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When Do You Stop Cutting the Crust?

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – Pay_A_Bluish_Oak

Our oldest daughter is now 11 years old, which seems hard to belief, and is in the sixth grade.

Her school bus arrives at 7:30 a.m.  each day – much earlier than the elementary kids’ bus she used to ride at 8:50 a.m.

So every morning she and I are up around the same time to start our routines for our respective days. Part of her routine is making her own lunch and breakfast.

But periodically she’ll get jammed up with her other responsibilities (e.g. deciding to shower in the morning rather than the night before, finishing up a homework assignment, etc…) that jams up her ability to accomplish her other tasks such as making lunch.

Little Things Lead to Big Things

Our reason for having our kids assume responsibility for these types of tasks is that if they can be trusted handling the “small things” such as making lunch choices or time management decisions, they’ll be ready to make better decisions when they’re older – leading toward their independence.

However, we also want to help them and demonstrate the value of having people in life who love and assist them.

So when Taylor is under a “time crunch” I’ll help her out and make her lunch and breakfast on those time-compressed days.

She’s had two such unusual mornings during the past two week stretch.

The Crusty Question

Here’s the issue – both times while I’ve been making her sandwiches for school I’ve had to ask myself whether or not I should cut off the crust.

Neither of our daughter’s like the crust of store-bought bread, which is odd since they love toast and I’ve often made the argument to them that toast is an entire piece of crust (but that’s a separate blog post all its own).

Regardless we’ve always cut the crust off their sandwiches to help entice them to eat.

Up until recently, we’ve always done  that. But while making her lunches the other days – I questioned whether I should continue doing that.

A Parenting Microcosm

As parents, we believe that part of the maturation process is helping our kids understand that they can’t always get what they want at the exact time they want it.

That understanding and knowing how to deal with that reality is a necessary part of being a functioning adult.

As such, I decided to leave the crust on both sandwiches – not because I was too lazy but because I thought it would be a teachable moment.

This is more than a silly issue about bread crust and finicky eating – it’s actually a parenting-style microcosm. We think it’s correct and proper, but I’m curious what other parents think.

Question: Should parents allow kids to experience”contrived” disappointments to inoculate them against the real, unforeseen challenges that life will provide in full measure?

 

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Comments

  1. Just buy better bread, Tor!

  2. I’ll admit to having done similar things, but I have no idea at all if it was the right thing to do. I’m interested to hear from others who are far better parents than me.

  3. Not only is it a lesson in not getting what you want, it’s a lesson in that you got something (lunch made for you), but you didn’t like a small portion (crusts not cut). Show thankfulness for that meal being made instead of focusing on the crust. We’ve had struggles in our house dealing with this. Our kids were finding any fault and focusing on that.

  4. Bonnie Anderson says:

    Cultivating thankfulness in our kids is so important. Your willingness to serve your daughter speaks volumes and will stand the test of eating crust. What do you think she’ll remember most – my dad was always there to help me or my father made me eat the crust. Actually, they are one in the same.

  5. If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.

    When life presents opportunities we must seize them as parents. The lesson last longer than the words. She’s in a jam and you’re filling in. That means no options. Cutting the crust is an option. If later you decided to cut the crust then she knows you invested more time specifically to please her and not just meet the need (a meal). Both show your love and dedication.

  6. I agree, it will help her to learn how to budget her time. If she wants the crust of her sandwich she needs to learn to budget her time to do it.

  7. If I had to make a lunch, I would not cut off the crusts. If mom or dad have to help out, the little luxuries are pretty much eliminated, otherwise they are being “trained” to slack off in their responsibilities. In my opinion, those natural little consequences are better teachers than long-winded nagging.

  8. As always Tor, if you are asking yourself questions like this, you are being a great parent. Growing up we were given 2 choices for dinner, eat or not. No special attention was paid to our “likes” and “dislikes”, my parents provided the food that they saw fit, and we were expected to consume it, as is. I hate to over-generalize and my proof is purely anecdotal, but we are raising some seriously finicky kids now. On a Scout trip a few years ago, when polled, half the Troop was “allergic” to tomatoes and the other half lettuce when we were making sandwiches one day. This year I am creating an “ambitious eater” card to try and re-direct these kids and to have them tolerate different kinds of food. We’ve been guilty of spoiling ours too though, Char spread the cream cheese on Molly’s bagels all the way through high school. We learned better with the next 2.

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