Making kids self-sufficient

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’ve been a teacher for many years. I’m a single mom of two who are married and have young kids.

I’m concerned about our children today. Their parents seem to do everything for them except think. Even that is debatable.

When “Susie Q” leaves her homework on her bed, or her lunch on the counter, or her phone at home, she wants her parents to bring it to her. I’m not talking about a 7-year-old; she’s in high school.

The same for “Johnny” who blamed me for lowering his grade on a science project when he forgot to bring it in on time. He yelled at me and we had a conference with his parents and the principal. I was scolded for not accommodating him!

I explained this to my own kids. One said the reason she was a happy adult was because she learned how to figure things out on her own. The other said I taught him to be self-sufficient, which makes him a better father and husband.

My problem is, I don’t how to help my students to be more responsible, when their parents don’t see it that way.

Troubled teacher

Dear Troubled,

You’re a good example of being accountable, dependable and conscientious.

Based on this, we offer a few ideas to help parents raise self-sufficient kids:

• Expect your teens to get themselves up in the morning, make their own breakfast and lunch, practice good grooming, gather their homework, extra-curricular items and projects for school.

• Expect your kids to be at home for dinner every night, unless they ask to miss dinner. Expect them to use proper manners, assist in food and table preparation, and help with dishes.

• Expect your kids to learn to do their own paperwork for school, jobs, and college. Help only when necessary.

• Expect your teens to remember their “stuff.” Do not bring their stuff to school for them. Kids must learn that parents can’t save them when they are at college or work.

• Hold short weekly meetings about projects due and materials needed.

• Expect your teens to learn how to do their laundry, clean, and pick up after themselves.

• Don’t become over-involved in your kids activities but support them whole-heartedly.

These are reasonable and necessary life skills.

Thank you for your goodness, strength and care for our future generations of leaders.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri