Helicopter Parenting. Free Range Parenting. Sharenting. The names go on and on. We all reap rewards and pay the price for whichever philosophy we adopt. What happens when we don’t adopt a philosophy at all? What happens to our kids if we cross the line from laissez-faire to downright lazy? Let’s take a look…
1. Outerwear – My son rushed out the door to school juggling his backpack, sneakers, and water bottle. What was missing? His coat. It was 5 degrees. Did I run after him? No. I sat at the counter sipping my tea. One frozen walk to school can save hundreds of mornings of nagging.
2. Laundry – My son rarely gets out of his snuggly fleece. The whole family rotates through contributions and it was his turn to do the laundry. After dumping a bowl of cereal down his front he added his “fuzzy” to a full load. He ran the washer and stopped there. From Friday to Tuesday things melded into a sour mess. He lost his beloved fleece. We were down a few sheets, but we are now up a diligent laundry doer. Things are fresh and folded in just a few hours.
3. Dinner- This one is a simple equation. One meal + full family = flexible eaters.
4. Cold Hard Cash – My kids get a dollar per year of life.* The money comes at the end of family meeting and is not tied to chores. Contributing to our household is an expectation that stands apart from payment. They are paid in cash each Monday. If they leave their cash lying around they lose it. This has happened one time each.
5. Reaping the Rewards of Natural Consequences* – Do you dread food shopping? Do your kids whine and demand things at checkout, do you forget half of your list? Here is the lazy way to address all of those problems… Let the kids shop. Our town has a small grocery store. One afternoon I sat in the car and talked with the boys about what our family needed to get through the week. They carefully wrote down a list. Which they ignored. (Some things run in the family) I gave them the money to shop and sat in the literal drivers seat while the boys took the figurative one. About 50 minutes later they were loading the car. By Thursday we were all a bit hungry. The next week they chose more chicken. As a bonus they appreciate the delicate balance of meal planning and budget and are much better companions when we take to the cart collaboratively.
6. The Reverse Tuck In – I go to bed. They tuck me in. So simple. So satisfying. They feel competent and grown up. I feel my eyelids on my eyeballs.
7. Playing Doctor (The G rated Version) – Think of this as a science-meets-sleep combo. When my boys were little I would lie on the couch and have them apply compresses and assess my “illness”. The patient was always comatose. Comas can take a while to come out of. This was a lovely blend of compassion (theirs) and rest (mine). If you find the doctor game cliche you can play coast guard where you are a boat drifting at sea, or sleep researcher. It is never too early to introduce the caring professions. Plus if your kids are boys you are fighting societal gender norms while you nap in bliss.
8. Dishes – My kids make their own breakfast, snack and lunch. As much time as this saves for me in the early days of their chefdom my satisfaction was wiped out by a sink full of sticky dishes. You know what is worse than free time? Scraping oatmeal out of a bowl. Since my boys would both prefer screen time to sink time they have started washing their dishes immediately after their meals. Which works for me.
[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Whether you are aware or not your kids are right on your heels…so relax and make it fun (or at least easy) for everyone.[/Tweet]
9. Starting Without Them- Every morning we began our day late because of a certain dawdler in our house. Every evening we missed a bit of book time while one son opened all the drawers in the bathroom expecting some great discovery instead of discovering the plaque on his teeth. As it turns out waiting and whining are the worst way to address this. What was the best? Just get going. We would start the car or start reading while he was noodling around and as quickly as we began he would end his procrastination to participate.
This list could be even more lengthy…but I am lazy so I will stop there. The bottom line is that doing less lets your kids do more — and they get ready to join the world without you having to say a word.
*The ideas in this post, like so many of my parenting posts, have been dramatically influenced by Vicki Hoefle of Parenting On Track. Buy Duct Tape Parenting here..
If you liked this post please read more, comment, or both…its a lonely thing being a lazy parent and long term blogger.
Eleven signs you are nailing this parenting thing.
The time a teacher who didn’t want my five year old to pack his own lunch.
The time the super hero story somehow made me talk about erections.
The (first) time I encouraged my kids to say fuck.
The post where I make people angry by admitting that I let my kids cry it out. And never “potty trained.”
See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/families/9-ways-lazy-parenting-raises-great-men-ajrt/#sthash.Byubs2zb.dpuf Also syndicated on Babble.com.
162 thoughts on “Nine Ways Lazy Parenting Helps Grow Great Grown ups”
Lazy parenting means less responsibilities therefore the children learn to be responsible for themselves. Great lessons, thank you!
I could hardly hear this article over the sound of the author patting herself on the back…
Its true. I am proud of this philosophy and of my kids. If you want to read some more of the blog you will see that there is plenty of stuff that I question and criticize.
I commend you for saying to the world what I believe most parents feel, thank you. I am in full agreement with everything this article said, kids are not taught how to act and respect anymore, I think Americans have gone crazy with all the liberal crap. And for the anonymous comment, opinions are like buttholes, everyone’s got one.
I like that line!
I can’t get over how much I love this article. I am this parent, and never realized or thought about it being “lazy” just thought I didn’t want good kids, I want to raise good adults. Love it.
The fact that you had to label it “liberal” makes you sound stupid. I live in a conservative state and most of the children don’t know how to show respect. This isn’t a one political side people.
I don’t really understand the political slant of your comment…but all people should be respectful. We work hard to teach our kids that. Some parts of parenting can’t be lazy.
Anna – it was Stephanie who first said “liberal crap”, then Courtney called her out on it. That is where the political part came in from the get go. It’s true – there was no reason to start namecalling here. Parenting is a hard job for liberals and conservatives and we are all doing the best we can with what we value. For one reason or another children will respond differently to a certain style of parenting; good, bad, or indifferent. So can’t we all have some compassion and acceptance and not play the blame game? If this makes me a liberal then so be it.
