Addressing an envelope and placing a stamp on it or looking up a word in the dictionary may be old-school at this point, but this is a problem:
Second-graders who can’t tie shoes or zip jackets. Four-year-olds in Pull-Ups diapers. Five-year-olds in strollers. Teens and preteens befuddled by can openers and ice-cube trays. College kids who’ve never done laundry, taken a bus alone or addressed an envelope.
Are they a product of our society’s current weirdness- a handicap of helicopter parents, non-existent or barely existing boundaries? Just general over protection? Or is it a case of technology taking over menial tasks? Or both?
We’re looking at kids who can’t use a can opener, get ice out of the tray, who don’t have any chores around the house (and aren’t expected to). We’re creating/molding kids that aren’t able to do anything for themselves-dependent and passive:
Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter “literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else.”
It’s true we don’t have to ‘tend the farm’ much anymore, and those sort of skill sets are a bit outdated, but you can still learn to use the can opener, even if it is electronic. Although, that might be deemed ‘too dangerous’ for kids these days. After all, kids aren’t allowed to use butter knives in some schools because it could be a potential weapon. (Remember that episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution where the school kids were using spoons and their hands to eat? Yeahhh.)
Set boundaries! Give your kids chores! Say no if you have to! Tell them to put down the phone/game/etc., go outside and learn stuff. Or clean up their room. Or the dishes.
(For the record, my kid can use a can opener, uses a real-deal butter knife and fork to eat-gasp! the danger!-and she’s starting to get chores. We’re starting small, though, since she’s 6)
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