Spoiling kids does just that. It spoils them. It makes them foul and their behavior stinky and just plain disgusting. I certainly don’t want to spoil the goodness in my kids. Unfortunately, our recent Easter weekend has highlighted to me just how much ‘spoiling’ has already occurred. I do, however, have hope that we can UN-spoil our kids!
But, Kids will be kids…
Yes, I’m a firm believer in letting kids be kids. Let them run around crazy outdoors and play with mud, but I don’t believe the greedy attitude that kids become possessed with is just ‘kids being kids’. We justify it by considering it to be normal when really it’s learned behavior.
Always wanting more….
My boy’s Easter baskets were literally overflowing with eggs after grandma’s famous hunt. You’d like to think that gratitude would ooze out of their creme egg filled hearts, but no. It wasn’t long before the fighting began over who got more and then the tantrums because they were only allowed to eat 3 eggs before breakfast. Only 3 eggs? The travesty! I began to wonder why we bothered. The ‘spoiling’ didn’t make them any happier, in fact, it made them unhappier. It stripped them of their goodness and turned them into grumpy, greedy, selfish and argumentative brats.
It’s not just Easter – it’s trips to the shops when 5 minutes after purchasing an ice-cream or new colouring book they are complaining that they missed out on a $2 shopping centre ride. They have an incredible sense of entitlement and quite honestly want to ‘have it all’. Sound familiar? I have quite honestly created monsters and I take full responsibility. Now, I’m wondering how on earth to fix it!
Taking a good hard look a myself…
After complaining bitterly at how long it took to send a txt message on my husbands iphone, I was reminded of the phrase “First world problem”. It’s a great reality check that the things we often complain about pale in significance to the challenges faced by families in other parts of the world. It puts things in perspective.
So, if this helps me to re-focus then surely I can teach my kids the same. I think I need to get a bit more pro active about talking to the kids about the difficulties other families face. Will they understand at 3.5 at 5 years old? Not fully, but the ability to show empathy develops at around 2 years old. They will understand as best they can for their developmental stage. It’s important we don’t underestimate the ability our kids have to learn and embrace wholesome values.
Let the UN-spoiling begin…
Over the past weekend, I seriously questioned why I continue to buy them things when it is almost always related to negative behaviors. So, we’ve decided to stop!
Our families motto for the next month
NO MORE TREATS!
This means no more surprises from mum (or dad) just because, no more little treats no matter how inexpensive (colouring books, lollypops, etc..) and no more shopping (where possible) with the kids. I’ve made the mistake of letting my kids pick whatever they want from a garage sale or op shop because it’s cheap. They don’t yet understand the value of things and mindless shopping ‘just because’ is still reinforced through doing this. It’s going to stop and this will lessen their sense of entitlement and expectation.
I have hope that we can UN-spoil our kids and teach them to be kind, generous, and thankful despite the power of the opposite message they learn through our culture and often times, from us.
Let the UN-spoiling begin!