ARE WE RAISING A GENERATION OF SPOILT KIDS? 

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I know this will make me sound ancient, but back in my day, kids had more respect for adults. As a child you only spoke to adults when spoken to, you would never have the audacity to back chat and you did what was expected of you because that’s what you were told to do.

Perhaps it was because we feared our parents! If we didn’t do as we were told or were rude, they could and would hit us, usually with whatever kitchen utensil was closest.

I’m not advocating hitting children but I think we are raising a generation who are very familiar with adults and with that familiarity comes a lack of respect for their elders. There are also no harsh penalties for misbehaving so kids push the limits without worrying about the consequences!

Kids these days have such comfortable lives they expect everything to be done for them. In my kids I notice a lack of appreciation for all they have and a lack of work ethic to earn money to buy things they want – they just expect they can ask for things and it is their right to receive them. Even when I give my kids the option of earning extra pocket money through doing additional chores, they generally choose to not take up that opportunity because of the effort involved.

The other day I was talking to a friend, questioning where I have gone wrong, as I’m trying to raise well-adjusted kids. I was relieved to hear that she suffers the same frustrations with her kids. Maybe it is a phase they will grow out of, or maybe it is a generational thing – just as our parents before us probably think we are a spoilt generation.

Perhaps the solution is to send our kids to a remote village in a third world country so they can see how fortunate they are in their everyday lives and maybe then they would have some appreciation for the privileged lives they lead. 

Realistically I think the only thing we can do is to be consistent with our values and hope that our kids will mature to adopt these in the way they live.

 

Do you feel like your kids sometimes don’t show you the respect that you deserve or that they are too spoilt? What have you done to address this?

 

 

(Photo courtesy of stockphoto, freedigitalphotos.net)

YOU’RE SO STRICT

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A parents struggle from the moment they have their child is between wanting to ensure their child loves (and even likes) them and enforcing rules that will set the basis for their child to have values and morals that will steer them through life. We have to balance giving them freedom whilst still ensuring their safety. There are no set rules about when a child has the maturity and intelligence to take on additional responsibilities, we just have to use our gut feel as to what is right for our child at that time. Sometimes that means that your kids won’t like you, but hopefully they will respect that you make decisions in their best interests. At the end of the day, we aren’t here to be their friends; we are their parents and have to take that responsibility seriously.

Kids will always play the “You’re so strict! My friends’ mums let them do x,y,z” card and more often than not it isn’t actually the case. Rather, the kids are all bullying their parents into thinking that they are the only ones not allowing their kids freedom. Often if you just talk with the other parents, you will find out that they share a common concern to you.

Years ago I saw a poem called ‘I Loved You Enough’ and it struck a chord with me. I would like to share it with all those parents who have kids who think they are too strict:

 

I LOVED YOU ENOUGH
By Erma Bombeck

 

I Loved You Enough….to ask where you were going,

with whom, and what time you would be home.

 

I Loved You Enough….to insist that you save

your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we

could afford to buy one for you.

 

I Loved You Enough…. to be silent and let

you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

 

I Loved You Enough….to make you take a Milky Way

back to thedrugstore (with a bite out of it)

and tell the clerk,”I stole this yesterday and

want to pay for it.”

 

I Loved You Enough….to stand over you for

two hours while you cleaned your room,

a job that would have  taken 15 minutes.

 

I Loved You Enough….to let you see anger, disappointment

and tears in my eyes.

Children must learn that their parents aren’t perfect.

 

I Loved You Enough….to let you assume the

responsibility for your actions even when the penalties

were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all,

 

I Loved You Enough….

to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.

I’m glad I won them, because in the end,

you won, too.

 

When our kids are adults and are capable of looking after themselves, maybe then I can be their friend, but for now I’m just a Mother who loves her kids and regardless of whether they like it or not, I love them enough to be stricter than they want me to be and I hope that in the future they will thank me for caring, keeping them safe and raising them to be good people.

