Making them Happy
Okay, don’t be mad at me, because I know how overly simplistic it is going to sound. Our kids are relatively easy to please. It is not because of their personalities. Why then? Well, it’s because we keep the treats and the special surprises to enough of a minimum that when they happen, our kids appreciate them rather than expect them. We make sure that our kids are well aware of how little some people in the world actually have, so that they can maintain a realistic perspective.
I don’t even acknowledge comments like: “I have to have such and such…” or “Everyone else has a what’s-it called…” Our children are not allowed to argue with us, or to beg. No means no, and pushing the issue risks a punishment. I also still believe that it has a lot to do with refusing to let them watch the spoiled materialistic teenager shows that are all over television. I know that it has something to do with the fact that my husband and I make sure to expose them to the opposite sort of teenagers...the hard working, community supporting, future leader teenagers. Our kids have good role models.
If one of my kids came up to me and said they were bored, and demanded I take them to a movie, I might faint. Believe me, it would not go over well. I mention it because I have seen a lot of kids do this throughout my life, like they have mom and dad on a leash. Our kids are well aware that we are not their chauffeurs, nor their entertainment staff. And like I said, when we do go out for ice cream, or out to dinner, they really do appreciate it. They don’t expect to go out to dinner four times a week. We go out maybe twice a month at most. They are in no way bored with eating out…hence they behave like grateful little angels when we are in a restaurant.
My husband points out often that rather than stuff or entertainment, children would prefer more quality time with their parents. My kids are thrilled when they get the chance to run errands with either of us alone, so that they can get some one on one time. We saw it over and over again with our foster kids. The kids were rarely neglected by material means. Most of them had shoes that cost five times what my own did. They were deprived of attention, time, and love…and their less than adequate parents tried to make up for it with stuff.
My kids aren’t abnormal. They talk back to my husband or I at times. They make huge messes. They bicker endlessly, and they have plenty of fits. They do not have us wrapped around their little fingers though…well maybe my husband a little more than me. Think about whether or not you run yourself crazy all day long trying to please your kids. If you do, you must be pretty worn out. Once they get the upper hand, kids are brilliant at ruling the roost. It is not selfish for you to lay some ground rules for yourself and your kids for the sake of maintaining your sanity. I do deeply believe that the kids will be better off for it in the long run. To be able to appreciate things as an adult rather than to expect them, is a huge advantage.