Today, I came across the article, 9 Things We Should Get Rid of to Help Our Kids, and could really relate to what the author had to say. After reading the article, I started to wonder if I’ve been a very good parent as of late. Below are the “9 things” from the article with my experiences and thoughts under each one.
1. Guilt: Often we give into our kid’s requests out of guilt. We need to stop feeling guilty for not giving our kids everything they want. It’s hard to swallow, but we foster the attitude of entitlement in our homes when we are ruled by a guilty conscience. It’s okay to ask kids to be responsible for what they lose and to require consequences for actions.
How many times have our kids guilted us into not just buying them something, but buying an expensive brand? My daughter played for the junior high volleyball team and when I offered to buy the reasonably priced volleyball, she made me feel bad by reminding me how much money I spent on my son’s baseball bat and glove. Then, she went out and lost the ball about 1 month later. And guess what happened next? Yep, she lost the replacement ball as well. We are currently on ball number three, third times a charm…Travel Sports – Are They Worth the Price?
2. Overspending: I think it’s good for our kids to hear us say, “We can’t afford that” Or “We will have to save for it.” Because that’s real life. We don’t have All The Money to Buy All the Things. I’ve known families before who are working multiple jobs to keep kids in extracurricular activities, when honestly, the kids would probably be happier with more family time.
No credit cards allowed! This one is a winner in my family as we only spend cash at the register and emphasize that we are saying “no” because we actually don’t have the cash to pay for what they want. My suggestion? Try giving your kids an allowance and let them decide how to spend their money. Do not buy extra impulsive crap for them when you are shopping, especially those sneaky items placed strategically by the register which dangle before your children’s eyes. Spoiling Kids Could Make Them Rotten and you Poor
3. Birthday Party Goody Bag (Mentality): I’ve been guilty of this like most of us. But, really? We take our kids to parties so they can give a gift, but they take a small one home so they won’t feel bad? It’s not their birthday. This concept of spoiling kids (which usually goes far beyond goody bags) is temporary fun. It’s okay for them not to be the center of attention.
Who came up with this expectation? I cannot understand the concept. My only experience was giving my groomsmen a Swiss blade army knife as a thank you for being there to celebrate my wedding.
4. Making our day-week-month, our world about our kids- Child-centered homes don’t help children in the long-run.
Being responsible adults, and making life decisions requires doing what’s necessary. If you are a religious person, God comes first, then family. Setting priorities is important. Guilty as charged. I wonder when the whole world became so concerned with what our kids were doing every minute of the day. Perhaps cell phones are to blame. Before cell phones were created, parents did not have the ability to stay in constant contact with their kids. In the summer, we took off on our bikes and were gone for the day, back in time for dinner, then out again until dusk. Father/Son Journey Continues
5. The desire to make our children happy (all the time). If you visited my house, you’d find out pretty quickly that someone’s always unhappy. It’s not our job to keep our kids happy. Don’t carry that impossible burden. Typically when our kids are unhappy, it’s because we are standing our ground. And that makes for much healthier kids in the future.
I give plenty of credit to my wife for this one. She is far better than I am at standing her ground and enforcing good rules rather than worrying about the kids being happy. Thank you, Soni.
6. Made Up Awards: You know what I’m talking about. Rewarding everyone who participates in every area only fosters an inflated self esteem. Kids don’t need rewards for every little thing. It’s okay to lose, they learn through failure as much as success.
Again, I have been guilty of rewarding my kids for doing little things that they should be naturally doing. One sad example was when I was so elated that my 12 year old daughter finally gave in and took our dog on a walk with me (it was a great walk!) that I caved and bought her the new iPhone she had been asking about for months. It was a birthday present, but why (sucker?) did I cave 2 months prior to her birthday.
7. Fixing all their problems: I don’t like to see my kids struggling. There’s a part of every parent that longs to make things right in their child’s world. But it’s not healthy to create a false reality. You won’t always be there to do so and not only that, if you’re doing it all for your child, why would they need to learn to do it themselves? Fixing all their problems is really only creating more challenges in the future.
This may be the most important thing a parent can do for their kids. It is incredibly difficult to watch your kids suffer consequences and struggle to figure out how to deal with adversity, but this is what allows them to grow and mature. I have struggled with this one often and have been allowing it to happen the past few years. I bet there are some great stories for all parents/kids in this area.
8. Stuff: We could all probably fill a half dozen trash bags with just stuff. Excess. Try it. Bag it up and get your kids to help you and give it to someone who needs it. This may be the best indicator of just how much money you have spent on your kids.
9. Unrealistic Expectations: My girls are always asking for manicures. I didn’t have one until I was married, pregnant and 27 years old. I’m not opposed to the occasional treat, but it’s the attitude of expecting it because you as a parent or others have it. Just because I have an iPhone, doesn’t mean my children will get one. We don’t have to give our kids everything we have. It’s okay to make them wait for things in life.
Hard to argue with this, but at times I’ve been guilty of this as well.
If I were keeping score for the nine points above, I failed the test. This article helped develop an “awareness” for me. I hope this makes you stop and think about what you are doing as a parent and I hope you will share these items with others. It’s definitely alright to admit you have some things to work on – I know I certainly do, but it is a good first step! So, what’s next? I’m going to print out this list and hang it in a visible place in my home as a reminder to think twice before spoiling my kids.
As always, your feedback is desired for both me and the other blog readers. Please share your experience and thoughts.