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Last week the New Yorker published a book review and discussion about independence in American Children. The basic idea was that children in America are lazy and spoiled, while the rest of the world is tending fires at 3, and never asking for things. I find it interesting that the same culture that insists that a baby in your bed or on your back is "spoiled", has no problem making sure you drive them six blocks to school until they can drive themselves.

A wise friend has reminded me over time, when I panic about my children having no desire to dress themselves, or go places without me, or whatever else I think, "everyone else's kid's are doing," that "Development happens unless you're actively trying to stop it." I've found that to be true with both my kids. 

Last month my daughter was still wailing to be carried up and down the stairs. Two days ago, I came down to see she'd gotten out raw eggs, a bowl, her spatula, the pan, and the egg beater and was well on her way to making her own "scrabbled eggs."

She'll be four in a week. Old enough to work at the oyster factory, if we lived in a different time. But just because she's not chopping wood and tending goats, doesn't mean I'm any less proud of her when she decides it's time to grow up a little more.

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Reader Comments (1)

You're so right. My son would never put his shoes on and screamed every time I asked him to do it. It was driving me crazy! "All of the other kids put their shoes on, why won't mine!" Then a few days ago I was getting my bag packed to go for a walk and I called out "okay, let's get ready to go" and when I walked in the living room he had put on his shoes and was so proud of himself. I'm so happy to watch them grow and become independent. How bittersweet it is to watch as they pull away and become the people they are going to be.

July 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia

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