Love & Mother Podcast Episode 38 - Raising Capable Children

We live in a very over indulged world in the West. It has hit me face on since moving from Canada to Nicaragua just how sheltered and irresponsible children are in North America.

Of course I am generalizing and there are exceptions to every rule. But as a culture we overly protect and give our children the world. We over do everything for them and we inadvertently teach them to be incapable tiny people when they are very much capable of so much more than we tend to give them credit for. 

We have shifted from the baby boomer parenting of come home when the street light come on to a hyper aware sense of danger that our kids must be protected at all times. This is largely in part due to the internet and our awareness of  all the evil lurking out there. 

Now do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with protecting your kids. It is super important in our age of social media and online predators. BUT, protecting and doing everything for your child are two different things. 

North American Culture promotes entitlement in children. They deserve the latest trends of clothes, accessories and tech. 

We put our kids in a million activities to keep them entertained and to give them every opportunity to develop skills in whatever interest they may have. 

We do not allow them to get bored. Imagination and creativity is stunted in our kids generation more than ever before. 

We give a lot to our kids and for the most part I don’t think we expect enough back. 

Kids mature so quickly these days, gone are the awkward phases. Girls especially seem to move from child to young lady totally missing the ugly duckling stage so many of my friends and I went through.

There is a lot of pressure on parents and I think often our outcomes from our intentions are not where we want to end up, when we parent with giving our kids everything. 

Kids are losing the ability to be capable. 

Not only because of tech but with how we parent. 

Think about it, kids don’t know what it is like to be lost and to have to use problem solving skills. There is an app for that.

They have access to whatever information they want (good or bad) in a quick name call of Alexa. 

We often help them get dressed, do their homework, cook all their meals in the name of efficiency and cleanliness. 

Kids don’t have to figure things out anymore. It just gets done.  

Of course we don’t want our kids to suffer but a little healthy suffering leads to resilient kids. There is enough big problems in this world that we need to help our kids with, little things like making their breakfast or lunch and cleaning up after themselves shouldn’t be added to our list of responsibilities. 

Moms today face more pressure than any other generation of moms up to this point. Our motherhoods are put on microscopic display thanks to social media. Keeping up with the joneses isn’t just your neighbours and other parents at your kids school it is millions of moms worldwide showcasing their best on social media. 

Can we remind ourselves over and over that Instagram is a highlight reel? Moms often show only the best because they are too insecure thinking that their parenting will be judged if they post a pic of a messy kitchen or not getting dressed for the day. 

Of course we want to steward the gift of motherhood well. And there is certainly a balance of taking care of yourself and taking care of your home, but it is simply not realistic to expect the kids, the house, and you are 100% perfect all the time. Instagram is STAGED! Don’t let it beat you up by thinking every other mom just has it so much more together. 

I am against hot mess mom culture because there is a extreme to this where moms play victims to their motherhood and I am not about that either but as daughters of the king we need to set our intentions for what kind of moms we want to be and we need to steward the gift of motherhood well. The Lord reminds us several times in scripture that sparing discipline is spoiling the child. 

I believe we should give our kids 3 main things to promote capable kids.

Natural consequences.


Time to figure it out on their own. 

Words our powerful and we need to remind them that they are capable. My kids kind of roll their eyes at me now and repeat “you are capable” when I ask them “what does mommy always say?”

Your kids should have chores. They are a part. of the family and the family is a team. 

Your kids should have to learn from their mistakes. 

Your kids should know how to problem solve and focus on solutions not problems. 

Your kids should be brave and take risks. 

You are always their safe, strong support for them to fall back on, but if we are following them around doing everything for them with a pillow to land on, we are not allowing them to be curious, brave, or resilient.

They are not learning self discipline or motivation when everything is done for them! All important life skills!

As a foster and adoptive mom I am a huge cheerleader of attachment parenting and gentle parenting. I don’t believe in solely authoritarian parenting.  The mindset of “you will respect me simply because” is not something i subscribe to

I believe if we do our jobs right as parents, we give and demand respect. We have clear expectations and communication and we are quick to apologize and humble ourselves when we screw up and lose our cool. 

I am forever learning from my kids and I don’t ever want to be blind to what they can teach me simply because I am the parent and they are the kid. 

But it is also my job to raise my kids to love the Lord and be contributing members of society. 

Here are some general guidelines for raising capable kids. 

Pray without ceasing. Pray for your kids and for yourself as a parent. Also pray for your marriage and a team effort as a family. We need God in every moment of our parenting. 

Clearly define your expectations. Whether it’s in how they get ready, what needs to be done before free time. Chores, responsibilities etc.  If we don’t clearly set our expectations than we are setting up our children to fail. If we do this is where natural consequences come in.

I highly recommend a chore chart to build expectations and self discipline. 

Help your children cultivate a heart of gratitude and joy. I often say “try that again with a happy heart.”

I am constantly trying to expose my children to different perspectives. It is one of the reasons why we became foster parents. It is why we now live in a third world country. Teaching them that not everyone was born into the abundance and blessing that they were is important to us. We regularly discuss poverty, drug use, abuse etc. Not every child has the life they do and we need to be thankful in our hearts for the many ways we have been blessed. 

Show your kids that you care – a great way which we discussed in the last podcast episode was to spend one on one time with your kids.  Kids want love, attention and when they don’t receive that this is when behaviors tend to flare up. 

Encourage Being Brave!

Teach them to try new things whether its food or an activity. God has given each of us different skills. Nurture that when you see something piquing their interest rather that putting them in every activity possible. 

Encourage Healthy Habits

Kids pick up on how we treat our bodies. How we exercise and what we eat. Teach them by being diligent in this area yourself.  I am the first to raise my hand and say I could be better in this area. Somedays its great and other days the demands of life take over and by the time I know it the day is over and I am ready to collapse into bed and I haven’t moved my body the way I wanted to or had the time to prepare my meals in advance. 

If you fail to prepare you prepare to fail. This is my motto when it comes to health and as a busy mom, things like an early morning routine before my kids wake up and meal prep are essential to a healthy lifestyle. 

Equip your kids to be leaders. Christ is our example. He didn’t lead with power or control. He lead with humility and a servants heart. Model this and talk about this often with your kids. 

Give them choices. From a young age and over little things. Two outfit choices. A choice of chores. This gives your kids power to choose and have some control so you are not just dictating everything to them.  This helps them in the future with problem solving skills and priority management. 

The biggest thing in all of this is balance. You cannot over protect in one area and let go and wilf in other areas. Teaching your kids that they are capable and can be brave will stem from them being secure in your love and trust. 

Let your word be your word and don’t break promises. Give respect and trust and pull back when they need more discipline and guidance. But we have to stop doing everything for our kids.