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Dr Magryta: Letting go, and chores

Dr. Magryta

One of the hardest things to do in life is to let go and let your children figure it out.

I have been and am currently knee deep into experiencing this reality daily as my teenagers explore the modern world. After reading an excellent article in the New York Times Magazine by Heather Havrilesky, I decided to write about parenting, chores and letting go.

Where did it all go? The letting-children-learn-and-fail parenting style, that is. The giving-them-chores-because-they-are-a-part-of-the-family-team. The telling-them-that-I-love-you-and-this-is-part-of-growing-up.

I am not sure, but if you have a chance to read the Fourth Turning, I suspect that this is a periodic cycle of societal attitude shift based on a previous reaction to an older parenting style.

Either way, the recent helicopter/snowplow parenting style has created an abject mess for the growth of self in children. By doing it for them, kids gain no skills in work ethic, resilience, self worth and so much more. In our nutty desire for our kids to succeed at all costs, we are doing the exact opposite for them. We are preventing self success.

Take, for example, the recent college admissions scandal at many of the prestigious colleges and universities in the US. Here we see a group of wealthy people thinking that they are doing their children a favor by paying their way into school. What message are they really sending? Sweetie, you are not good enough to get into this school, therefore I will buy it for you because I love you that much. The teenager emotionally hears that, in their parents eyes, they are a failure.

What children need is discipline, and at the same time freedom, to explore and learn.

What if we told them that they are a part of this wonderful family team that works together to achieve happiness and prosperity?

What if we told them that they are expected to work daily with chores that help everyone?

What if we told them that everything that you get in life that is worth anything is earned and not given?

What if we expected them to love and be loved within the framework of a daily disciplined existence?

No moochers or freeloading children that feel entitled to things because they exist. No whiny do-it-for-me children. No lazy all-day-video-game-playing and all-day-screen-watching children.

“Because,” as Lythcott-Haims told Tech Insider, “By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life. It’s not just about me and what I need in this moment.” (Inc Article)

If you are a new parent, a parent-to-be or a current parent of any age child, read these books now:
1) Love and Logic – Jim Fay
2) Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink
3) Nurture Shock – Po Bronson
4) Mindset – Carol Dweck
5) How to Raise and Adult – Julie Lythcott Haims
6) Can Doesn’t Mean Should – Paul Smolen


Dr. M


Dr. Chris Magryta is a physician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Contact him at newsletter@salisburypediatrics.com

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