Are You a Good Parent?

I have a confession! I have never taught any of my three kids how to tie their shoelaces. Nope. Never have I ventured into the world of bunny ears and crisscrossing a tree. I recall knowing how to tie my own laces as a kid, and it did me absolutely no good. They were always untied. My friends, the neighborhood kids, and the kids in school always ran, sprinted, and skipped with long snakelike laces trailing in the wind. Fast forward, now with kids of my own, as THEIR parent, I decided I wasn't going to spend the time teaching a seemingly needless task. Velcro, slip-on's and tieless laces were my saving grace.

I have many other scenarios like this one, but they don't always end with what I WON'T do for them. As it happens, it may be what I DO for them that may make other parents look at me somewhat sideways.

Case in point, teeth brushing! I brush my kids' teeth until I feel they have the proper hand-eye coordination to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny crevice independently. Sure, I no longer brush my adult son's teeth, but for the other two, the cutoff is 11, and only because my now 12-year-old refused to let me have a go at it. Once you hit eleven years old, I unenthusiastically give in to the notion that they may be in a better place to take care of their pearly whites (however, still having to coerce them into the actual bathroom to do so). I have come across many parents praising their five-year-olds for brushing their own teeth, and the idea of a piece of broccoli stuck in the dark recesses of their molars for more than 24 hours makes me want to dig deep into a jarful of anxiety medication. "Give me that toothbrush and open wide; I'm going in."

Two of my little parenting secrets are now out in the universe.

Let the judgments begin. "Ladies and Gentleman of the Jury! Will my actions above stop my kids from being fully functioning, independent citizens? I present to you my oldest son. Now 23, he graduated from MSU, with honors and already bagged a job in his career choice. Not to mention, he set and met the goal of leaving school without debt (without parental contributions) and growing an enviable credit score. He may still not be able to tie his laces (may he forgive my declaration of that in public), but he can definitely secure a mortgage loan on his own." (Mic drop)

Some of my mommy friends carry the same burden of concern on their already heavily occupied shoulders.

  • Mommy A is worried if still bathing her kids will inhibit their independence. I reassured her that her kids are some of the kindest and most well-spoken kids I know. Not to mention their ability to interact respectfully with adults.

  • Mommy B expressed her concern that she may not be giving her son enough chores to help him understand responsibility. I told her that her amazing kid never has to be rem