I think there has to be a balance like anything in nature. If you are hands on 24/7 doing every little thing for your children, you would be raising brads, but it would be nice that children grow up with memories of like “how mom took her time and showed me how to fold clothes” for instance. those little things I know, were thought by my grandma, a woman who I adore and whose teachings I would treasure till the day that I died. My mom always took the GIANT HELICOPTER way of parenting. Wasn’t around much. I resent that. Today I have two wonderful daughters 10 & 12 both very independent, super helpful around the house, because it is our house, and we all have to pitch in. Whenever I’m sick, or just not a good morning because my insomnia, my girls get ready for school, make their breakfast, prepare lunches, snacks, and kiss me goodbye. All by themselves. They know how to do it because we always did it together. Doing things for your kids is not a bad thing. It gives them a sense of appreciation. I know it because my oldest daughter once in a while tells me. “Mom, thank you for everything you do for us” and that’s a pretty good feeling. As I said before. Balance!! Balance!! That has been my parenting approach throughout the years, and my advice for you guys today.
Balance works for all things. You cant expect your kids to know how to do things like fold the laundry without teaching and supporting them. I have found it is important to let them struggle through tasks while building mastery. It is easier to learn through doing than through straight instruction. After they are experts then I help more. My kids also thank me for things. Its more about spending time and emotional support and making them laugh than packing their lunches. Each family needs to find their own way to be.
Anonymous, you’re an idiot.
I love this. I’m not a parent, Anna, but I do a lot of parent watching. I’ve seen my cousins handle their kids like you do, and I find it so refreshing and the children are the sweetest, most affectionate little kids I’ve known.
Glad to hear you get to experience such loveliness in your family!
I fully endorse and support these views. I’ve brought up two girls on this method and one went to business school and the other is a medical doctor. They’re both successful professionals and young moms. I’m trying to sell them these ideas but they say they only work when you are a stay at home mom like I was, and have all the time to clean up the mess….
The kids clean up the mess!
I love this… I want to go back 25 years and give some of these ideas a go 🙂
Wouldn’t we all be better with a do over? I often think that college is WASTED on the 19 year olds. Wouldn’t 50 year olds rock college?
I went to college in my late 30’s and loved it. I am 49 and have a 10 and 7 year old. I need to use some of these lessons. My 21 year old son is making me a grandma. He is learning fast about things I taught him.
That does seem like the best time to go to college! I hope you find some ease and effect from backing up and letting your kids find their way.
I absolutely love this post, I’m currently sipping my coffee in bed while my kids pretty much do what they like. Yes laziness on my part does equal more responsible kids. We are trying to raise competent adults not children who need their parents help to cook a dinner at the age of 25. Thank you for sharing.
I prefer them to cook me dinner 😉
I’m sorry but that comment shows you’re a lazy parent who’s more worried about”me” time then spending time with your kids. That’s part of being a parent, becoming selfless. You’re pathetic in my eyes.
I think the word selfless is a great starting point for conversation. The idea that a parent is no longer an individual is part of what makes it ennervating to parent. Our goal is to make room for both our kids and ourselves. When they are super little and need us for literally everything there is not much room to be independent. But that changes at just the right time. As they are ready to begin to break away and navigate the world we are also ready to model having varied interest and friendship and work. My boys know I am always there for them emotionally. To make that possible it is important to be there for yourself and your spouse as well.
Well said! I enjoyed this article immensely. The first time I left home for the weekend and wasn’t there to do EVERYTHING for my kids- it was such a revelation. I came home to, “Mom I made my own breakfast. And I made L and E’s too!!”. I didn’t even know he was interested or capable because I was doing it all. And now that 7yr old can make oatmeal, eggs, use the microwave, get his own snacks, help his sisters. And you know what? He likes it! He doesn’t do this everyday- we switch it up. I make it most days, but in a pinch, he can do it. It has been so good for both us of. We appreciate each other more. I know that he can thrive without me. Isn’t that one of the goals of parenting? To make sure they can do it on their own without mom doing it all? Now is the time to let them try these things in a safe environment- fail and try again so that they are ready. Anywho, this is great. Thanks for writing all this!
I’m sorry but you’re a pathetic parent. You’re goal is to get more you time. You’re supposed to become selfless as a parent, not let them figure everything out themselves. I mean sitting in the car while they go in? Do you have any idea how many teens alone get kidnapped a day? Kids need their parents to be their everything. They need them to always be there for them. I would at least walk in the store with them and let them lead. They’ll resent you for the time you spent on yourself besides spending with them. Don’t try to act like you’re parent of the year, because you’re a joke.
One of my goals is certainly to get me more time…which then leaves me more available to my kids than if I was simply a chaperone. There is always risk to letting kids out on their own but there is also learning. Safety issues are greatly magnified by our fear based media. The chance of my two boys being abducted in my neighborhood store is incredibly low. There is great value to teaching independence. And teaching is that. It is not abandonment. I hope you find a balance with your kids.
I have a balance thank you. My wife and I both have high expectations for our children. But I wouldn’t dare let my child walk out of the door without a coat just to teach them a lesson. I wouldn’t make them tuck me in, that just sounds idiotic. I would want my children to have the memory of tucking their own child in the first time they ever do it, not have them remember tucking me in for the first time. I have a feeling you were neglected and at the same time your parents were way too hard on you. Heck you even pretty much admitted it in a didn’t post. But I guess it’s how you formed your idea of parenting. It’s sad your top goal is to find more time for yourself. I would always want to be by my child’s side for when they need something answered. Theycan’t figure everything out on their own. when you begin a new job do they just put you to it and say good luck ? If so it’s a terrible company. I’m all for independence, but you’re going about it the wrong way. I Mean for example, all my kids are 5 and under and I make sure they do common sense things such as pushing their chairs in, cleaning their plate and washing it off to be taken to the dishwasher, taking their dirty clothes to the hamper. I back up and let them do it and jump in when they ask for help or do it wrong so I can Back up the next time and let them do it right then. They may be young but once I test to see if they can do it in their own I let them become independent in that area. And as a result they are very independent children at such a young age. There’s so much more to tell that we do but I’ll stop here. I apologize for the harsh words but I do not like parents who turn their children into their slaves.
