This evening at the kids swimming lessons I was chatting to a friend about the week ahead. It's a busy one with OT and dentist appointments, soccer training, more swimming lessons and the school disco. My friend was expressing her concern with not wanting her child to attend the disco but didn't know what to say to him or how to handle the situation.
After a moments pause I turned to her and said 'Just say no.'
She laughed and her reply to my statement was 'Yeah, why didn't I think of that?'
And I think I know why. It is because we rarely tell our children 'no.'
Is it just my kids that act spoilt and entitled or do others feel their children live an entitled life too?
I swear my three children think money and time are never-ending commodities.
Growing up I never just assumed I would go to every birthday party I was invited to, or play every sport after school. I never expected that I'd always have new clothes or shoes (I often wore hand-me-downs) and although I'd whinge at being told 'no', it was a word and notion that I was very familiar with. And I don't feel deprived. I don't ever look back on my childhood and feel as though I missed out on anything at all. My childhood was simple in such a wonderful way. I didn't get everything I wanted, when I wanted it, and life was still good.
Why are we as parents so afraid of telling our kids 'no' or 'not this time'? So often it seems easier at the time to just say yes and not have to deal with tears, tantrums, whinging and all the yelling.
I've had all sorts thrown at me as they stomp around the house...
'You're the worst Mum ever!'
'I hate you!'
and my favourite one yet...
'Why don't you love me?'
These meltdowns only reinforce to me that I need to pull back the reins. I need to stop giving them so many things and simplify their lives a little. Focus on what is right here in our home, all the good, all the quality, all the love. All the extra places to be and things to buy and demands to be met can be reduced and hopefully one day, one day, my kids might realise that I don't give them everything, not because I don't love them and not because I want to be mean, but because I hope to raise children who have gratitude and appreciation for special things in life. For all these things that so many others don't ever get to experience. I hope they gain some balance and perspective and understanding as they grow up under my care. And eventually, hopefully as adults and as parents they might look back and even be thankful that sometimes they were just told 'no'.