When Brooke Hampton shared a picture of her 13-year-old daughter doing the family grocery budget while surrounded by store receipts, the Internet got right to work on sharing its opinions about it.
The comments on her now-viral Facebook post with well over 40,000 shares are overwhelmingly positive, with many proudly sharing their own responsibilities growing up. She was also met with backlash from some, saying she’s a lazy mom who is putting way too much responsibility on a young girl.
In the post, Hampton writes:
“I love the harsh, judgmental looks and comments I get from other parents when they see my kids doing things deemed ‘too hard’ for them. ‘What a lazy mom. Those poor kids,’ they whisper. Yea, well they can judge me all they want but I’m preparing my kids to not need me. And I personally believe that’s the greatest gift I can give them.”
Hampton goes on to explain that it actually takes patience and determination to be a “lazy parent,” because when you allow children to do life-skill tasks for themselves, they aren’t going to do it perfectly the first time. It often results in more messes and a lot of extra time — which to her, is worth it in the end.
“She’s growing up feeling empowered and capable, and that’s something we could all use more of,” Hampton tells Babble.
Hampton also explains that doing the grocery budget was all her daughter’s idea.
“We always do fun stuff with the money we save on our budget,” says Hampton. “She loves math, organizing, and being challenged. She felt like she could up the number we had for fun activities if she ever took over the budget. She was right.”
Some commenters said it’s too much work, implying that it’s more important to “let kids be kids” in childhood.
“A 13-year-old should be budgeting her allowance or her earnings not the family grocery budget,” wrote one commenter. “That can be very stressful and isn’t a good teaching method for already over anxious teen girls.”
At the same time, it doesn’t sound like she’s locked down 24/7 doing the family budget.
“She’s been doing it for about three months,” says Hampton. “She runs the numbers every Sunday to see where she’s at, and then [does] a final run at the end of the month.”
Hampton believes that as parents, we severely underestimate our children, who are far more capable and dependable than we think. She also believes that when children are treated like they are capable, they become capable.
Finally, she drives home the reality that all parents must eventually face: We need to raise them to a point where they no longer need us and can stand on their own. Though it can be hard to watch them struggle as they learn new things, it’s important to be close and guide them while they’re in a safe place under your roof.
The big takeaway for parents when it comes to raising capable kids?
Hampton, a self-described “lazy mom of three wildly capable humans,” says:
“Try new things. Think outside of what you’ve been taught by your parents and what you’ve seen other parents do. Create something new. Do what feels right for you and your family. Trust yourself and give it a go.”
Hard to argue with that one!