I really wanted to comment on anthony’s post below, but can’t for some reason. Anyway, you’ve labelled this “lazy” parenting, but actually this is just good parenting. You’re not asking your kids to do anything that isn’t developmentally appropriate. Two teenage boys should absolutely be able to go into a store together safely and shop for groceries. What you’re doing is giving them the reigns on tasks they have the skills to do–and then letting them learn for themselves what works and doesn’t. This is a very important life skill–so many times as an adult, they are going to have to navigate the world for themselves and they will be much better prepared with experience. Parents who are ALWAYS there and don’t let their kids make mistakes and learn from them raise kids who can’t make mistakes…or learn from them. And yes, Anthony, when adults with (good) jobs get new jobs, you do have to figure out how to do it yourself. Hopefully you’ve got relevant education and training, but unless you’re stocking shelves at Wal-mart, you’re going to be expected to use your own sense to make your performance as good as possible. People who really succeed know how to go it alone (and how to ask for help when they need it).
And by the way, my parents were the kind who were always there and prevented us from making mistakes…still resent that. Back off and let your kids have some space.
Lol. Wow. I think Anthony over there has some serious growing up to do. What is with this world today? Everyone has this mindset of, “If you don’t do things my way then you are wrong.” Hey, Anthony. Ever watch Pocahontas? Just because she is different doesn’t make her a savage. Haha. Anyway, I would like to state the age old phrase here and that is “All children are different.” I’m sure Anthony’s kids are just perfect angels that always do as they are told, like good little soldiers. But as for my children, no way in hell. I have very independent, stubborn, overly clever, and crafty little demons whom I love with all of my being. But I am beginning to realize that one cannot hammer a nail into steel with a rubber mallet. Instead, I let them be themselves. I let them learn by their mistakes (except dangerous ones) and they learn by natural consequences. When my daughter forgets her backpack for the umpteenth time and will get in trouble for not bringing her homework to school, I decided to just let her. And guess what? She learned to get it herself. When she forgets her coat and won’t be able to go outside for recess, I don’t take it to her. And she learns not to leave it. It’s called parenting. But like clothing, not everything is the right fit for every for every parent or every child. So suck it up buttercup, and quit being so judgmental. It’s not pretty.
I love this.
I agree. Maybe right now you are condioning them to be self sufficient but I gaurentee there are going to be some issues of resentment in the future. Children need support and a parent to lean on. The world will teach your child that people are cold and your on your own…. children need a safe place. Oh and by the way sending your child out without a coat in five degree weather constitutes as child abuse / negligence. Thank God your child didn’t get stuck out side and get frost bite or freeze to death. I do agree with one point of your blog this most definitely is “lazy” parenting.
When I was growing up and I forgot something for school or practice at home I never called my parents and asked them to bring it to me. I didn’t forget it a second time and I don’t resent my parents for that. I knew if I called my mom would leave work and bring it to me but guess what that would make her have to stay late to finish up her work and at the end of the day I honestly could make due without it. I really feel like the negative comments on here come from their own childhood issues from their upbringing. This should be called “how to raise responsible and respectful kids who become great adults.” My kids have expectations to help and at 6 and 8 they do a pretty good job but I’m definitely going to use some of these ideas for our household. Thanks!
So, so, SO true. Thank you for posting what so many parents who try so hard have forgotten.
Thank you for reading!
I want to take a big step in this direction, I can tell that I am controlling and nagging and inhibiting my bright and capable 8 year old daughter! Letting her do things for herself would boost her confidence, I’m sure. I think I need to put things into a different perspective.
That would be wonderful! Remember this is HARD. Take it easy on yourself as well as her.
We’re the same… We’re a family of 7 all together and I love seeing how independent they’re becoming.. I was wondering how you go about family meetings, I’ve always wanted to try them.. How do they start off? Topics discussed? Etc… Ty
First we keep them BRIEF. 15 minutes max. At the end of they participated and attended they get their money for the week. That serves as a great incentive. There are three topics. 1. Appreciation- we each tell one thing we appreciated from
The week for everyone else including ourselves. 2. Problem solving. Using no names we state something like “I have a problem when someone uses my things without returning them”. Then the kids brainstorm. Not the patents. Pick a solution to try for the week. 3. Contributions (aka chores) they DONT get money for this. Money is for attending the meeting. Contributions are because we are a family that supports one another. Contributions start as early as they walk. We have kitchen, bath, laundry, floors. Little kids wipes counters. Big kids do every step. Then money then leave. Maybe I’ll write a post about it!
Great question and great answer. Love this post! Thanks for your tips!
If you didn’t already post about it please do! I’m interested in how you run the family meeting and expectations for youngsters (our youngest is 2). Thanks! This post was affirming and inspiring!!
I am raising my children in roughly the same way, but I don’t consider it lazy parenting. I consider it responsible parenting, I’m raising them to be responsible members of society. It’s about real-life consequences.
Natural consequences is the phrase that I mutter to myself everytime I get confused about what my next step should be…The word lazy is a personal one. It is one half click bait and one half self awareness.
One thing I would be careful of is your kids growing up thinking that you’re lazy. My parents raised me to be very independent but now whenever they tell me to do something(like putting the movie on or handing them their drink off the coffee table etc.), while I do as they ask, I’m filled with disgusted thoughts of how they’re unable to do anything for themselves
That is interesting. I’ll try to keep an eye out for that.
