Raising them up right

Betsy Bailey

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My 12-year-old fancies cooking. It started about a year ago. She likes heating up a can of soup for lunch, making the macaroni and cheese side and helping me chop veggies for dinner. Stuff like that. When her baby brother was born last August, Grandma Karen flew into town to help us out for a few weeks and they bonded over baking. Cookies and brownies and crumb cakes. Yum. This new mama was really spoiled. ;-)

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Cooking is good for ADHD

Lately she has become interested in more complex dinner recipes. She loves to watch me make dinner and her ability to help with more challenging tasks has increased with her maturity. She struggles with ADHD and we have found that confidence in the kitchen breeds confidence in general. And she needs as much of that as she can get. As a side benefit, learning to cook is a fun exercise in problem solving, organization and math.

Why should I do all the work?!

I started daydreaming yesterday about how someday she can fix dinner while I take a little break. Then I started thinking, wait, someday is... now! Besides, one of her best middle school friends loves to cook and apparently cooks often, so - hurray for desirable peer influence - she perceives cooking as a "cool" thing to do. I need to strike while the iron is hot! Seriously, I don't think she can put an entire meal (that I'm interested in eating) together all by herself yet, but now is certainly the time to start cultivating belief and skills. So last night I casually asked her how she'd like to plan and prepare a family meal all by herself. (With help from mom only when she asked for it.) "Really? Can I??" She was so excited! I invited her to find some dinner recipes online (the computer and surfing the web is another top-ranking activity), but she was overwhelmed and asked if she could browse my cookbooks instead. She has a few meal ideas, but hasn't narrowed them down yet. Of course, I will keep you posted on her progress!

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