My dad was just too paranoid about the whole knives thing. I don't think I even peeled my own apple until I was 9 or 10. I did have good fine motor control though, from playing piano since the age of 6. Dad just didn't trust us with sharp implements.
My mom was a great sewer. People used to freak out because from the time I could crawl, I would crawl around under her sewing area and pick up all the pins she dropped. I seem to have survived. I think it depends on the kid, but I also really believe that we don't give young children enough credit for what they can do. I ran a sewing machine for the first time at 4 years old. It never occurred to my mom that I wouldn't be able to. All my siblings and I helped with dinner, set the table, did dishes, starting at about 3 years old. We didn't handle the good crystal or china, but I don't remember breaking anything. I was a little younger because I was determined to keep up to my older sister. My mom jokes that she had to start bedtime early because before I turned 2 I was insisting on doing all the buttons up on the shirt of my pj's. It took a long time but I was apparently very persistent.
I can clearly remember when I was about 10 years old, my mother joked that it was okay if she died now because we all knew how to set the table properly and make dinner. She was obviously joking but making sure her kids were self sufficient and confident was always a big thing with her.
A good rant is cathartic. Ranting is what keeps me sane. They always come from a different place. Take the prime minister, for example. Sometimes when I rant about him, I am angry; other times, I am just severely annoyed - it's an important distinction. - Rick Mercer
I saw that this weekend with a craft event. The little girl was about 5 or 6 and wanted to sew the project. The mom said No, I don't know how to sew, you can't do it. Her mom freaked out when her daughter picked up the threaded needle and the little girl said MOM I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!!!! And she started a running stitch. The mom asked, How do you know how to do that? She said, At Auntie J's. That when she goes over to her house she learns to sew.
People don't give enough credit to small children and their abilities.
Exactly. My son sets the table, clears the table, wipes his own butt (though admittedly i help, since he misses a lot, ), and the like. He is a product of Montessori which is all about independence, and that helps too.
I remember going over to my sister's place once when she had her 8-month-old daughter sitting in the high chair picking grapes off the stem and putting them in a bowl. It just amused me to have a child that young doing something that was actually useful labor. But from the kid's point of view not much different than manipulating beads or blocks, unless she was able to understand that she was contributing to the preparation of the dinner.
And later my nephew definitely enjoyed chopping vegetables by the time he was 4, although he still doesn't like to eat them.
Wasn't this book review discussed in an earlier thread here?
I could bake a batch of cookies or make a dinner by myself by the time I was ten.
My nearly 18 year old nephew, on the other hand, was babied to death by his mother and only began using a stove in the last few months since he moved in with his dad. His mother insisted he was "too young" to use it and might get burn himself or otherwise get hurt. He was only allowed to use the microwave and barely knew how to do that.
I don't know when everyone decided kids are helpless and must be protected from every possible even minor injury.
I just read this with my daughter...it's about a society that goes so far to protect their children, they are chained with a thin silver chain to an adult for all but sleeping and when sleeping their are chained to the bed. http://www.amazon.com/Museum-Thieves.../dp/0385739052
I do wish that parents could trust their children more with stuff. They could help out more AND feel more able. Part of my wish to weightlift as much as possible is because my dad still doesn't think I can. He freaks out if I lift anything more than 10 lbs. WELL DAD, I'M DOING 100 LB SQUATS, WHAT ABOUT THAT, HUH???
My grandmother cooked and cleaned for herself, her mother and eight siblings starting at age ten after her father died. Her mother worked the fields with the oldest three boys while my grandmother, the oldest daughter, ran the household and watched the younger children. It was a matter of survival and keeping the family together.
I think a huge part of it is having confidence (and the wherewithal) to handle stress and change. Your grandmother was an amazing woman, and you're right. In a situation like that, it is about survival. Many babied young people nowadays aren't even resourceful enough to figure out the most basic things, like how to get around without a car.
My first college roommate was like that. She called her mother to mail her more Dove body wash (from NYC to LA ) when she ran out. I told her that I could stop at Target on my bus route back from the ice rink, and buy some for her. I didn't even take the bus regularly before college, but I didn't have a car so the bus was gonna be how I got around. I looked up stops and schedules and I managed. But some of my peers really had no clue where to even start. Just yesterday I was helping two people (both in their early 20s) look up information on the internet so they could start applying to school or researching career information. I have no idea where my resourcefulness comes from, but that does seem to be lacking judging from interactions with my peers...
