What type of Parent are you? To determine, here’s some real-life scenarios for you:
1. Your Baby is 1 year old. Do you,
a) Teach your child to put away her own toys, OR
b) Feel that she’s still too young and diligently helps put her toys back
2. Your Baby is 2.5 years old. Do you,
a) Expect her to learn how to wear her own shoes without your help, OR
b) Kneels down and put on socks/shoes for her because “it’s faster and she still doesn’t know how to do it.”
3. Your Baby is 3 years old. Do you,
a) Sit at the bench when bringing him to the playground, assisting only when necessary, OR
b) Hover around him like a helicopter “in case he gets hurt” and chases him with dinner at the same time.
The scenarios are both a combination of our own and other friends’ experiences.
Generally, both K and I agreed that O should cultivate a habit of putting away his own toys since young. We took it one step further by reminding him to keep one toy before taking out another one.
The logic behind that is it’ll encourage the child to focus and play longer with a certain toy before moving on to the next one.
K and I have slightly differing parenting methods and whilst it’s all good and understandable when O was still a baby, I’m starting to see a certain reliance he has on Daddy which isn’t altogether healthy since he’s growing up.
See, I’ve been teaching O to take off his own shoes when he reaches home and he usually does it without much difficulties.
Then one day, K came home early and we fetch him from school together. When we arrived at our door step, O suddenly “cannot” take off his shoes and whined for Daddy to help him. K was about to oblige when I stopped him and noted that our son can do it on his own.
When O sensed that Daddy wasn’t going to help him, he threw a tantrum and refused to take off his shoes.
The thing is, it’s not that Oliver “can’t” do it. He just doesn’t “want” to do it.
I mean, why do your own laundry when you have someone else to do it right? Heh heh heh…
I also noticed the same behaviour at the playground. He’ll suddenly become impaired when negotiating ladders or steps, wanting to be carried when K is around. In contrast, all I have to do is utter words of encouragement alongside him and he’ll automatically step up his game.
To sum it up, our dear son has master the art of Learned Helplessness.
In light of that, both K and I started asking him to put on and remove his own shoes. We praise him when he does it correctly and after a week, he’s doing it with a proud smile.
And instead of hovering around him during his free play, K joined me in sitting at the sidelines. What came out of it was, O started playing with other kids instead of whining for Daddy to follow him every step of the way.
It was really cute.
He’s also more independent and responsible.
Most importantly, I’m enjoying my role as lazy parent.