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Stop Enabling Your Kids

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Are you guilty of this?

mom vacuuming while kid yells

Recently, a heated debate broke out in our momlogic community. One mom wondered if she is enabling her teenagers to become lazy slobs by not enforcing rules. She says: "On the weekends, suffering from working mommy guilt, I often pick up their rooms and even bring them breakfast in bed. I empty their trash cans and clean up their bathroom. I don't force them to walk the dog or feed the bird. Aside from cleaning up their dishes and occasionally cooking -- they don't really have regular chores. Am I just nurturing my girls or am I messing up big time?"

At least one mom thinks enablers are messing their kids up big time. BayleesMommy writes: "I am so sick and tired of parents who enable their children. I HATE watching Nanny 911 episodes -- it's like that train wreck thing, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH TODAY'S PARENTS???? Are we scared if we scold them in public, we'll be looked down on or taken to jail? I just don't get it ... These 'kids' are our future and they are children who live and act out with no consequences or boundaries. Since spanking has basically been titled as 'child abuse,' are we just lost on what to do? Does anyone feel this same way?"

Carol says: "I am with you 100% and then some!!! I am that parent who says 'Okay, what did my child do?' I will never be afraid to yell at my children in public if they deserve it. If someone looks down at me, I tell them, 'I'm the parent.'"

Bellangel says: "I have taken my childen to the bathroom while out to dinner with family and during church services, spanked them, washed their face, and told them it will happen again if they don't behave. Guess what? They behaved ... didn't need to talk to them again."

Happymom says: "I am a firm believer of setting boundaries for kids -- they don't know unless we teach them how to act in the real world. It's not something born internally -- it's taught. With that said, I do not spank, hit, or abuse my child. I have never had to and never will!"

What do YOU think? Are YOU enabling YOUR kid?


next: Tina Fey's 3-Year-Old Writes for "30 Rock"
9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cassandra March 4, 2009, 3:07 PM

I totally agree! I have two boys and if I was too scared to spank them for fear of being labeled a child abuser they would be absolutely out of control. I don’t spank them anywhere other than their bottoms and I don’t spank hard enough to leave marks, but I do swat their bottoms so they know that their behavior is unacceptable.

TS Laughter March 4, 2009, 4:08 PM

If my 3 y/o acts up in public, I find the nearest corner and stick her face in it for 3 minutes. We have had time-outs in Target, BJ’s, Wal-Mart and Publix. Once we were outside of BCF having a time out and THREE sets of parents and two old ladies applauded my willingness to discipline my child in public.

I am a single mom and I do not want to spend what little fun time I have with my kid disciplining her. I started disciplining her at 18 months and occasionally she will act out, because she IS only 3 y/o. But overall she is a great kid who listens to me and because of that we get to enjoy our time together. Also, I can take her just about anywhere and not have to worry about her acting out and I think she gets it too in that she is allowed to participate in activities that she night not otherwise get to do.
Just my two “sense”!

Anon March 4, 2009, 4:18 PM

If you don’t teach teens the skills they need to live on their own someday, you are doing them a great disservice. I know. My mom thought she was doing me a favor and would always comment on how spoiled I was by doing the laundry and the vast majority of the housework (mostly because I could never do it myself to a level that would please her, and it was always easier and quicker for her to just do it herself.) The result? Once when I was 18, my college boyfriend asked me to warm up some Chef Boyardee ravioli and I honest to god did not know what to do. I still can’t make sunny-side up eggs or properly iron a blouse and I’m 33 years old. I’m horrible at housework and never seem to be able to figure out the easy way to do things. And I’ll be damned if I do the same to my daughter when she gets older.

The Mother March 4, 2009, 4:43 PM

YES, we are enabling our kids.

From the 3 year old walking around with a pacifier because mom doesn’t want to get into a conflict, to the teenagers who walk all over their parents because they are too busy tiptoeing around their fragile egos, we are raising a generation of incompetent kids.

No wonder the parents have to hang around at college for so long.

sick of it March 5, 2009, 10:49 AM

We set our kid in time out and it has improved her behavior so much. Now we can take her almost anywhere (she is 2) and not have to worry about it. I cannot stand watching any parenting show on tv, they make me sick! And it’s not just parents who are to blame, many teachers let kids get away with so much as well. Ok, let me take back the teacher thing, maybe it is because of over-protective parents willing to get the teacher fired over correcting their child’s behavior.

Kelli March 10, 2009, 11:21 AM

I was spanked, my mom and dad were spanked and it helped us become successful and respectful of our parents and authority. I didn’t get spanked for everything I did but when I deserved it I did get spanked. But my parents never abused us and they loved me and my sisters. Telling parents not to spank their children is just another way to make money by getting parents to BUY THIS DVD OR BOOK on how to discipline your child. Set boundaries, spank when necessary and give positive reinforcement. I do that for my son and he’s ok. I don’t abuse him and he knows he is loved and well taken care of. Kids need and want discipline and I would not be doing my job as a parent if I didn’t do that.

Michelle  March 29, 2009, 1:23 PM

Yes I am enabling my kids. I don’t believe in spanking. My parents spanked me when I was younger and it left such a lasting impression that I decided I would never do this to my own children.

Elizabeth April 1, 2009, 6:26 AM

I have 3 children living with me 12, 21, and 23, and a 1 yr old grandchild. I am enabling all three of them. My two older ones give me a hard time about paying rent, i let me grandaughter have her own room and let my 12 year old sleep with me. I know this is wrong but I don’t know how to make them do things the way I want them to do because I don’t want conflict.

Jennifer Grahan November 27, 2009, 11:23 AM

My boyfriend has a 24 year old daughter who refuses to work after completing college 3 years ago she is busy having grandma cosign loans and flying all over!! She has the nerve to discuss in public about defaulting on student loans and asked what would happen if she did not pay back loan grandma cosigned for. She refuses to pay rent as friends apartments. She thinks everyone loves her, stays up until 4am, treats my apartment with no respect, does not get up for breakfastI have made, has caused her dad to be late for work,while visiting due to her not getting up. She always tells her dad..I will look in a month. She sets herself up not to work. Same for her brother, refues to get a job, sister has told brother to take a semester off from school that dad is paying for!!! It is causing so much stress for me. He is a friend not a parent. These kids know he will not stand his ground. I am at the end of my rope. I am sick of it.


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