Fostering Dependence vs. Independence

I have not read the book, but I am fascinated by the concept. How often do we baby our kids? How do strategically set them up for success?

A friend shared this article: “If Your Kid Left His Term Paper at Home, Don’t Bring It to Him” and it hit home. The article refers to the book: The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey. I have added it to my reading list. Of course I have yet to birth this baby, but that does not mean I do not think about how we want to raise him and how dependence can happen so early, and often without parents really knowing it is happening. The author mentions parents who go back home because the kid forgot their homework assignment or lacrosse stick — teaching kids what?

“Over-parenting or fostering dependence, as she describes bailout behavior, has the potential to undermine children’s personal confidence and robs them of the grit they’ll need to succeed in the real world, after they’ve left the safe bubble of home.”

I will tell you, I never remember my parents bringing something I forgot to school. They were at work, at one point in elementary school my mom was teaching at my very school. She was not going to leave to bring something I forgot. As my dad would have told me: “Tough luck.” He was not going to go out of his way to take care of things that were mine to remember. That was my responsibility. He never thought of it as “letting me fail.” He just knew I would learn the hard way to remember — whatever the consequences of my choices.

Food for thought.

Random Recipe: Chocolate Chess Pie #2

My mom used to make a Chocolate Chess Pie when I was a kid and it was so easy. It had 4-5 ingredients and I absolutely loved it. As you can see from a Random Recipe post earlier this year, I have continued to try to recreate her recipe – with not the best of luck. Nothing seems to taste like I remember. I think Chris is bored with my trying, however, since I am not one to quit — I am not giving up. This is my most recent attempt of trying another Chocolate Chess Pie recipe.

Chris still is not super excited about the result — he felt it was too much work for the taste, but I think this is the recipe that gets closest to the taste of what I remember. A few caveats:

The crust ingredients listed below made too much and we had to throw a bunch of it away. To me, a Chocolate Chess Pie should always be served warm with vanilla ice cream.

Oh – ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:

  • 15 graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grind the graham crackers in a food processor until they are a fine crumb. Place in a bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter with a fork. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ or 10″ pie dish. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes.
  2. Make the filling: Melt the butter with chocolate in a medium sized bowl in the microwave, heating on high in 30 second increments and stirring until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk in the flour, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in eggs and egg white until the mixture is smooth. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake until the top is puffed and filling is set in the center, 35-40 minutes. Let cool, serve at room temperature. Top with ice cream.

Do you have emotional pica?

We all have our own emotional childhood trauma. Some of us have differing degrees than others. There are those of us that had a fairy tale childhood, where we got everything we ever wanted and needed and then some. Others had to scrape by, were poor, or had many traumas to work through. However, all of that is relative.

I know perfectly normal people (whatever normal means these days) who had the perfect childhood and yet that is just what it looked like on the surface. They had all they needed and wanted, and yet maybe they did not really get what they needed most — a deep connection to those around them. That happened much later in life for them. Without it you do not always know what you might be missing. For those that had a childhood of heartaches and challenges, they might have learned early on to deal with the shift and feel deeply and in adulthood finally find out what it is like to have a normal life.

I am of the latter variety. I recently read this line from Kim Korson’s book: “I Don’t Have a Happy Place: Cheerful Stories of Despondency and Gloom,” and it was like an aha moment for me: 

“Buzz suffers from a bad case of emotional pica, an insatiable craving to fill himself up with the sand and dirt of childhood he missed out on. It’s draining but (on my compassionate days) I understand it. I roll my eyes while rolling out pizza dough or ordering the piñata because I know what it feels like to be slightly defective. And so when Buzz said to me, ‘Kim, we’re going to Disney World,’ I wanted to politely decline and say there was no way in hell I was making that trip, but I smiled and nodded, then took to the bed, and secretly thought, Good grief.” Page 224

I was pulled in with the mention of emotional pica. We all have some version of it in our life. Chris is great about making sure I fill out my days with things I never got to do as a kid. He is overly conscious of it. I am one to be frugal, say no to something, or say something is not needed or extravagant and he pushes me to pamper myself and do the thing(s) that I never got to do before.

While I hope it is not draining for him to be so conscious of what I lacked in my childhood (does he have my emotional pica?), I do know I can assure him we will not be going to Disney World any time soon.