Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Teaching Kids Appreciation in a Selfie Obsessed Generation


'Teenagers Taking Photo With Phone stock photo' via freedigitalphotos.net


I didn’t have a lot growing up - but there were a few times my dad did spoil me. It was awesome. I would have loved it to happen more often, but it didn't.

It worked like this: If we had the money during the holidays- I got what I wanted. If we didn’t, well, then I went without. It was hard to understand when I was young, but I eventually realized this:

There was always a roof over my head, a family, plenty of food, and I was getting a good education.

I had the basics.

If I wanted a $50.00 pair of jeans, or something over our budget, I saved my allowance to pay for it. There were times that I didn’t think I should have to do this, and looking back, I might have thought my dad took it to extremes, but actually, he was incredibly smart in the way he raised me.

As a parent now, I’ve adopted many of his teachings with my own kids. 

This might sound cruel to you (Tiger-Mom-Haters take note) but I occasionally remind my children that I'm only required to provide them with love, a warm/dry home, food, an education, a bed to sleep in and someone who cares and listens to them. I also remind them that I assist them in their education planning, career planning and I am always here to answer their questions, sort out their feelings, listen to their concerns, and to help them become a better person but…as my father always said, “I am not Rockefeller”.

I cannot buy them everything under the sun. But I can show them how to get it if they want it.


A good work ethic is probably one of the most amazing things my father taught me (aside from not being a quitter) a go-get-em attitude has helped me out the most in life.

Everyone knows that parable, "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day- teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime". Teaching kids how to have a good work ethic helps them obtain their desires, plus appreciate things more.  

Getting your child to appreciate begins with just 1 thing:
 Teaching responsibility

I'm sorry, but for some parents, this means that you have to be okay with not being the one to take all the glory of providing them with what they want. Yeah, I know, rough not being the Hero all the time, but the coolest thing about this is that there is a bonus: your kids gain self-esteem.

When they learn to provide things for themselves, not only do they realize how real life works, but they gain a healthy pride for using their own resources to get what they want, leading them to value what it is they are going after and then gain momentum to do it again!

Another thing it does….
It strengthens their future marriage: 

-Girls learn that someone else (a boy) is not responsible for their happiness (or their material things). 
-A boy learns he is not responsible for someone else’s happiness, or life long needs. 

In our current society, this understanding is pertinent to healthy, long term intimate relationships. 
Maybe back when there wasn't much a woman could do (or was allowed to do) outside of the home, it wasn't as important (nor was it customary), but now things are much different - most families are two income households. Valuing what we have, and how we get it, is important to relational balance when it comes to finances in marriage. (We all know that the #1 thing couples fight about is $$$.)

Besides, aren't we all suppose to learn how to rely on ourselves so we become 
full functioning, responsible members of society? We should be learning this all throughout our childhood, not just on our 18th birthday and beyond… 
Waiting that long would be just be a disservice.

Life requires balance and we don’t always have it. 

Take a step back from your home/family and look for balance. Do you work 24/7, 365 days, to give everyone everything, and at the end of the day look back and wonder why you feel under-appreciated? Do you children repeatedly ask for (or demand) things without taking care of what they already have? Would you just once, like your children not to sigh when they don’t get what they want?


Wanting to give too much can leave us depleted and taken for granted. 
Getting too much creates entitlement issues and resentment.

I have more than once made a child of mine pay for replacement shoes because they ruined a brand new pair in a situation they were fully aware would wreck them. That actually happened to two of my children, once. They never did it again, and my third child learned from their mistake. Now they reach for the 'play' shoes before they tackle the muck and mud.

I once asked my grandmother a few years before she passed, what she would have done differently as a parent… her answer? 'I wouldn't have bailed them out so much'.

As for me, I am not Rockefeller's daughter-
And I think I'm pretty happy I'm not (and my kids are pretty lucky).


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