Okay, so before you give me a “You don’t tell me what to do with my kids look” – I just want to say, HOLD UP! this post is not about how you should raise your kids. That’s totally your business and your prerogative however; this post is about my experience or should I say “on-going” experience with making sure I instill this in my own children, which has it’s many ups, downs, curve-balls and catch 22 throws – given the day.
So, if you’re struggling with getting your kids to appreciate what they have already as opposed to having their hands out waiting on every new gadget that comes out on the market, then maybe some of the tips I have will help – then again, you may have some pointers that can help me out, so please feel free to leave any helpful tips in the comment section, they will be greatly appreciated –
When I had my kids or I guess I should say “before” I had my two kids, my goal was to give them everything in the world, including the things that I felt like my own mom couldn’t afford to give me – I was determined, when I grew up, I was going to make sure I made up for my loss through my kids. Let me just say, that was a fantasy world filled with rainbows and unicorns that never came to fruition because “after” I had my kids, reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t count on going through a divorce, foreclosure, repossessions, dead-end jobs that didn’t pay enough money, let alone having to raise them all alone. So the glitz and glamour life I dreamed of for them soon became a fire that seemed to never go out.
My mom used to always tell us growing up, “If you appreciate what you have now, God will bless you to what you want later.” that talk usually came during the time when we had to eat brown beans and cornbread for 3 or 4 days in a row. As a child, I didn’t understand why we didn’t have what other kids had or why we always had to get our clothes from the thrift store and when mama worked in the cafeteria at a local high school, why did the leftovers that nobody touched or wanted had to be our dinner for the night. While I didn’t understand those times and hardships or why mama worked so hard to seemingly bring home nothing in terms of money, she was so right “God definitely did bless us to get what we wanted to eat, when those food stamps came the following week…lol
We learned to be grateful for little and when we received a lot – we knew how to handle it. Now that I’m older with children of my own – although the jobs offer more and we have a little more than back then – the principal of “being grateful” still exists. But when you live in a world where everyone wants “MORE” it can be a strain sometimes on a parent to fulfill that thirst with our own kids; especially when they’re coming out with a new phone every two months or new sneakers every single day and when your kids see that?, the only thing they know is “They want It” and as a parent, we try our best to make sure they get it – but is that really good behavior? I mean, what are we telling them, that life works that way? You see it, You want it, and it will be given to you?
UNFORTUNATELY – NOT IN THIS LIFE!!!
Listed below are a couple of things that I do to get my kids to be more grateful or appreciative of what they have.
Let them Know Life Requires Work
As a Mom I have to remind my kids that if they want anything in life, they have to work for it and that doesn’t mean when they get in their 20’s, No – the act of working for what you want starts now! If I let them get away with not doing the dishes but still reward them anyway, then that’s setting them up for failure because they’ll get older and think that life is supposed to work that way and unfortunately it doesn’t.
Saying No, Will Not Hurt Their Feelings in the Future!
Okay, I admit – I hate saying No to my kids but at the same time, I can’t always say yes either because they’re not going to always receive a YES in life, I wish that were true but again, unfortunately it’s not. Saying No to your child now teaches them early about disappointment. As parents we have to teach them how to deal with disappointment when they get a NO because their attitude will determine what the outcome will be.
Give Them Real Talk About Your Situation
I know most parents hate telling their children when they have hit hard times or maybe dad or mom just got laid off of work in which will bring major changes to the household. But I say, talk to your kids about what’s going on – (Use your discretion) but I feel like when things are hidden its a setup for disappointment, anger and resentment – now while you still may get that type of behavior once you reveal your truth, at least they know what’s going on – and then again, you just may be surprised at how they respond or take it. I talk to my children about our hardships and I have been very surprised at how they handled it and what suggestions they have come up with to help out.
Teach Them To Be More Givers instead of Receivers
We live in a world where children no longer want or feel as though they have to work for anything, as parents, they feel as though we’re made of money. An ATM in which they can come, push a button and get what they want – but not so! The act of giving more than receiving has to be taught to them, as it’s not something that they will grab a hold of themselves – it has to be shown through you. My mother was a huge giver of her money, time and resources and because of seeing her be that type of person my whole life, it stuck with me and it’s something that I try to teach my kids to do and that’s to be selfless.
Unfortunate Situations – Show Them, Don’t Tell Them
Another great lesson in which I ‘m trying to instill in my kids is that everyone is not as fortunate as them. My daughter complained one night because she had to eat green beans with her dinner and because she didn’t want to do it, she decided that she wasn’t going to eat at all due to the fact of it not being what she wanted. I had to tell and show her that every child is not so fortunate to have a meal or a mom to come home and cook for them. There are children whom would eat those green beans and anything else you put on their plate, because they know at one point they didn’t have anything to eat and are just grateful to get anything. In most countries children are not even given choices as to what they want to eat – so showing our kids unfortunate situations could help them be a little more grateful for what they have, even though it’s not what they want.
Raising kids is hard-work as we have a limited time to teach them everything we feel they may need to know in the world. Teaching them to have an attitude of gratitude may not be one of the lessons that seem to be with them now but if we keep teaching – hopefully the seeds being planted will yield a good harvest, and maybe just maybe – They’ll thank us for it later.
Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager
Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire Often & Love Hard!