Flinging Apples Far from the Tree
(Actually -- Disclaimer: This happened in my house growing up! Dara and I wanted a cat and my parents did all the caretaking. They spoiled us. We helped so very little -- a few chores on weekends and setting the table. That's about it. Why did they do this? Topic for another post...yet I'm going to claim that it wasn't nearly as bad as what's going on now because isn't that always the point of these sorts of arguments...)
My parents recently pointed out to me that we still (Alex and I) feed Wally on occasion. As in, he just sits there like a little king while one of us takes his fork and stabs a green bean with it and brings it up to his mouth. Even though he's perfectly capable of doing it himself, and has been for years. I really don't know why we do it, except that he's tired, and would otherwise stop eating. So, the obvious answer is, let him stop eating. Maybe he's not hungry. Or maybe he just likes to be spoiled. It's fun to be king for a day. Kids don't--should not be expected to--always know what's good for them. Sure he may have "wanted" us to feed him, just like the little girl across the street "wanted" to take gymnastics AND dance AND swim class AND art. But that doesn't mean it's what's best for either one, does it? Father Knows Best is outdated and sexist, but Child Knows Best is a ludicrous surrender, a renunciation of our responsibility as parents. We're making their ladybugs for them, and letting them make major life decisions. Something is clearly not right.
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