Dear Crabby, How Do I Get My Kids To Tie Their Shoes?

Dear Crabby,

My 11-year-old son refuses to tie and untie his shoes. Instead, he shoves his feet in and leaves the laces dragging along the ground. Am I being too harsh to require him to change his shoe habits?

Sincerely, Fit T. Betied

Dear Fit T. Betied,

I know of a kid that was the exact same way, and his mother was definitely heard screaming and hollering from time to time.  And that kid grew up and had a son that was the exact same way!  You probably guessed by now that the first kid was me and the second my son.  Well, I am not sure what it is about menial little tasks like that, but I just cannot fathom taking the time to do them.  It’s like pouring a drink into a glass.  My wife knows how painful that exercise is for me.  If I can sneak a drink from the jug or the faucet, or simply refill a drink I already had out, then I am all set. I’m not sure what it is about these tasks that seem so labor-some to me, but I just don’t get the point.  For example, why would I want to go to the fridge to get a drink, only to turn and have to go get a glass, then have to fill the glass, and drink it down, only to have to then go wash the glass?  I’m exhausted just talking about this!  I am so grateful for the guys who invented the box drinks and the throw away plastic bottles!  The shoe issue sort of resolved itself for me. I now wear slip-on shoes only!  They make slip-on’s in dress shoes, sandals, and tennis shoes these days.  No need to mess with tying anything!  My son and I both look for drawstring or elastic shoes and we even tell each other where to go and look!  The next issue I will confess to you is my pants!  I love the elastic waist and hook style pants.  Mother Nature just has a way of making those pants get tighter and looser from time to time and the elastic is God’s provision for that phenomenon!  A few years back, those pants looked like old-man pants with the high waist and goofy front flaps, but today all sorts of manufacturers blend them in to normal looking pants. I have even found some shorts that have this helpful feature! So, the next time you are at Walmart and you see an old guy with slip-on shoes, elastic waist pants, and a juice box in his hand, say hello, and I’ll greet you with my usual charm and smile.  As far as your boy goes, I say threaten him a few times and if that doesn’t work, go buy him the slip-ons!  Good luck and let me know how it goes for you!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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