"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
Our God-given role as parents is to use the 18 or so years that He has given us with our children under our care, and train them up to be fully functioning, independent, responsible adults. In my family, we call this Responsibility Training. As a child becomes developmentally capable (both physically and emotionally) of handling a task related to her own care, we give her the responsibility for that task, even if it means messes and tears and mistakes that require correction and redirecting along the way, as she learns to master the task required of her. It takes a lot more work to parent this way, but in the long run, I believe you end up with a well-adjusted, high functioning child who is better prepared to face the world beyond the protection of home.
A general timeline for some aspects of Responsibility Training:
20 Minutes of Grace."
|Smooch at play-|
generally means a lot of messes!
3) Feeding -- once a baby starts on solid food, usually around 6 months, you can give her the responsibility of feeding herself. By this age, she has already begun to master the skill of grabbing for things, and is beginning to fine-tune her pincer grasp (thumb & forefinger). Picking up food is an excellent skill-building task. With Smooch, we started on soft foods like avacado and sweet potato in small chunks that she could grasp but wouldn't choke on. It took several days of trying before she began to figure it out, but eventually, she got it. Allowing her to feed herself as often as possible meant that by 9 months, she was completely transitioned to table food, and we could simply give her small portions of whatever we were eating. When the food being served did not lend itself to finger food (ie. yogurt, applesauce, etc), we certainly used utensils with her, and when she showed an interest, would allow her to grasp the spoon/ fork and put it into her own mouth. At about 11 months, she began trying to scoop the food out of the bowl herself, and even though it makes a royal mess, I still let her try as often as she wants. Its a learning process, and it doesn't come easy, but she's getting it.
|Silly girl! Pants don't go |
on your head!
"Incidentally, all of this requires parental awareness of what their role actually is. Parenting is not about being in control of everything in your children's lives.
A good parent understands that there are about eighteen years in which to equip children with the knowledge and skills that will carry them through the rest of their lives.
Spending too much of this time as boss will mean that your job will never be done—an unhappy outcome for all."
(excerpt from Growing Child 'Grandma Says' www.GrowingChild.com/FreeGrandmaSays)