I recently read another blog that had some excellent writing on their personal experiences with kids getting completely spoiled by their parents on Christmas and other holidays. Unfortunately, the blog used a fair amount of cursing to get their point across, so I don’t feel all that inclined to link to it from this blog. I try to keep things on the family-friendly side here. It did inspire me to share a few thoughts on the topic though.
What exactly is it with parents these days? Ha! You thought I was going to launch right in on the kids, didn’t you? I’ll get to them in a minute. The reason I start in on the parents is it really is their fault. Being spoiled is not a genetic thing, it is a result of upbringing. Sure, tempers and personalities prone to anger can come from those genes a bit – goodness knows my son comes by it honestly – but the blame for being kids being spoiled lies squarely with the parents.
It all comes about quite honestly actually. Good parents want to give their kids the things they didn’t have growing up. That is the case with most parents anyway. Some parents did have most everything growing up, and may or may not have turned out ok. Having things is not a mortal sin, it is the attitude fostered that is the root of the problem. If you give in to a kid’s every whim, they don’t get the value of working for things; they just get. There is also something to be said for just plain not having something you want – it gives you something to strive for.
I come from what I consider humble roots. My parents made sure we were never without food on the table and a roof over our heads, but they worked hard to give us what we had and taught us the value of work. Fortunately, I don’t feel like anyone in my family was raised to be spoiled. Now that we are all wage-earning adults, we value the money we earn and try to spend it wisely. Because of this, I am at a lack of immediate, personal examples to share of spoiled kids, though I have experienced it with acquaintances in the past.
What happens when kids are given every possible gift? All the cool gifts, big gifts and then some more? They don’t value what they are given. A child is taught to be an ingrate. Small gifts carry no meaning and all they want is more, more MORE! Each Christmas and birthday becomes a game to get more and better gifts than last time. Perhaps even worse is when a gift is opened and the dismay is plainly painted on the face of the recipient. This can seem a little humorous with little kids but nip this one early. Teaching the value of being grateful is beyond measure. So what if those socks from Grandma were not the CD player you really wanted, be happy there was anything at all there and that you had a Grandma that is alive and cares enough about you. Stand up, give her a hug and make her feel like it is the best present you have ever received.
A good gift does not have to be something expensive; sometimes the best gift is something that shows how much the giver knows and cares about you. I think every child should be required to experience a birthday or holiday of entirely homemade gifts. There is really something to be said for taking the commercialization out of these occasions.
As mentioned previously, I enjoy getting gifts. I also enjoy giving them. I also enjoy when they are appreciated. These are all good things. I know I can attribute my attitudes and gratitude in these respects to my parents. I am so grateful they instilled in me these basic values. You may take a little guff for doing it, but sometimes it is better to be a great parent than just the favorite for a day.