Good Parenting or Enabling?

kids in yardDear Susan,

Am I an Enabler?

Here’s the background:  I’m lucky enough to call myself a SAHM.  I have two elementary aged children (2nd and 4th grades) who go to school.  In the summers we have a lot of fun and although we can’t afford fabulous trips, we have a lot of fun playing all summer long.  My husband and I have decided that I don’t need to go “back to work” and I’m enjoying volunteering, keeping house, and taking care of my kids.  But my other mom friends, some SAHMs, some with careers, think I do too much for my kids.  But I don’t want my kids doing chores or making their lunches.  I want to give them the kind of childhood I never had.  I grew up with a single mom and very little money.  I had too much responsibility and not enough fun time.  I want my kids to be able to relax and have fun!  If I’m home, why can’t I just do the work and let them relax before they grow up?


Love My Life,

Dear Love My Life,

I am sorry you did not enjoy your childhood.  But what you describe for your children may be an example of an overcorrection on your part.  And now to answer your original question:  You are enabling your children (but you’re a loving, well-intentioned enabler).  I hope that didn’t sting too much.

I understand that you want the best for your children.  That’s great.  But think about what you’re really teaching your children.  Is it better for your children to learn to be served or to learn to serve others?  Is it better for your children to learn that they have no responsibilities or to learn how to manage the responsibilities they’re given?  Is it better for your children to relax and have fun or to enjoy an authentic, healthy self-esteem for work well-done?

If you continue on your current parental path, you are in danger of creating entitled children.  What is to become of your children when you are no longer doing everything for them?  It is essential that children learn how to clean a home, manage finances, and participate in household responsibilities.  These responsibilities allow children to feel a part of their family, to experience intrinsic satisfaction and exhibit an authentic, healthy self-esteem.  And, best of all, they’ll learn how to feel grateful for what they have.

Do your children a favor and give them the gift of responsibilities.  By doing so you will also be giving Society the gift of two responsible, humble adults who know how to think of others first.


Susan Eppley

Leadership Parenting Coach, Speaker, Parent & Child Educator


About Susan Morley (22 Posts)

Susan Morley is a parent coach, credentialed educator, speaker, and mother. She offers common-sense and non-judgmental advice to parents of children of all ages. Her warm, humorous, yet no-nonsense approach to child-rearing makes her a pied piper to children and adults alike. For more information visit her site.

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