I am a mom now and love this approach, but I agree their must be a fine line some where because I too have the same disgust feeling with my parents at times for being lazy. Having the kids contribute to the household and learn to care for themselves does not mean they need to wait on the parents hand and foot. Parents still need to take care of themselves. Setting a good example of what being independent is all about.
Thanks Elle. That is a good balance to strike. Here’s hoping we can do that!
I agree! Doing less should not be considered being lazy parents,from my past experience doing less always give others the chance to reach their potential by stepping up to help out.!
Lazy, perhaps. Perhaps putting the movie in or getting them a drink IS lazy. That being said, it’s also showing them to “take care” of the older generation as none of us are getting younger. It should be an honor to “wait on” our parents. They took care of us for many years, and one day, that role gets reversed (for better or worse)
Maybe if it was appreciation day like Saturday or birthday week/month. Lazy is a fun term but there is a difference. Leading by example is key.
Although I’ve seen this many times with friends of mine and their parents, I believe that if you go about this kind of parenting your doing very well for your kids. However “lazy parenting” and being lazy are two different thing. They still see you contribute to the house hold everyday. Also everyone has bad days so on those days when our kids need a little help its ok to help where it is needed
Exactly. Just a few days ago one of my sons had “not the best day” so I made him special snacks and folded his clothes and generally pampered him. It made us both feel good and I only helped with things that he already Demonstrated the ability to do independently. Consistently independently. He was struggling with his homework and I didn’t bail him out there. He hadn’t managed his time for a project and the result was less good than he had imagined. I could have rocked that poster board but instead I gave him a hug and a kiss and let him be. Hopefully he will start a little earlier next time. The time to get stressed about deadlines is 3rd grade.
Love This! I can and need to get on board with this style of parenting…
I do so little for them now.
I have a few neighbors who are “lazy” parents who spend all night watching tv, playing videos, etc. while their kids run around the neighborhood til dark. We are currently dealing with them just walking onto our porch and sitting at the table by our front door (despite our kids being significantly younger). cuz they’re bored and have no responsibilitites at home Their parents might be teaching them to be “independent” but are not teaching them how to be kind, considerate, or contribute to society nor do they have manners . Their parents certainly are not having “family meetings” or giving their kids a set allowance — they want something and sometimes they get it and sometimes they don’t. You sound like you’re in a different category, perhaps ‘tough love = independence” or “less is more.” And I definitely agree with the comments that you can be lazy in the way of not doing everything for your kids, but “lazy” parents often expect their kids to do things for them which leads to resentment and disgust. If you want your children to independent, you must also and there’s also a fine line with that because I want my kids feeling connected to our family and not just their own independent selves that will graduate one day and not look back. And also the childrens’ age needs to be taken into account: My 3 yr old insisted on not wearing a coat, I let her go without expecting her to be more cooperative next time, but she wasn’t. I imagine (based on her not remembering things we’ve done, like vacations) that she just didn’t remember what it felt like when she wouldn’t put on her coat on a chilly day. Still, great ideas.
Thanks! Yes…in this case lazy does not mean that you can to ignore teaching, training, and spending time with your kids. Lazy is what I get to be when my kids get themselves ready (because they have had training and practice) completely on their own while I lounge in bed. It took some work to be lazy. I’m glad you tried the coat experiment. It worked for us! But we lived in Vermont then so the cold was a very good natural consequence. Also letting them go without a lunch or coat for one day is not the same as actually putting them at risk for frost bite or starvation. We need to use some common sense before we set our kids loose in life.
Love this. This reminds me a lot of how my siblings and I were raised–and now we are all well-adjusted adults with healthy marriages, stable jobs, good kids. I’d say my parents did a great job. Very practical advise. Thank you!
Excellent. It sounds like you have a great family.
Wow – this is the most refreshing and brilliant parenting advice I have read in a blog to date. I read it on Pinterest, thinking it was going to be funny, as I made my 4 year old get his own bagel out of the fridge. Yesterday he asked me if he could have some crackers before he grabbed them out of the pantry, and I thought, “I never yelled at him and forced him to ask me for things, how did he learn to ask?” It is because the respect comes naturally when you teach them and set them free to make their own choices and mistakes.
Once he spent a day eating cookies and carbs, no vegetables…and he ended up with a bad cold. I explained how nutrition helps your body stay healthy, and how his eating habits the previous day contributed to his being sick today. I have never had a food struggle with him since. He spent several weeks asking me if certain foods were healthy, etc. Now at barely 4 years old, he understands why we eat, what we eat to stay healthy, and when it is OK to eat candy.
I’m just so impressed with your article – I need to read more!
I am impressed with YOUR parenting. I have absolutely found that my kids have developed great manner without nagging, strong information about nutrition because of natural curiosity and consequences and so much more. Just today I was chatting with my mother on the phone about the stress my 3rd grader was feeling over a project he hasn’t completed for school. She suggested that I print out some images for him while he was at school. (You can tell my style is not similar to my mother’s). I explained that I would dry his tears but not do his work. He will learn 1,000x more about procrastination and time management than he would from whatever pictures I printed from the web. So little of elementary school is about content…so much is about independence and resilience.
I try to parent like this but it is a lot harder than you make it sound. It is hard to know when to step in or not and trying to figure out what is appropriate for what age. It is a lot of trial and error. And for the life of me I still can’t get my kids to do most things without a fight. They would all go naked, eat nothing but junk food, live in filth, never bath or brush their teeth if I didn’t.
There is nothing easy about watching your kids make “mistakes”. I have sat by while my son finished a math packet from the month before, and said no to good night kisses that I wanted more than anything…because that is the natural consequence of my son not brushing his teeth. I could nag and remind all day long and it would result in a cleaner house but a less well trained kid. There is a fair amount of nakedness in our house…particularly pants-lessness. There are battles I would rather fight then their appearance. It helps not to have much junk food in the house. They can buy it with their own money if they want. If you have time to read my post on parenting failure that might explain the difficulty that you notice more clearly. I’m sorry I can’t link to it. I am writing on my phone.
so funny. and so true. love it! thanks!
