We live in a very materialistic world. One lesson of real value is teaching kids not to get everything they want. It seems that almost every television commercial targets children into getting their parents to buy some new cereal, fast food items, toy, or any new gadget that comes on the market. Limiting television time is a very good idea. If your child is in public school, you may have the added challenge of preventing your child from being influenced by his or her peers. Peer pressure is a powerful thing, for good or bad.
I witnessed a little boy at a park throwing a tantrum, while his frustrated mother attempted to “reason” with him. I thought to myself that my mother never would have put up with me doing that. She would have marched me right back to the car and took me straight home. That would have taught me not to have a repeat performance if I ever wanted to play at the park. Some parents have offered some good advice that I thought I’d share with you.
1. Define your family’s values. Every family does things a little differently. Sometimes, in older children, taking the time to explain things is often better than just saying, “No. Because I said so.” I remember when I was about ten years old, I went grocery shopping with my mother. In the cereal aisle, I asked permission to buy some “sweet” cereal with a cartoon character on the box. My mother said she didn't think it was a good idea. I asked her why, and she patiently explained that she believed that over-consumption of sugar destroyed a person’s health, and that she loved me and wanted me to always be healthy. She also pointed out that the sweet cereals were often more expensive because the companies were making people pay for the colorful boxes and advertizing. Well, that made a world of sense to me as a ten year old! After that, I willingly ate the healthier options.
2. If your child really wants something, come up with a plan for him or her to earn money and save up for the item. Assign him or her some extra projects around the house. By earning small amounts of money over time, your child will probably appreciate the item more if he or she is forking over their own cash. It’s been said that “people appreciate more the things they have to work for.”
3. Retain veto power. Remember that as a parent you ALWAYS have the right to say no. You don’t have to justify a decision to not let your child get something that he or she really wants. Just like Yahweh, as our parent, does not give us everything we pray for, we must also do the same with our children.