickly said, “Don’t tell my mom.”

The little stinker didn’t want me to know that he was able to put his coat and shoes on by himself! He wanted me to keep doing it for him!

The whole scenario made me laugh, but it also made me aware of what can happen by not requiring my children to do for themselves. There is a reason parents require their children to do chores. We want to teach them to take care of themselves, their things, and to help others.

Doing things for them is particularly problematic when we have instructed them to complete a task and then do it for them. We completely undermine our authority when we tell them to pick up their toys and then do it for them.

After describing a scenario where a child ignores his parents’ instruction to put away his clothes, the Ezzos say:

“Unfortunately, the parents themselves often encourage this behavior. Rather than dealing with the child’s disobedience, Mom gives up by folding and putting away the clothes for him. The reason for her actions is simple. Doing the task herself is much easier and faster than getting her child to do it. This decision also avoids conflict. The problem with her action is that it reinforces he child’s disobedience and teaches the child that if he waits long enough, someone else will do it for him!” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 129).

And ultimately, we want them to develop self-initiative to clean up after themselves.

“Prompted initiative is very good; self-generated is better and should be the goal to which every parent strives,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 129).

While we may need to prompt our kids to perform certain tasks, especially when they’re little, our goal should be to develop in them the initiative to perform chores and serve others without prompt from anyone.

You can imagine that there’s a wide gap between a child who needs a bribe to obey (as discussed in Monday’s post) and a child who takes initiative themselves to take care of themselves and their things. Imagine not even having to request that the child perform these tasks. It takes obedience out of the equation!


  1. What do you advise for parents who have done everything (and I mean everything) to avoid conflict, and now they have teenagers who simply refuse to pick up after themselves, wake themselves in the morning, do their homework, wash a dish, etc…they throw anything they’re done with on the floor and walk away. They don’t know how to make a bed or run a load of laundry, and see no need to ever learn. They don’t want to go to college because that looks like work. They want to stay home and play video games and be waited on. Now what. IS IT TOO LATE. What have we done.

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