Do My Children REALLY Need Help?

do_my_children_really_need_help Our kids are usually pretty good about doing their lessons; most of the time. However, every once in a while, these kiddos decide they just don’t want to do the work and would rather try to con mom into giving them the answer instead. It can be hard to determine whether they actually need help or are just being lazy.

Normally, I love helping my kids. I help them cook, clean, learn new skills, and have fun with them. The one time I won’t help them is when they aren’t really asking for help, they are looking to get out of work. What’s a mom to do?

Look and Observe – Before simply giving my child an answer to their question, I first want to be sure I’m paying attention and understand if my child needs help. More often than not they know what to do. It’s just faster to ask mom. However, if there’s a genuine need, I want to give them my full attention so we can master this area of learning.

It’s New – Once I look at the work, I need to determine whether or not this is a new skill. Sometimes they need the help and others they are merely intimidated by the newness and want me to tackle it for them. I will walk them through the problem and guide them to finding the answer for themselves. More than likely, they’ll also see additional practice in this area over the next few weeks, just to make sure we master this skill set.

It’s Been a While – Especially after several weeks off (during holiday months), coming back to book work can be a challenge. While these skills may have been taught in the past, it’s been a bit and my kids could use a little help with review. I won’t give them the answers, but I will walk them through the process and guide them to the answer. Additional work over the course of the week might also be an option.

It’s a Lot – Yeah, they know how to do the work; trust me. However, the problems staring them in the face are daunting. The thought of having to work through ten long division problems just isn’t appealing. (And why would it be?) When this concern hits us, I weigh the skill being taught. If this is a skill they’ve done many times, I will usually reduce the amount to be done and watch as they work through the rest. If it’s new, I sit next to them and we walk through all of them with lots of encouragement from mom.

They’re Being Lazy – It happens, even with my kids. The kids have decided they don’t want to do their lessons and figure if they nag mom enough she’ll give in and, in frustration, pick up the pencil to show them how easy it is to work the problem. (It’s been known to happen. Sad, I know.) Sure, I could let it slide and let them do the work another day or pick up the pencil and do the work for them, as mentioned, but what would this teach them? Our kids need to learn that not all work is easy. There are going to be days when we don’t want to finish the work, but that is part of maturing. At that point, the lesson is no longer about the work in front of them, but about teaching them diligence and good work ethic. I will encourage them, but finish the work they will and without me writing the answers in for them!

I Help – Let’s face it, at times we all need help. If the help needed isn’t a matter of shirking responsibility, mommy is more than willing to help. All they have to do is ask!

As parents we want to help our children. Sometimes helping our children means teaching them to help themselves, gaining independence and confidence. I will help our children, if I can, but doing work for them is where I draw the line. Some things they need to do themselves.

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
~ Titus 2:7-8

Your Turn!: How do you determine the difference between your kids needing help and them trying to shirk responsibility?

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5 thoughts on “Do My Children REALLY Need Help?

  1. This is sort of a tangent from your post, but still in the same vein, so hopefully relevant enough and not a distraction! A month or so ago I noticed that although my older children were doing their work independently, the quality was slacking a bit. This was most obvious in piano practice. I had been feeling so good about myself for getting them to be so independent and self motivated, so it was initially kind of a let down when I realized I needed to go back and give them more help even when they weren’t asking for it. (Until I realized, duh! I’m mom! This is my job and why I love it.) So I stopped being selfish with my time and wishing I could just do my own morning routine, and sucked it up and sat back down at the piano (and math lessons, and bedtime routine, too actually) and gave them the help they weren’t asking for but really did need. After I had spent enough time with each kid in their individual pursuits to get them back on the right track, they were ready to go solo again. It got me thinking, sometimes less is more. I completely agree with that. But sometimes more is more, too. The goal is to find the balance. When NOT to help when they ask for it, and when TO help when they don’t ask for it. I’m still mulling my own blog post on that in my mind. Thank you for your post! It really resonated with me – and obviously a lot of other people, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing; this lines up perfectly with our note on “I Help” in this post! There are times our children genuinely need help, and we need to be open to this no matter their age. We don’t want to assume our children are moving along nicely, but instead want to continually be checking in to ensure learning is progressing.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

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