Save. Spend. Splurge.

My mother thinks I’m going to be too hard on my children

Totally random post, but just the other day as we’re talking about Baby Bun, I voiced a few opinions about how I planned on raising my children.

  1. Giving them responsibilities (tasks and chores without any expectation of money)
  2. No allowance
  3. Expecting a minimum standard of working hard and trying hard in school (their only “job”)
  4. Letting them make their own mistakes and fail without stepping in to bail them out each time
  5. Being a well-behaved, polite member of society
  6. Making them understand that I’m the one in charge, not them; I will listen to them but ultimately, I decide.
  7. Always mean what I say, which includes giving ultimatums and following through on them
  8. Not allowing any negotiation at the table when it comes time to eat — don’t want to eat? Fine, go hungry.

My mom gives me a look and says:

Your poor Baby Bun.

So many expectations! You’re going to be so tough on your kids..

 Please give them a childhood, a life!!!

I thought about it and replied:

Just because you never expected anything out of us and we turned out okay, doesn’t mean my kids will end up the same way.

Who knows?

I could do everything the best I can as a parent, and they might still end up as bums.

Of course, I should mention that my mother is speaking from growing up in poverty, having had a cheated childhood because she had to worry about food, money and basically surviving a dog-eat-dog world all the time.

My parents never pushed us for anything. Never helped us with homework, helped us with anything school-related, or asked us to do anything, not even chores.

I feel really guilty now, thinking back to how my mother quietly worked like a house elf while we grew up without a care or notion in the world of having any responsibility and what it meant.

As a result, this will not be the case for my kids.




I am still going to give my kids a childhood, we’ll go biking and do lots of fun things that have nothing to do with learning and studying. I plan on giving them lots of free time within reason.

However the reality is that life is not just about fun all the time, and I think as a society we’re allowing children to grow lazy, irresponsible and to expect that life will stay like that forever.

It’s kind of a miracle that my parents raised us the way we did without paying much attention to us, and we turned out to be okay adults.

For me, helping your kids doesn’t mean coddling them, because shielding them from the reality of life, and ultimately teaching them that you can’t get everything and you will never fail, is not the answer.

My worst fear is that I don’t and won’t be able to prepare them well enough as a parent for them to go out into the world and be independent.

I’m not going to send them to work in the coal mines at the age of 5 to bring home money for the family, but I am also not going to let them run free and wild without any (age-appropriate) responsibilities either.

I figure it’s the least I can do for them.

One thing is for darn sure, if I ever leave them with her, she’s going to spoil them rotten… then I’m going to get questions like:

Grandma lets us eat/ do _____ and ____!

Why can’t we eat / do that here too !!?


I’m thinking my answers will be somewhere along the lines of:

  1. Do I look like Grandma to you?
  2. You can only do / eat that at Grandma’s as a treat once in a while
  3. Whine again one more time, and I’ll make sure to tell Grandma to never let you do / eat that again


  • One More Knight

    I want to try and put a monetary value on chores to turn an allowance into ‘pay’. That said, kids need to learn the merit in doing something for someone else without a tangible reward.

  • Emily @ Urban Departures

    My parent’s didn’t have us do chores. My mother tells me regularly how much she regrets that. At 20 months, I’m training my child to mop the floors.

  • Tania

    That’s exactly how I grew up sista plus as soon as I was legal working age, I had to work and it couldn’t be a cushy job. I lived to tell the tale. I’m not perfect but I’ve always worked and never expected someone else to support me so that’s saying something. I’m also not a snob to blue collar/trade workers like some of my professional business peers are because I know how hard they work. I used to get an allowance for certain things (like clothes when I was in high school, it was more like a limit actually).

  • Lissa

    I think it’s good that you’re thinking about how you’ll parent your children but I don’t want to be an antagonist here. Before I had kids, I had my ideals as well but once the kids came, some of our well-meaning thoughts go out the window, especially when you’re put in a situation where all you want to have is some peace and quiet. I’m not saying let your kids run amuck but I think once you have kids, it’s not so easy having a cut and dry parenting technique. There are a lot of gray areas when you have kids and sometimes, you end up giving in a little, depending on the situation. Just my two cents.

  • Jordann

    It sounds like you’re thinking your parenting technique through, that alone puts you miles ahead of the majority of parents out there. I think the biggest thing that parents our age fail to do is install discipline in their children. I’m talking about things like screaming at parents, interrupting, throwing temper tantrums to get what they want, etc. This sort of behaviour is crazy but there are so many parents who let this stuff slide on a regular basis.

    That said, I’m not a parent, so I have zero right to weigh in on the most effective way to raise a child.

    • MelD

      @Jordann: You are just as qualified as anyone else!
      My grown-up kids are often horrified at how some kids behave and also to their own parents and have repeatedly said they would never have dared – and no, we are not dragons that punished them all the time or anything, but we were just the parents in control. My husband, in particular, made it a point of them never being able to get away with being rude to me as their mother, and they have grown up respectful of their elders, partly also due to us having 4 great-grandparents around when they were young and who had even higher expectations of their behaviour. All three girls have grown up polite, friendly and respectful (and we all have a great relationship over 5 living generations from 2-98!) and notice when this isn’t the case with others. They probably have other faults, as do we, but then nobody’s perfect!!
      I think consistency is probably the most important quality in a parent, whatever your plan is.

  • MattNY

    No allowance? Wouldn’t that keep them dependent on you (begging) for money and what they want, rather than teaching them to save up for the things they want, budgeting, etc? Allowance is a sort of training wheels for a salary. Until they are old enough to do odd jobs for other people and make money outside the house, begging from you would be the only option.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      No allowance, but they can manage the money I give them to buy school things or things that are necessary. When I say no allowance I mean no money for crap / junk.


  • Liquid

    With those values I’m sure you’ll make an excellent parent 🙂 Raising polite and productive members of society is really important for our country’s future. I think the biggest thing to remember when teaching kids about the real world is to be patient with them and make them understand reasoning.

  • eemusings

    Alas, our parents screw us all up and we all vow to never make the same mistakes they did.

    • Lila


      All parents make mistakes, even good ones, everyone I’ve talked to has said at least one thing their parents could have done better. Don’t be too hard on your folks.

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