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KELOLAND News feature: “Finding Parenting Balance”

Published on KELOLAND News April 22, 2013 by Casey Wonnenberg

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Most parents want to do everything they can for their children. But in order for children to learn important life lessons, they have to do some things by themselves.
Melissa Johnson has a sweet relationship with her children even though Johnson’s kids have had to work hard for what they have.

“I also want them to be able to make their own way in the world and be self-sufficient,” Melissa said.

Melissa’s two older children work with her at her store, Oh My Cupcakes, in Sioux Falls.

“I think when kids have things just handed to them, it’s a disservice that’s being done to them and they’re not going to learn those life lessons as they grow,” Melissa said.

Eighteen-year-old Randi has another job in addition to working at Oh My Cupcakes. She pays for her own cell phone bill and bought her own car.

“Then that got totaled and I paid for all the repairs. I’ve paid for all the tickets I’ve gotten,” Randi said.

While you might not agree with all of Johnson’s parenting decisions, Certified Family Life Educator Doniese Wilcox says it’s important for kids to learn to become independent.

“The child who learns that mom is always going to be here to bail me out, and that’s what that sometimes does, so they don’t see the consequences of not managing their own life,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says even small tasks, such as learning to tie your shoelaces, can have a big impact.

“They don’t want their child to fail or to experience negative consequences and those are painful, and failure is painful, but you have to experience that if you’re going to be successful in life because at some point it’s going to happen,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says the best way to determine if you’re hovering too much is to watch other children your kid’s age.

“Look around at what other kids are expected to do and if your child is in a developmental stage where they should be doing some of those things and they’re not, that might be a good clue,” Wilcox said.

While Randi’s life hasn’t always been sugar-coated, she says her parents have prepared her so she’s ready to start college in the fall.

“They’ve taught us really well,” Randi said.

Wilcox says another sign you might be over-nurturing your children is that they don’t respect items you buy or give to them.

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