Ferberizing My Teens
When I was 16, I had a part-time job 20 hours a week after school and on weekends. I made my own bed, breakfast and lunch, knew how to make coffee for my parents and fold laundry. Sad to say, my kids know how to do none of the above and I have no one to blame but myself for their ineptitude.
I have given my kids very few chores to do around the house. They have to feed the dog and load their dishes into the dishwasher after dinner. Most of the time the dishes do get loaded by them, but feeding the dog (for whom my daughter lobbied for years) typically gets done after multiple reminders.
One of my New Year's resolutions this year was to teach my kids more responsibility and train them to become more independent. My friend Jen termed this "Ferberizing Your Teen". Anyone who had a baby who didn't sleep through the night is likely familiar with Dr. Ferber's book "Solving your Child's Sleep Problems". Dr. Ferber was my sleep guru and he basically taught me that in order for your baby to sleep through the night, they need to rely on self-soothing to get back to sleep when they wake up during the night. Parents shouldn't come into the baby's room at every whimper to rock them, pick them up or stick a pacifier in their mouths. In order to accomplish this, you basically have to allow the baby to cry themselves back to sleep to break them of the bad sleep habits that you (the parent) helped create.
So how to "Ferberize" my two teens? Changing habits that have been created over 13 and 16 years respectively is not easy. Frankly, it takes me a minute to feed Roxy and at least five minutes to corral my kids downstairs to do the same. It is easier to do it myself sometimes, but as of January 2010 I am taking the extra time to make them do it. Through past actions, they have gotten wise to the fact that I will pick up their slack and that thus far there have been no consequences if they forget their chores.Continued on the next page