I love the sleep researcher game. 😀 That cracked me up.
I’ve got others. I’m in a hammock lost at sea…the coast guard needs to scurry around and make sure my ship is ready to sail. It takes 25 minutes minimum for the coast guard to complete all safety checks. I am an exhausted animal on a trek. I am lying down because of hunger and thirst. My handlers need to brush me, offer me food and water, and rub my sore muscles.
I love this idea of parenting. I’ve been more of a helicopter parent for almost nine years now and damn, I’m tired. I’ve recently learned about natural and logical consequences for parenting my children and have realized that allowing them to make mistakes (instead of trying to prevent them from making any) is how they learn. We still have boundaries established, but allow them to learn what happens if they cross those boundaries. Thank you for sharing!!
I’m excited for you to experience the benefits of the new approach. No matter what our style we always wonder if we are doing best for our kids…but if they are going to fail (and they are sometime) it’s better to do it sooner rather than later. Thanks Heather!
This reminds me of when I was small and my parents would say, “I bet you can’t —— without adult supervision.” They had me washing the car, making pancakes, etc. by challenging me…while they slept in, spent time together, read the newspaper, and otherwise took care of themselves. I also thought that foot massages were something all children gave their parents. I think the best thing parents can do for their child is model good self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
I love the final line of your comment! Thank you for that one.
First off, you’re hilarious! Number 6 made me giggle so loud I had to read it to my husband then he giggled. And second off, I am so glad I read this! It is so true for my son. He is my oldest and is only 4 but man that kid is the most independent little kid I know. He has been able to zip his own coat up for th past year and can do up the buttons on his church shirt. I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn those things until I was like 10. But it is because of his sheer determination and independence that he has figured these things out which has made me back way off and allow him to do things and figure things out for himself and now my almost 3 year old daughter is following suit. Thank you for writing this. It has opened my eyes that backing off and and being “lazy” isn’t always a terrible thing. I feel like society judges helicopter moms (which is totally my tendency) but then everywhere you look, it seems like if you aren’t helicoptering, you’re a terrible parent who is about to get a blog written about you that will go viral because you sat back on the bench the entire time at the park and let your kids play on the playground by themselves and survived! Anyway, I’m rambling. I’m glad I pinned this, I think I will refer to and read it often 🙂
I agree…from the observers eye there is no winning in parenting. When I am in public it is so so hard to step back. I just try to remind myself of all of the incredible things my kids can do because I do so little. Then there are the set backs…My 11 year old took 20 minutes TWENTY MINUTES to figure out how to run the bath at my mother’s house. I seriously don’t know how that is possible. I stood within ear shot as he whined and talked to himself and talked to ME and just kept telling him that he could figure out how to make hot water run from the tub. It was SO DIFFICULT not to go in and run the water for him. It was one of those times that doing nothing was so much harder than doing something. But in the end he bathed and when he takes his next bath (like, 6 days from now) he will be able to run the water.
Wow, way to go! I need to be that patient! I’m sure he felt so accomplished by finally figuring it out. I really need to not only adopt this concept into parenting but to consistently do it even when they are 11 so that I have the same self control!
My kids have their own bowls and they know if they don’t clean up after their meals, nobody else will. No more dirty dishes!
I sometimes wonder if abundance is a problem. Like, if we each just had our own bowl it wouldn’t be ready next time we needed it if we didn’t wash it. So we would wash it. Glad to hear your kids are on their way!
Love this! I do the same pretty much!
My style of parenting!
You could all in “natural consequence” parenting. It is how I was raised and how I parented my children. Good to know it still exists!
There is no better way to learn.
I think the term “lazy” here is misrepresenting. This appears to be more of a “free” style of parenting, allowing children the freedom to make mistakes.
Lazy would be more like my sister, who sits in a restaurant talking while her child wreaks havoc on the other diners, without ever saying a word or taking any action. Lazy is allowing them to eat candy for dinner because you are too lazy to get up provide them with real food. Lazy is allowing them to basically do what they please, creating a child who is screaming for some kind of attention (usually bad attention) because they can’t get any.
I have seen too many of this type of parent, and it does not seem to coincide with what you describe as “lazy”.
For sure. In fact this kind of parenting is hard work. I use the word lazy as click bait to get people to read the article. I’m not sure proud of that but it has gotten a lot of people talking…
Ok – so my sons are 33 and 36 and I raised them exactly like this. My oldest son has a real chip on his shoulder now though that I was a ‘bad mother’.
This despite the fact they are self-sufficient and not a burden to their wives (who wouldn’t stick around long if they were!) They parent their own kids in such a ‘hands on’, over fussy way (in my opinion), they think I was wrong to let them take responsibility for looking after themselves as they became more and more able.
Seriously – I give up – we’re damned if we do and pilloried if we don’t. It may have been a step too far though that I told my oldest son he should sit quietly and watch back to back episodes of Sesame Street because Big Bird was his real dad.
Hmmm. I understand when the pendulum swings back. My mother was all over me and I think this is part of why I am
Hands off. That said my boys take pride at being independent. And they will have clean clothes in college. Or at least the capability to have clean clothes.
I think it’s important to parent how we see fit and realize our kids will choose their own feelings and their own way of parenting. My parents were awesome parents and I have some siblings/in-laws who resent their imperfections. I think it’s so sad. We all need to be easier on each other and understand we will make mistakes. Maybe your son’s parenting will evolve but maybe it won’t. Keep on loving, it’s all you can do.
I totally agree with your style of parenting. I have implemented a lot of these since day one! (well a few beyond that!) Thanks for some tips that I hadn’t thought of!
Great to hear. I hope it is going well for you.