My roommate became more resourceful in later college years, but even my mother was aghast at how helpless she was the first year.
I am a pre-k teacher and I stress a lot of independence in my classroom as I am the only teacher in a room of 12 kids. At snack and lunch time, I pour the milk or juice into a measuring cup and the children then pour their own juice into cups. At lunch, I let the set up lunch as a buffet, I serve the children the main course but they help themselves to the fruit or veggie that is being offered that day. The children are responsible for throwing out their garbage when they are finished and for wiping up any spills that occur. When snack consists of crackers and jelly or bagels and cream cheese, I give the children a plastic knife so they can spread their own jelly or cream cheese. All this makes them feel very grown up. Many of the parents in my class have come to me to tell me they see this new independence and responsibility carrying over at home.
The ones that bug me are the skating parents who even when their kids are in their 20s they are still controlling what their kids do in skating.
When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.
I learned to bake cookies first, I think, though Mom was very careful about the oven and the Cuisnart blade. I do this for a living now and no way would I give a really little kid a knife that was sharp enough and big enough to be effective and safe (anything shorter than a 6" utility's really not big enough to be safe to do big cutting jobs with) or dull as that's dangerous. I spent too much time around kids and with knives to trust most of them with bladed weapons.
I can't remember learning to do laundry, but I seem to recall thinking it was fun. I *can* sew, but I hate it, especially making clothes--even the "easy" patterns just seem to be too much work. Mom still makes anything complicated (heck, now she's making reversible bags for my etsy store as she made one for me I carried at World Steam and everyone loved it! I keep telling her, if she could make bulk/generic size versions of the driving coat she made me, she'd make a killing on it--everyone says "Is that from Simplicity #whatever? I have that pattern, I'm too scared to make it!")
I started doing my own laundry around 11, after too many times of wanting to wear something and finding that it was still in the wash I also did all my own repairs (buttons, tears, and of course in those days, taking in jeans ) because my dear mother's way of dealing with the sewing was to wait until we grew out of the clothes.
Mom always involved us in baking, so at a young age were making cookies and candies with friends, I think I baked my dad a meatloaf for the first time when I was about 8 (Betty Crocker's recipe card file - who remembers??), and given that my mom worked and I was also a picky eater, often made my own dinner too. As for sewing, I was making doll stuff very young and doing embroidery kits, and by about 11 had my own fully stocked sewing kit.
One day at the in-laws, my MIL declared that she thought kids should be free to go out and play, and that's why she made her sons' beds until they left home. I turned to my husband and said "you know that was just an excuse to go in your room every day" - he glared at her, she looked away.
Anyway, agree with all those that say kids can take on a lot more than some parents think, and the experience usually bodes well for them later in life.
I am one of those kids who didn't do a single housework until I went to college. It was study! study! and study!! for me. I had at least two (private) extra classes per day (one is school work related, the other one language class). By the time I was done with the two classes it was time for dinner. And then I have to do hw for school and those extra classes... )
I never had any difficulty doing laundry, cooking and other chores though... I found them easy to do... Especially when I'm doing it for myself and therefore can do it however I like...
There must be a difference between us (who are resourceful and perfectly capable of cooking and doing laundry, but weren't expected to) and the young people who are too scared to even try. I never grew up thinking that such activities were hard, they just took time and mine was better spent studying. What my parents taught me was that I could learn to do whatever I wanted, if I put in the time and effort.
I even taught my mom how to knit the last time I saw her, because I had learned on my own.
First and foremost, take care of yourself and do what's best for you. Going down with the ship is never the answer.
Second, if you feel like you have the energy and inclination to help your friend through suggestion, example, support, then go for it. Just remember, the child is not yours. You can't commit to a "program" that the mother doesn't support. You can't parent from the sidelines either.
Anita18--You called my grandmother courageous in an earlier post. You have no idea. Her mother died eight years after her father. She and her older brothers (and one had died before their mother), ran the farm and took care of the younger ones on their own to keep their family together. And this was during the Depression. She and her siblings (they are all deceased now) were the strongest most incredible people I have ever known or ever will know.