It is said that a role of a parent is the hardest and most responsible job in one’s life, and that’s not wrong. We, as parents, must find the balance between doing what’s good for our kids and what makes them happy. Sometimes, that can be very difficult.
A good example of this issue is consumerism. We’ve all been there – the child sees an advertisement for a flashy toy or a fancy new gadget, and they ask for it. Even worse, they cry and beg for it in a public place. Most of the time, wanting to avoid embarrassment, or simply lacking the energy to argue, we just indulge them.
We know it’s usually wrong, but we want to make them happy.
How do we decide whether we should actually cash out for everything they ask for?
First of all, what we need to realize is that our kids are reflections of ourselves. One way or another, they’ll do what we do. So, stop and think – do you often find yourself buying unnecessary stuff on a whim? Do you constantly talk about wanting to buy more? Do you spend a lot of money on things you just want, but not really need? If the answer is yes, then the behavior of your child isn’t surprising, and in order to change them, you need to change yourself.
On the other hand, kids will do it even if you don’t. Usually, they mirror the kids from kindergarten or school, who probably brag about new stuff making your kids feel jealous and less worthy. In this case, conversation matters. Talk to them about what’s wrong with such behavior, and let them realize the mistake themselves.
Do I want it? Or do I need it?
Their young brains and emotions are prone to the influences of the media, especially nowadays when they’re bombarded with myriads of ads assuring them that they really, truly need the new expensive toy or gadget or the overpriced piece of clothing. It’s not the kids’ fault when it comes to this—a much older and bigger brain stands behind it. However, we need to be able to talk to them about it. Ask them why they want whatever it is they want. If the reason is something like ‘’but I want it’’, without a reasonable argument, they’ll probably see that it’s not that important after all.
The power of NO
Sometimes, kids can be really stubborn. They won’t listen, and they won’t quit until they get the thing. Here you need to be firm and say no. Make sure it’s not a reluctant no, since kids will probably keep badgering you until you give in. Contrast their screaming with a calm, relaxed voice. In most cases, they will feel ashamed and just give up. But, this situation is tricky because it might be that they don’t fully understand the situation, but simply obey you as an authority, and it’s not good in the long run.
Work on a Compromise
The point is not for you to become a monster parent who denies their kid everything they want. The trick is in establishing a compromise. If they want a new pricey outfit, say no and explain why, but suggest some other option and shop for kids clothing at discount prices. This will also teach them a bit about saving money and sustainable living.
So, you should by no means buy everything your kid’s heart desires at the moment. The best thing you can do is talk to them and then decide together whether they need it, or simply want it for no reason.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”