Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mom To the Rescue!

I forget things all the time. It's rare that I walk out of the house without having to run back in to grab something I forgot. Just a few weeks ago, I walked out without my keys, but I did remember to bring my kids, and to lock the door behind me. I found myself outside in the cold with no keys for the car, and no way to get back into the house.

So what did I do? Since I knew my husband was unreachable, naturally, I called my parents. First I called my Dad, hoping that the extra key for my house was at his house, only three miles away. When he couldn't find it, I called my Mom, who was at work. She had the key!

Unfortunately, Mom said, I could bring it to you, but I'm not going to. You have to learn you can't forget your key. How will you learn if I just bring it to you?

I'm kidding, of course! She absolutely did not say that. Quite the opposite, in fact. She offered to leave her busy job right away, to come and rescue me and my children. And if she could not have left right away, she would have figured out another way to get my key to me.

This is why I cringed when I was sitting at a presentation about parenting and education earlier this week, and a so-called expert gave this advice (and the audience of parents spontaneously applauded):
If your child calls you from school saying he forgot his lunch or his gym shoes, JUST DON'T BRING IT TO HIM. He has to take control of his own life, and if you swoop in and rescue him, he will never be independent.
I am really happy my parents never listened to this advice when I when I was younger. I am lucky I don't have to be afraid to call them when I need help because I did something silly like lock myself out of the house.

Children are humans, just like us adults. They make mistakes and forget things, just like we do. If someone in my life, including (especially) one of my children, makes a mistake, and I can help her recover from it, I jump at the chance.

If my child forgets something or otherwise makes a mistake, I will certainly not withhold help for the sake of teaching a lesson about independence. I don't want them to learn that they have to figure everything out by themselves.

Instead, the lessons I want my children to learn from these situations are about me...
  1. That I am understanding and trustworthy. 
  2. That they can depend on me, and I will always do whatever I can to help them. 
  3. That sometimes I need to depend on other people too, and that's all right.
 These are things I hope they never forget.


  1. LOVE THIS. And if I haven't told you already, I love your banner pic too. :-)

  2. Thanks Jen! It's one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. And glad you like the post too. :)

  3. Wonderful post and PERFECT example of how adults and children are treated so differently. It's really appalling the more you start to notice it!

  4. Oh my goodness, thank you for writing this! I agree 100% ! My parents were like that, they'd bring us our stuff when we would forget (and they caught flak for it.) But I would do that for my kids too. I think this sort of general attitude on our part as parents helps our kids to grow up MORE confident, MORE secure, -and yes, even independent!- because they know that "hey, someone's in my corner, there for me, fighting for me." It is so important.. It's what family is all about!
    I seriously love this post. :)

  5. I'm noticing the difference in how children are treated more and more and it really bothers me as well. This situation seems like it is socially acceptable to rub mistakes in children's faces as if saying "I told you so!" which would be bad form when interacting with anyone else. I'm glad more parents are noticing this though.

  6. It's so true that some things we are told to do to our children "for their own good" would be dealbreakers in most adult relationships. I really like to expose those kinds of things, because I believe that children deserve better. Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  7. I found your blog today and I'm actually madly in love with you. A mommy blogger who's even more out of the parenting box than I am. I love it.

  8. @pluckymama, Thanks so much! I am flattered. :)

  9. OMG. I feel terrible. I have refused to take in a forgotten PE kit for the reasons quoted. Thank you for the look from another perspective...

  10. I have a horrible memory and I am forever losing things. Being punished for it has never helped me remember any better. What IS helpful is working together to find solutions.

    It also amazes me how many people expect children, with far fewer experiences and resources, to be 100% while adults are given second chances for their mistakes. If your child forgot his lunch once, don't be an ass about it. If it's a regular occurrence, find a solution that helps him.

  11. Great post!

    I do believe that natural consequences are the best teacher, but definitely with a balanced approach. I would have to take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the situation, the age of the child, patterns of behaviour, etc. before deciding to help out or let nature be my child's guide.

  12. My parents are the same way. After my son was born, I locked my kids IN the house, all asleep. My parents left their grocery cart to come rescue me. Sadly, it was the 2nd time that week.

    I am so thankful that I have parents who rescue me. We live in a world where people think we need to survive on our own, no help from outside sources.

    I am blushing though, that I may have said the whole "sorry you forgot it, not gonna bring it" to my kids. Well, if they forget lunch, I don't bring it, because they CAN get a school bought lunch. LOL. :)

    You make so much sense.

  13. Thanks everyone for the new comments!

    @Jane and Amy D, Glad it makes sense now. :)

    @Laura, That is a crazy thing. Why should we expect our children to be perfect? And why should we punish them for the same kinds of mistakes we make ourselves? It makes no sense!

    @Chantelle and Leslie, Thanks for the support!