Last summer my family went on a clipper ship across Lake Michigan. My mom said she’d take me to a movie on the boat Quality Parenting 26
but I really wanted to stay with my dad and uncle in the lounge. Dad must have known what I was thinking because he whis. acted to me to stay with him so we could dance. I liked being treated like a big girl.
Its no secret kids like to pretend they’re grown-up. That’s why just about every preschool and kindergarten in the country has a box of dress-up clothes and a housekeeping corner where young children can assume adult roles. In addition to providing our children with the chance to pretend, it’s possible to offer them real opportunities to think and act grown-up.
We can ask their opinions and preferences on matters that relate to their own care. “How early should the alarm be set so that you won’t have to rush to be ready for school?” “Would you rather have the plain or mint-flavored toothpaste?” Such choices might not scorn important to us as adults because the issues involved are relatively minor. To children. however, they are very meaningful, for the issue to them is one of personal power.
By giving choices we Drive them a way to exercise control over parts of their lives that were previously controlled by their parents. Youngsters will also feel grown-up when asked to take part In the planning that affects the whole family.
We interviewed families in which children were involved In choosing the weekly menus, deciding where to go for family outings and vacations, scheduling cleanup lobs, setting up the weekly TV-viewing schedule, and solving problems between family members. : we believe the same is true for children. Involving kids in adult activities Is another way to help them feel grown-up—as Ellen’s grandmother did:
I like to co to Nana’s on weekends. She lets me help out around her beauty shop. I stack the colored curlers in boxes.
I arrange the tubes of perm stuff on the shelves, and then I clean the 27 The QP Factors
combs with some smelly liquid. I’d rather do that than play with the box of old to Nana keeps for nit
You don’t have to have a business in your home to involve your kids in your work.
As they talk about their day during dinner, you might share the highlights of yours. If you bring work home, you could show the contents of your briefcase to them.
Older children, like Michael can be invited to take part In business discussions:
Sometimes at night when were sauna around the dinner table my rather asks me what I think of something that’s happening on his job. 1 like to give my opinion and it feels great that what I think means something to hint Our last example of making kids feel grown-up involves switching roles.
The parent takes on what is usually the child’s job and the child does the parent’s: My mom doesn’t cook much during the week. She says my brother and sister and I are old enough to learn to gel supper ready. She this the cleanup—the job we used to du, and we do the cooking I cook on Tuesdays.
I usually make different kinds of casseroles, like with sauerkraut and hot dogs. Sometimes its a pain but it’s fun to have everybody sit around the table and wait for me to put the food out.
Sometimes we have a tendency to wait until our kids have “earned” the right to be treated like grown-ups before we allow them to take part in family decisions or enjoy special privileges or duties.
In fact, it’s better not to wait. When children are treated as If they are grown-up, they often act more responsibly.