 

(Photo courtesy of photostock, freedigitalphotos.net)

PUSHING THE LIMITS

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It would be hypocritical of me to call my blog truth about parenting if I only gave you a ‘rose coloured glasses’ kind of portrayal of my life.

Of course I love my kids and most of the time they make me very proud, but then there are days where I wish I could resign from being a mum. Days when my kids frustrate and anger me, leaving me questioning where I went wrong! 

I always maintain consistency with my kids about what is expected of them. They know that I expect them to do their set chores, be respectful to other people (particularly their family) and complete their homework. They also know that if they don’t comply then there are consequences for their actions and that I will always follow through with those threatened consequences. 

One of my kids in particular is intelligent, articulate and confident. These are all attributes that allow her to take on leadership roles at school and participate in the debating team. Those same traits however also mean that when at home she can be obstinate, argumentative and disobedient if she is feeling out of sorts.

Periodically the values I have tried to instill in my daughter seem to be lost as her anger boils over, usually from something simple like being reminded to do her chores. When she is in a rage, my husband and I just can’t talk sense into her. She always has some come back and refuses to comply with simple requests. If I put my foot down her anger just intensifies. The only thing that works is if she has time out to calm down, but sometimes that just isn’t viable due to a tight schedule of commitments for the rest of the family.

After a tantrum the other day she told me that I use my kids as slave labour and that it is unfair that she is expected to unpack the dishwasher twice a week when I do nothing. I then offered to swap her chore of unpacking the dishwasher twice a week in return for all that I do each week: approximately 15 loads of washing; hanging them out to dry; bringing in the clean clothes; folding and putting them away; grocery shopping; unpacking all the groceries; making school lunches; preparing dinner; walking and feeding the dog; tidying the house; helping everyone with homework whilst managing multiple sporting teams. I conceded that I would have to continue to drive all the kids to their activities on account of the fact that she is too young to drive. She sheepishly declined the offer to swap chores and agreed to stick to unpacking the dishwasher twice a week. 

I guess all kids push the limits (particularly if there are hormones racing around in their bodies) and although sometimes I feel like tearing out my hair I just try to remain consistent and hope that it is a short lived phase.

 

(Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitialphotos.net)

SPONSOR CHILD

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A few years ago I thought it was a great idea to sponsor a child in a third world country. My hopes were to choose a child whom my children could relate to so that my kids could develop empathy and compassion for people less fortunate than we are. I also hoped to obviously improve the living conditions and education for our sponsor child.

We sponsor a little girl in Uganda, who is the same age as my youngest daughter. My hopes were that through better education, this little girl would go on to give back to her community so that the whole village would eventually benefit from our charity.

Unfortunately, although this girl is now 11, all we receive from her are drawings of triangles, along with very basic information through a translator (that I’m not sure are her words). I’m afraid that my hopes are dashed of her growing up and helping the village and I truly don’t know how our sponsor child is actually benefitting at all from the hundreds of dollars we spend on her each year. My real fear is that the majority of the funds are actually going to marketing materials for the charity as I constantly receive propaganda to sponsor more children.

Not only hasn’t our sponsor child’s intellect seemed to develop, but neither has my children’s empathy for her situation. Although they are aware of this child, they show very little interest in her. I wanted my kids to be able to see the difference we are making in her life, but there doesn’t seem to be any improvement with her academically or socially. I had hoped they would develop a relationship of being able to be pen-pals to discuss the diversity of their lives, maybe to even meet one day in the future. This doesn’t seem like it will ever be the case, as it is difficult to correspond with her outside of the carbon copy communication forms that come from the charity.

So I’m at a crossroads. I’m paying to fund the sponsorship of a child that I’m not sure is benefitting from it and it hasn’t taught my kids any of the life lessons I had hoped to instill in them. Whilst I still feel sorry for the people living in third world countries, I think that maybe I should focus my donations on a local children’s hospital so that the money goes directly to the source and doesn’t get watered down by a charitable organisation.

Have you had a positive experience with sponsoring a child? It seems everyone I talk to has a similar tale to me!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of Africa, freedigitalphotos.net)