I almost always cook dinner in my house. My fiance and daughter make their own breakfasts and lunches, and are responsible for getting their own snacks, but dinner is all on me. Which is fine with me. For one thing, my family never complains about anything I make and they’re both always extremely appreciative of every dinner no matter what it is, and also I kind of enjoy being the one to feed them (if anyone had told me 5 years ago I’d be typing those words I would have laughed in their face.)
Recently however, I implemented a new household rule, which is that on Sunday nights my teenage daughter has to plan and cook dinner, and let me tell you…it’s been a pain in the ass.
OK, OK, I’m mostly just joking. It hasn’t been that bad. It has been an experience though, and eye opening in ways I didn’t expect.
In a nutshell: The rules are that every week before Sunday arrives she needs to tell me what she wants to make so I can ensure we have all the necessary ingredients. Then on Sunday she does most of the cooking with assistance and instructions from me as required. Eventually we’ll move to her doing all of it on her own, but for now since she’s just learning, this is what works for us. I try to discourage her from repeating meals because the point is to learn something new, and I attempt as much as possible to be hands off during the process which for me is the hardest part.
Eventually I’ll add more details and rules into the mix. Soon I’d like to have her making the grocery list and assisting with the shopping as well so she has a better understanding of what food actually costs. But I don’t want to pile on too much just yet.
Now, I know a lot of families with much younger children have them help out in the kitchen a lot more and might be thinking, “k she’s a TEENAGER, this shouldn’t be a big deal.” and to be honest, it’s not a big deal. It’s just something new we’re trying to I’m mostly enjoying.
For her part, she doesn’t really love this new task, but has been fairly cooperative so far with just a slight amount of grumbling. She feels incredibly proud of herself with each new meal she cooks, and she gets the hugest smile on her face when her dad and I compliment her cooking. So I’m going to call that a win for now.
As for me, learning to sit back and let her do things without interfering is so damn hard. You’d think I’d have a handle on this after 13 years of parenting, but I don’t. Not at all. I’m a bit (a lot) of a control freak and I get really impatient if I’m watching someone do something that seems inefficient to me. And let’s be honest, watching your kid learn to cook seems really inefficient sometimes (why is she stirring like that???) so this has been a learning experience for me as much as for her.
Oh god I just realized she starts learning to drive next year.
Her dad can do that.
Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear what kinds of chores your kids do. Which ones do they hate, which ones do they complain about the least?