I had a houseful of children, but now even my “baby” is an adult. But I have a dog-a little one, with curly hair. His name is Sam, and he looks like a cute and cuddly teddy bear, fits in my lap, and is small enough to be carried. I guess he’s my “baby,” now-at least that’s what everyone tells me.

Sam is getting older and finds it a little hard to climb up and down our stairs unless someone rings the doorbell. It’s especially difficult for him in the mornings, and when I call him to go for our morning walk, it can be a slow process to convince him to come down the stairs. He comes down one stair at a time with an occasional rest in between. Since I’m usually in a hurry to get moving, occasionally, I run up the stairs and scoop him up in my arms and carry him down.Let Them Go

I find that since doing that a couple of times, it’s even harder to get him to come down independently. He seems to be hoping that I will come up the stairs and pick him up. Sam has decided, in fact, that he rather enjoys being carried.

Do you see where I’m going with this one? I think we all enjoy being carried at one time or the other. Many people would prefer to have others do for them instead of doing for themselves. Isn’t that the motivation behind having servants or hired help? As a parent, the danger lies in letting your “babies” continue to be babies even when they are past the baby stage. Sometimes we want to carry them longer than is good for them or us.

If we want to raise children that will grow into independent adults, we need to teach them the skills that will enable them to do just that.

  • Teach them life skills: how to make simple meals, how to do their own laundry, personal care skills (hygiene), nutrition, and how to grocery shop
  • Give them chores, so they understand the responsibilities of managing a home: cleaning, taking out the garbage, recycling
  • Help them learn to work, develop talents and skills, and take care of their own homework
  • Teach them how to manage money and to spend responsibly
  • Encourage them to save
  • Teach them how to set goals and show them how they can achieve them
  • Remind them that it’s a big world and that we all have a part in making it better. Teach them to share what they have with others.

It’s more work, and it takes time to teach your children these skills when they are young, but if you do, your adult children will be able to take care of themselves.

What’s the best lesson you’ve EVER taught your kids?