A friend brought up a very good point to me today. I told her about a choice I gave to one of my children and how, when my child’s response was less than grateful, I told my child they couldn’t have either choice. I thought that was good parenting.
The problem my friend pointed out to me was not my child’s ungratefulness (after all, that was the thing I was upset about), but it was the fact that I had given my child two options, in the first place. After all, the options had to do with something nice I wanted to do for my child. Something they’d like, that was a gift, not a necessity.
The truth is that I should not have given my child an option. I should’ve just said “This is what we’re doing, and when,” not “I’d like to do this nice thing for you, when and where would you like me to do it?” After all, it was going to cost me time and money and their only job was to sit back, smile and be grateful.
So I decided to write about this today, because I know I’m not the only one who has done this. In fact, I’ll bet someone reading this has done it today. Parents have been engaging in this type of behavior for years and it has resulted in an entitled, spoiled and ungrateful generation. We see it in other families and shake our heads, but wear blinders when it comes to our own.
We say to our kids “You’d better be glad my mama wasn’t your mama because you’d be getting off the floor right now,” or “My parents would’ve never spent that kind of money on a pair of sneakers.” Then we let their rudeness slide and dig deep into our wallets to make Michael Jordan richer.
And heaven help us if the kids are good students. We use this as an excuse to buy them whatever they want or take them wherever they want to go. Or we let bad behavior slide because they’re getting A’s and B’s and are “a pleasure to have in class,” while forgetting that doing well in school is their job and they need to be a pleasure to have at home, too!
And how about those cell phones? You know, the one thing we can take away that will really get their attention? When we take it away for bad behavior, how long do we keep it before we give it back?
Oftentimes, it’s not for long because we’re still allowing them to hang out with their friends and we want them to have their phone so we can reach them in case of an emergency. Isn’t that what we tell ourselves?
Let’s get real, folks. They’re spoiled rotten. We’ve allowed it and, in fact, created it. But we don’t have to continue it. The world already has its fill of people who won’t get along if they don’t get their way. Let’s stop contributing to the problem.
Thanks to a friend today, I’m going to be mindful of these behaviors. Won’t you join me?