Raising kids is no easy task and there really aren't any manuals that come tailored specifically for your child. The Bible has awesome guidance and helps us to know what traits are good and which are not. So, I often find myself referring to it.
I know how it happens. You're in a store and Sarah sees something she wants. She starts to beg. "Mommy please can I have that toy???? Please?" You tell her no, because it was not a planned purchase. Well, Sarah doesn't like that response in any way, shape, or form. So, Sarah turns it up a notch. The whole scene escalates till out of fear of looking like a bad mommy, you cave and give her what she wants.
The score: Sarah-1 Mommy-0.
This is a common scenario and it has happened to all of us. Luckily, I read many books, talked to friends, watched parents, and learned that this is not a good strategy. It may make that moment in time a little more comfortable- but it sets mommy and Sarah up for many more fights down the road.
Early on, I taught my kids that no matter how they beg, they're not going to get what they want (article coming soon- Toddler Prep). They cannot and should not ask for things in the store. If they want me to consider a purchase, they can ask me while I am making the list.
Once our oldest son understood the expectations, he passed it down to the younger ones. They saw his example and knew that mommy means what she says.
Our kids are not spoiled, as a result. So far, all their clothes are hand me downs or from garage sales- they don't care- they haven't even noticed (plus in the area where we live you have really awesome neighborhood garage sales). They think that going to Dunkin Donuts for an 99 cent ice cream is a big celebration. They think that going to the amusement park (the cheapest one I can find) for a day is a vacation. Tent camping for a week every summer is the most exciting thing of all. They get excited over things that other kids wouldn't. Having 4 kids would completely break the bank if it weren't for their joy "in the small stuff."
The key is being persistent. Don't give up/in. Ask God for help, if you're feeling like you can't do it. He will carry you through. And, if you fail- there is always tomorrow.
I am not saying you need to dress your kids in rags and deprive them of things. Our children are given everything they need- and then some and LOTS of LOVE! And isn't that the most important gift they can have?
While raising our kids, I constantly ask myself: What kind of traits are important for them to have as adults? Yes, I fail- we all do! But, they are not going to be God-fearing, generous, kind, loving, strong, and confident by chance. It is intentional hard work.
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