Miss Independent

Delphine is a few months shy of turning five, and she has become a tremendously capable and independent little thing, to the point that I am having trouble figuring out where to set limits.

I recently read a wonderful book called Breaking the Good Mom Myth by Alyson Schafer. Schafer is an Adlerian psychotherapist, and the Adlerian philosphy basically says, among other things, that you should throw as much responsibility on your child as they can handle. This is something Blake and I have been doing all along, but the book features an inspiring list of things that kids should be able to do at each age. By the time she's eight she'll be running the whole household!

Delphine's been dressing herself since she was two, and she can easily handle the putting on of winter gear that some kids older than her are still getting helped with. (I was going to say they couldn't manage it, but I am sure they could if their parents would just leave them to it.) But lately the independence has been getting out of hand. The other morning I came downstairs to see that Delphine had used a steak knife to slice a chunk, for breakfast, off an old moldy loaf I had forgotten about. Yesterday she used my facecloths to clean up after her friend peed on the bedroom floor. It's like there's no challenge she can't face alone!

Which is great, but we are going to have to draw some lines and make some rules. The first rule has to be about knives, specifically don't touch them. The second has to be something about cleaning up messes, I think. Cleaning up messes is just very complicated, what with the different products and tools, not to mention the biohazard factor. A grown-up has to be involved. I am sure we will figure out the limits we need to set, but in the meantime it's pretty exciting to see her growing up.

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