On my brief outing to the mall to pick up gifts for two weekend parties that my children were invited to, I noticed some fun little extras that would make great gifts to surprise my own kids with on a cold fall day. So, after leaving the mall with not only gifts for the birthday parties, but a surplus of gift items for each of my kids, my conscience began to get the best of me. Could this “innocent” little splurge of love be doing more harm than good?
I was behind on time and quickly unloaded the van and entered the house to begin making dinner. Against my better judgement, I decided to recruit 2 of the kids to aid in speeding up the process. One was asked to set the table while the other was asked to unload the dishwasher. Not one but both requests were met with hostile sighs of rebellion! I was outraged! And, that is when I was struck by the second question! Can we love our children too much by placing them on a petastool and doing everything for them above and beyond our parental duties?
As these thoughts continued to plague me, I grew less anxious and increasingly more fearful to share my lovely trinkets of love that were purchased earlier today. Instead, I was rooting for ways to decontaminate them from the damage that my husband and I had already done! There is no doubt that each of us has been guilty at one time or another of going against our better judgement all in the name of F-U-N! However, when your children can’t find it within themselves to do the simplest of tasks without sighing, stomping and complaining, you begin to realize that overdosing on fun and innocent fall gifts just may need to take a rest for a while until the right priorities are established.
Since I now know that I’ve been a part of a big problem, with sirens ringing and whistles blowing, it was time for me to be a part of the solution! I, after all, have never done this parenting thing before in another life! I was determined to improve upon this quandary, but I know that I would not be able to do it alone!
Yes, the first reality to face is that not much is going to change if my husband and I are not both on the same page! We must both be consistent and agree that over indulgence is not beneficial if we expect our children to do as they are told simply because we ask and not because they think they should be getting something in return. Next is being balanced. If children are raised in an environment where each day for them is one big party with no responsibilities; then, how are they ever going to value hard work as adults? Third, rewarding undesirable behavior by giving into a child’s wants will only send your child mixed messages. Children need the firmness of always knowing that negative behavior will result in punishment and loss of privileges. Finally, rather than being the exception, make it the rule, that rewards need to be earned! That new game or a trip to the amusement park isn’t going to happen without some hard work and dedication to the tasks that they are regularly expected to complete. Putting a limit on fun until all work is done is not a withholding of love. No, I don’t think we can ever love our children too much, but if we are not careful, the over indulgence with which we love them with can easily begin to pollute their perspective on what love is. So, let’s love our kids by taking action, and not immediately entertaining them with gifts and trips to life’s candy store! When we give them our humble hearts, trust me, it means so much more!