At what age do you consider it right to have your kids pack their own lunch for school? Smart parenting behavior determines this age based on one goal.
Raising the kids to be independent.
I very rarely listen to the radio when driving but the other day I had the radio on as I was a driving with a colleague.
As it was just the start of the school semester the two DJs on the station my radio was on were discussing various school life related issues.
One issue that really caught my colleague and I’s attention was what age it’s best for a parent to stop packing lunch for a school going child.
One of the DJs was asked by his colleague when his mother stopped packing lunch for him.
He said his mom never stopped packing lunch for him.
I was motified!
Here was a man, almost 30 years old having no shame to admit, over radio, that his mother packed his lunch well into his early 20s.
Some people just have no sense of shame.
The ill raised DJ said he only learned to make his own lunch after he left his parents’ home.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement.
I honestly didn’t believe there are parents in this day and age who think it’s good parenting to continue packing lunch for their kids past the age of 10 years old.
My 7 year old packs her own lunch for heavens’ sack.
Raising dependent kids
While it is the right thing to do for a parent to prepare school lunch, it certainly is irresponsible if that parent packs that lunch for a kid who can can do that task for him or herself.
While those parents who continue making & packing lunch for their kids past the age when kids should be making or preparing lunch for themselves mean well, they’re doing their kids a huge disservice.
These kids don’t learn to be independent.
The dependency caused by parents packing lunch for their kids was demonstrated clearly when the DJ whose mom packed lunch for him into his 20s was asked a follow up question.
He was asked if there is anything he would change about his childhood.
With a voice full of emotion he ventured to say that he would ask his mom to not do so much stuff for him.
He would rather have her let him things for himself.
Opportunities to instill independence
If you can use your own hands, you can walk to the fridge and are past Grade 1, you make your own lunch.
It’s that simple.
Unless you want your friends at school to have their own lunch while you watch and have nothing, then packing what you feed yourself is your responsibility.
Plain and simple.
Tough love? Maybe.
But I know one thing for sure. Our kids will look to nobody but themselves to take care of their basic needs by the time they leave our house.
The importance of teaching independence
Instilling the desire to be independent and self sufficient has to start early if it is to take deep roots in a child.
The inclination to provide food for one’s offspring is a natural instinct.
I get that.
That is why we, as parents work hard at our jobs or businesses.
To provide the supply of food, shelter and training for when the child has to leave our care.
In a world in which the competition for business and jobs is as stiff as it obviously is in the economy of today, and the future, I don’t see how raising kids without a strong desire for independence can be service to the said kids.
So while such an innocent thing as packing lunch might be taken lightly, it definitely breeds a whole stack of negative outcomes in the life of a child as he or she gets into the real world.
Won’t they take cookies to school if they pack their own lunch?
Kids will not take cookies, or other forms of junk food for that matter, to school if there are no cookies to take.
Or if there are stiff consequences attached to taking extra cookies above the daily allotment.
If we agree that 2 cookies per day get into the lunch bag and for some weird reason the cookie numbers don’t don’t add up during the end week cookie accounting, then one can rest assured that she will get cookies same time the following year.
Actions have consequences.
An insidious spirit of dependence
Kids who grow up having stuff done for them develop into adults who are dependent on other people for things they can learn to do for themselves.
These kids are raised to be lazy.
I know of a very intelligent young man whose parents did everything for him growing up all through his years at university.
To the parents, doing everything for their son – who was studying engineering at university – was their reward for his hard work in school.
They cooked meals for him while he was in college, came over to his university dorm to collect his dirty clothes for laundering as well as did many other things that this young could easily have done for himself.
Now the boy is 25 years old, can’t find a job, has had to move back with the parents and is fully convinced he can’t build a career outside of chemical engineering.
Love your kids but don’t handicap them by doing for them things they should be learning to do for themselves.
Children are young once and the moment the opportunity to teach and train them is gone as the grow, our window is lost.
What do you think? Do you like lazy people? Who is to blame when a person is lazy? The lazy person or the person who raised the person to be lazy?
Let us know your thoughts.