I love this too. Although my 5 yr old has already picked up on the injustice of getting paid different amounts based on age. My aunt used to send my kids different amounts (just a few dollars each) but he said he’d always be younger and then will always get less than his siblings. which made sense to me. So I asked her to not send them anything or send equal amounts. (I’d actually prefer no money, because then they don’t start expecting it from her.) Although, I guess if they all age out of allowance at 18, then it would eventually be equal…hmm.
Your last line is the exact answer I was going to give. Does that change it for you? I’m sure it won’t for your younger son. I used a less savory version of this when my younger son told me he would always be younger and I taught him about life expectancy and said that if we follow all of the averages he will die after his brother does. he liked that. His brother didn’t.
May adult daughter – who is a mother sent this to me and I love it!. I am done with my parenting chores, but I wanted to say I think you are spot on. You have great ideas. I have always believed in giving kids choices, and then letting them live with the consequence of their choice. One of my kids was not a fan of math in elementary school and began a habit of leaving her book at school – unable to do homework. I drove her up to school to pick up her math book one time for free and with a smile on my face. The next day I charged her a $1.00 to get her math book. Math book started coming home in the backpack on the bus. Keep sharing your thoughts and ideas.
I love that idea. Chauffeurs get paid right?
I agree with most of this and the overall philosophy, but sometimes, just “no” works too. Like whiny kids at the store? Why waste money? Just say no.
I say no differently. I say “of course you can have that…did you bring your money?” from the age of two they seemed to understand that that meant no. And the no was on them.
Lazy POS parents.. Sorry but you are!!! Don’t know where you’re from but that’s not how we raise/parent in the south. We are hands on 24/7.
Excellent article! The older my two daughters get, the less I do for them. HOWEVER, my oldest is 13 and goes over to her friends house, where that girls mother does everything for her. MY oldest will return home expecting me to do the same! She will tell me, “You are the parent, it is your job!!” I about flip my SH*T every time she says this. I finally broke it down to her like this, Are you going to expect me to come wipe your butt when you are 30 years old? She has not made that comment since. 🙂
I bet that was all the explanation she needed.
This. was. great! I LOVE it.
Anna, I bow to you. You’re the parent I always wanted to be… and almost made it. I lacked the calm and focus, but how I tried. Let kids make mistakes. They learn. Its that simple. Love you drinking the tea while your kid forgot his coat. He never forgot again. Of course.
I am a grandparent. Was raised by a lazy parent whom I loved very much. Didn’t feel disgust or anger but struggled a bit for other reasons. Raised my own kids without as many logical consequences as they should have had, aided by their helicopter father. Now my grandchildren are being raised by wonderful, loving parents who are, in my eyes, practically perfect. They balance lots of love and affection with consistency and give their children independence they didn’t have themselves at young ages. I’m so proud of all of them! The best part is, I get to be the grandparent who does a little spoiling (always respecting their parents’ rules, of course) and the children are so delightful that I don’t have to work hard to teach them how to behave. It is hard to always find the right balance and each child is different. I am most impressed with parents who are patient, kind, and allow their children to think for themselves, problem solve and make mistakes, knowing they will always be loved at home. That’s not really lazy. It’s smart!
I love these generations of parenting. I was raised by a helicopter mother who also seems to have found her perfect spot as a grandparent. Glad to hear your story.
Greatest gift you can give your kids! Bravo Anna!
A balance for everyone. All of these depend on the ages of the kids. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable letting my kid leave without their jacket. Not to enable but sometimes you just forget and as a family unit we look out for each other. The clothes in washer, id just tell them to switch it over.
I think this is great but I would rather be upfront and honest with my girls. I feel a lot of this can come off as “told you so” or maybe condescending/sneaky if not done right.
I’ll need to re-read the post because I am horribly honest with my boys. Don’t think I am a sneak about anything.
This approach sounds horrible and as you said it lazy. I came from a family like this and now as an adult can’t believe how much I did as a child when my parents should have been parenting. There is a way to teach them responsibility and not be a lazy parent and make them take care of themselves. I spent so much time taking care of myself I didn’t have time to be a kid
I love the way of teaching kids responsibility. I have a 5 year old boy on autism spectrum and 3 year old twins still in diapers. My 5 year old just switched from diapers to underwear because the other day I told him he is old enough to wash his bottom full of poo and I left him in the bathroom with his diaper on with poo and after that he used the toilet. I tried in the summer to toilet train him but nothing worked I used charts rewards cheering for every pee but poo went straight in underwear. The kindergarten stuff told me he isn’t trainable he will allways be in diapers. Proved them they are wrong 🙂 Here in Germany they send their kids oft to buy their own sweets or pretzels from bakery.
Thanks for sharing Anna, Just reading it gives me peace, n this way children will less stressed out too.I am going start this now, I have 3 kids 14, 7 n 2… Was really stressed out by their disagreements n not listening immediately…. Excellent
Hi I just found this on pinterest I love it! I’m not a very well mummy so find it hard to move and get going in the mornings especially. My 5 year old though gets herself dressed in the clothes she lays out the night before, makes her own breakfast ie cereal, brushes her teeth without being told and even sometimes helps me shuffle to the bathroom! And helps me pick out my clothes. I would be lost without my mini carer she’s so responsible because she’s had to be.
I love that silver lining!
This made me laugh!! A stranger on a plane once told me, “never do anything for your kids that they can do themselves.” It struck as some strange sort of wisdom at the time but this is really brilliant 🙂
That sums it up well. We should also remember that they can do more than they demonstrate!
