A lot of my expectations of my own kids are based on my idea that if any kids ever have been capable of something, I can't see why my kids wouldn't be.
Note -- this philosophy does not extend to things like this:
But my idea that I can leave my kids home alone while I run to the grocery store IS based mostly on this:
The more I've read about children in other eras and other countries, and the more children I've had myself, the more I've realized that they are capable of much more than our society expects of them.
So, here are a few things I've learned to expect from my own children:
They do not need access to food at all times. I carry snacks for the baby only, everyone else is perfectly capable of waiting until mealtimes (or a convenient snack time) to eat.
My school-age kids can entertain themselves without my help and/or supervision, sometimes quite capably.
The big kids can also go for walks and bike rides and little outings to the convenience store or a neighborhood restaurant or park all by themselves (together).
They can understand that they are allowed to get up in the morning and get breakfast for themselves, but that they are not allowed to scrounge about in the refrigerator or pantry at other times of the day.
|Hey, nobody's perfect.|
All of my three years olds, have been able to sit (and stand, and kneel) quietly through church without snacks or books or toys. Some of my two years olds have been able to manage it.
Basically, my point is that children throughout time and all over the world, until just recently and right around here, have been expected to be responsible, and uncomplaining, and hungry, and cold, and non-entertained, and adaptable, and helpful, and sometimes even quiet.
I have found that it is possible for my children to be those things, if only I will expect it of them and parent accordingly.