I try to be a relatively hands off mom because I want them to be independent. I want them to feel the pride that comes with accomplishing a task all on their own. I find, like many things in my life though, that it is a balancing act between guiding them to make good choices and backing off and allowing them to experience natural consequences. I am after all their mom though and seeing them struggle or fail is a difficult pill to swallow. It is however part of being a mother, and it’s my burden to conceal and deal with. I am not doing them any favors by sheltering them from real life chores and consequences because it makes ME feel a certain way, parenting isn’t about me…it’s about them. I have to give them the tools so they can cope and become strong, empathetic, independent people at every age and stage of their life. Your blog was a nice reminder that not smothering your child is a good thing, allowing them to fall (not too hard) but just enough to realize that life isn’t easy or going to wait for them is a good lesson. Thanks, I very much enjoyed your thoughts on this and for sharing your personal experience.
Great article Anna!
When I first read the title, I thought, “Oh, hell no!” You creative little devil, you had my attention, mission accomplished. I am a much tighter wound mom but with the same ideals…natural consequences have prevailed and served me well. Cheers!
I’m glad you are reaping the benefits of natural consequences. There is no better teacher.
I love it! Self entitled kids grow up to be self entitled adults who thinks everyone owes them and burns down property of college compass….. I got tired of hearing the fights in the morning to catch the bus. So they all walked in the cold or rain. My mom would always say “don’t look at gift hourse in the mouth”.that makes no sense but somehow I knew what she meant. Always appreciate when anyone does something nice even if it is a mom. Now if it was pouring or dropped below 50 I would take them to the bus and surprise there was no fighting when I did.
Exactly. Once they have it down we can ABSOLUTELY help them by packing a lunch etc. then we all enjoy it instead of them expecting it and us feeling burdened.
Hi Denis, that is a German saying. We Germans say “Einem geschenkten Gaul kuckt man nicht ins Maul.“ That saying means literally translated. “Don’t look into the mouth of a horse that was given to you as a gift.” What that means is you shouldn’t find something wrong with something someone gave you as a present, whether a present you can touch or a service, that was given to you. You should accept it and be happy, because the other person gave from the goodness of their heart and because they love you.
I agree with a lot of what you’re saying and natural consequence are totally the way to go. It’s not lazy at all! It’s loving our kids enough to send the message that they are intelligent and capable people and if they need us we will stand beside them. It just takes a lot of re-training ourselves to allow kids to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. If you are already a laid back person this philosophy is easier to adopt but if you tend to try and plan and control things then this will be more difficult. A lot of this philosophy sound really similar to love and logic which does a really good job of teaching parents to stay calm when setting limits and allowing kids to learn from the consequences.
I am going to have to look up love and logic. And you speak the truth about training ourselves. It is very hard not to work hard.
I love everything about this post! A great reminder to continue going with my gut, sometimes I struggle when I’m flustered by others watching. Thanks for sharing.
Trust your gut. It has your best interest at heart. Or at stomach.
Love this post, especially the reverse tuck-in. I will be trying several of these ideas this weekend! Thanks for giving me permission to be lazy – someone has to do it!!
Uhm, I love you! Thank you for putting this out there. I just practiced #1 recently before reading this. My little took her winter boots off in the car, I did not feel like struggling with her & the fight to put them back on so I told her she had to walk to the house in her socks (it’s cold right now, there was ice!). And half way to the door I heard this voice say “I need my boots”. Yup. You do kid. She has not taken her boots off since.
Thank you for the validation, I feel better knowing I’m not the only one who believes kids can learn from their own mistakes & choices. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for reading!
I agree with this post 100%. My step daughter is now 13 and very independent. When she was little, she learned quickly that I was not going to follow her around and make sure she did everything she was asked because I knew she wouldn’t learn. When she decided one cold April day that she was wearing flip flops to the craft show, when she was urged to wear running shoes… 10 cold wet toes from walking in the dewy grass and 2 heel blisters later after 6 hours… she got the message. When her responsibilities like cleaning up her toys, brushing her teeth or getting into bed were not done, she learned that it cut into reading time. Having to re-rinse her dishes when she did a poor job cut into cartoon time, and when we would get in the car and leave her in the house when going out, she didn’t like the idea of being left behind, being rushed to catch up and having less time to shop and spend her allowance. You can easily hold your child’s hand and force them to do things, yell at them, set guidelines and time frames. This works too. But giving them the freedom to influence their own outcomes gives them more confidence as they get older. My step daughter is one of the most caring, compassionate and intellectual people I know. I know have a son who is 4 months old. When he is a toddler, I plan on giving him the same freedom. I’m glad more people are realizing that kids are not robots, they are people. Thanks for posting.
This is very well said. I’m sure your son will grow to do amazing things. And ordinary things too. Just as important!
I think I’m the exact parent you’re referring to. I am a mother of a senior high, junior hig, elementary and a toddler. “Lazy” and naughty parenting are effective.
As a child of “lazy” parents, I would like to say how much it helped me be a free thinker and independent person. My parents made me use my brain to figure things out instead of doing it for me. Because of that, I was very successful in life. Every job I ever had I succeeded in and moved up quickly because I was able to work by myself and be productive, I was able to figure out how to fix problems on my own, and I was a go getter. I didn’t need someone to do it all for me. I became a store manager of a half a million dollar store by age 21 and the manager of a million dollar store by age 25, and I was very successful! I’ve had employees who didn’t know how to mop a floor, didn’t know how to talk to people, didn’t know how to do anything. But i started being a “lazy” manager and when they would come ask me for help, I would make them go find the answer on their own. And guess what? Many of them were able to move up and get raises, and learn how to be productive humans!! And it was amazing to see how much more self confident and happy they were. When I go in and visit my old store and see them, it’s so amazing to hear how missed I am and how grateful they are for the things they learned under my leadership. I no longer work as I stay home with my child but you better believe I will be a “lazy” parent with him because there is nothing more rewarding than being able to teach people how to use their brains and figure things out on their own. And i can say that because I’m a product of “lazy” parenting. And I’m thankful for it!
I am so glad to hear your story!
I loved this! I’m pretty lazy (my boys 4&6 both started dressing them selves around 3 so they could be part of things/leave the house earlier. Sometimes clothes were backwards or wacky and adults would comment but I was so happy they got themselves ready in the morning I didn’t care) These are great ideas we haven’t really done yet. It fits well in the love and logic framework too! Thanks for sharing:) I’m in Denver too!
We should meet when I return to Denver in the fall. Let me know if you are around.
I am admittedly a major helicopter mom. Now that my only child is 8, I’m really seeing the negative effects of my parenting. She has almost zero self-government and has to be told absolutely everything to do. It’s my own fault and I know that. I am starting this week to increase her responsibilities around the house. I am impatient and much prefer to just do everything myself. That is a terrible way to parent. It’s also funny how many people are telling you that your kids will resent you for not doing enough, because actually my daughter resents me for controlling everything. As hard as it’s going to be for me, I’ve got to let go of the reins some and let her do things for herself, even if she falls flat on her face a few times. Because if we keep going like this, she’ll be out of here on her 18th birthday with no idea how to handle herself in the real world. Thanks for this article.
I am so impressed that you are recognizing this! I really understand how much easier it is to do things yourself. We are accomplished grown ups after all. Sometimes stepping back and making things messy is the best thing for everyone.
You gave me a good laugh! I love your parenting style. My little one is just three but I can’t wait to try reverse tuck in!
Hi Anna, I wouldn’t say this is my style but I do encourage my kids to help themselves even if they make a mess or things aren’t the way I prefer. That said, your post reminded me that I don’t have to put extra pressure on myself. We certainly have had ice cream for dinner before.
This is awesome. I have been a lazy parent because at one point I realized if I do everything, they won’t. I am happy to have found some people are just like me, not the “perfect ” parents. It does take a courage to be lazy, though! I am happy with how I am with them.
I love that doctor play idea 😉
This is exactly how i do it at my house. We have 4 boys and at the end of my childrens childhood all i want is for them to be able to walk out in this crazy world and be genuine compassionate and functioning adults. If we dont teach them the resposibilities before they leave our homes they wont know how to fend for themselves. My sister thinks im crazy because my 9 yo is responsible for his own laundry if he doesnt wash amd dry he doesnt have clean clothes. Yet her son is almost 7 and doesnt even tie his own shoes let alone put a shirt on correctly. Im just glad to see im not the only lazy mama in this world. My house is equal in work we all take care of ourselves and help each other with the family areas of the home.
I think this is brilliant! It almost makes me question what have i been trying to prove all this time?! Thank you for sharing the wisdom!
What age do you start implementing these tactics
I wonder if you can point me in the right direction as a step parent that agrees with you 100% that in knowingly married a chauffeur parent.
I think I’ve been struggling with my now 5yo on the next step. She is strong-willed and likes to get her way (as most kids do). I actually smiled at the label “lazy” because I thought it clever. It’s not lazy at all for a type A mom. It’s hard to let go and let them figure it out. Because I’m type A, I’m now sitting here thinking how do I start this? What are the rules for me? What if she just doesn’t care that she didn’t brush her teeth or forgot her jacket?
I love this! I 100% agree- I refuse to helicopter parent my kids… I have 4. Coddling and constantly doing everything for your kids doesn’t make responsible adults or productive members of society. I’m a firm believer that our actions reap rewards or consequences- either way, children learn valuable lessons for themselves.
This is so true! Thank you for writing it down. I’m proud to be a lazy parent coz that means my 3yo is able to pack/unpack his bags, clothe himself from head to toe, puts his laundry in the washer, put dishes away, picks up after him (or his toys will go “into the bin”) & wait for me at the door ready to go. Some things might be bordering at child abuse but hey.. it saves me from pulling my hair out & i have an independent child. kudos to all lazy parents!
Ahhhh, so happy to have come across this article. I teach young children and follow these same actions. THANK YOU!!
I actually smiled at the label “lazy” because I thought it clever. It’s not lazy at all for a type A mom. It’s hard to let go and let them figure it out. Because I’m type A, I’m now sitting here thinking how do I start this? What are the rules for me? What if she just doesn’t care that she didn’t brush her teeth or forgot her jacket?
I know this is an older thread, but I want to give you kudos! I raised 4 kids and this described my style to a tee (except I wish I would have thought about the coma thing! I let my kids practice their “tattoo” skills by drawing on my legs and arms with washable markers:)
I always called this “reality parenting”. And contrary to some of the very icky comments, it actually requires more restraint and patience than the “in your face control” style we are told kids require. This method actually teaches kids by experience…and there is no better teacher in the world. Kids are smarter than we think…they don’t need to be nagged. Parents nag because they are not willing to let their children face the consequences of their own behavior.
My oldest daughter was an accomplished cook by the time she got married. Her sisters-in-law who were both older than her, and still lived at home could do nothing. As their mother cooked the meal they sat on the couch. When it came time to clean up after, they plopped their butts back down on the couch. My daughter was horrified. She called me to thank me for expecting her to contribute and learn in the kitchen. She now has 4 kids. Even the 3 year old gets up on a stool and helps her cook. And not just pretend helps…really helps.
Parents who pursue this kind of parenting get parent shamed, ridiculed and accused of not doing their job. But the proof is in the pudding. Over the years I would randomly ask my kids “what is the meaning of “initiative?”…they would answer, “seeing what needs to done and doing it without being asked.” I hear them asking their own children the same question now.
Thanks for this really terrific article…and here’s to more “lazy” parents!
Love this article and wish I had her advice on what to do with a (almost 11 yr old little girl that argues with everything and always has something to say back instead of doing what she’s expected to do or was just told to do ♀️ Even when u praise her she will find something to whine and nag u about. Help!
One question on payment not linked to chores. If they are not for filling they work around the home, what is the money for. Not doing their work do you punish them, but still pay?