One of the greatest and most unforeseen consequences of being a parent is letting your kids loose without any sort of guidance and adherence to social norms and etiquettes. Parents do not want to raise kids who think that the world owes them something. All parents dream of having kids who know how to work hard and create what they want in their world, without having to rely or inherit things through nepotism.
However, we also want to raise our kids to know what their own self-worth is and how to maximize those skillsets to achieve an advantage in life. The balance is a sensitive one.
Here are some tips that parents employ to help their kids to have a better future for themselves.
- Don’t feed your child’s emotional hunger with worldly possessions
The desire for material possessions / craving is something that we all have imbedded in us. Material wants can also sometimes manifest into the desire of being seen, accepted and cherished. Sometimes what happens when we as parents get busy, we feel guilty and get gifts for our children in the hopes of winning back their adoration. Then when they ask for more, you are unable to stop giving because you are now so accustomed to that mindset. Although it may be easier to just buy something for them, the consequences of doing so can lead to bigger and irreversible problems in the future when they become adults. As the wise saying goes, “ Children thrive when you give them half as many present and twice as much of your presence.”
- Instead of shaming, empower kids to create their own abundance
Sometimes when parents do not have the means to help the child on what they would like to get, show your child that there are alternatives to their “wants”. Example of “ “You really want that, I hear you… Wow, that is cool, isn’t it?… It’s not in our plan for today“ (In other words, this is not about a poverty mentality. It’s about priorities) … “No, we aren’t getting that today…. I’m sorry that’s hard for you…. I see how much you like it… Do you want me to put it on your birthday list?… You’re right, your birthday is a long way off…. But if it is still what you want most, then maybe you can have it then…. And you know, if you really want it sooner, you can earn the money… Sure, I can think of some odd jobs that aren’t part of your normal chores… And you’re getting old enough that maybe you could walk the dog for Mrs. Turner, or shovel the snow this winter around the neighborhood.” By offer such alternatives and discussing options with them, it gets them to think and not be stuck on wanting that shiny new toy.
- Empower your child by giving them a chance to learn the value of hard work.
When they are able to learn that they can work for what they want, it would give them a great sense of responsibility for them to undertake this themselves. Eventually, they will start to have dreams of what they would like to work on for their futures. By instilling this sense of good work ethics at an early age, you are ensuring that your child will be a well-rounded and responsible future adult.
- Help your child how to hold a job.
The sense of understanding how to earn a dollar and what the value of a dollar is worth is the overall goal of the parent. As they are growing up and helping you with the chores and getting paid, explain to them what they can buy with their earned income. Why it matters to save as well as think about how to earn more faster.
- Teach that every job worth doing is worth doing well….
Each job that they get while working has its own value and dignity. So when they see you showing gratitude to people that work around them such as the crossing guards or school bus drivers … it explains a lot just by seeing the appreciation and not just words.
- Role- model gratitude and values
They say that children will not listen to what you say but will always do what you do. Meaning if you have the tendency to want the newest item that came out, your child will follow in your same footsteps and they would be the same. So if you decide to be a pillar of the community and give back. The same can be expected of them as they grow up.
- Help your child to learn to be accountable for damaged goods.
If your child loses their favorite toy or library book or cell phone, don’t run out right away to get them a replacement. Allow them to experience the sense of loss and help them understand that getting that replacement will be entirely up to them and their own work ethics.
- Counteract the message that happiness can be bought
We understand that parents are the ones that help their children learn about life, but TV is just as effective as a teacher as well. TV can be very influential to our children lives and can persuade them to be think that “ More money means more things”. Don’t let them fall into this trap. Becoming sheep for mass media at a young age only make things worse for them as they age.
- Help your child wire their brains for a different kind of reward.
When a child who loves sports, music, cooking , writing and other interests vs the need to consume and buy, you should always focus in on these interests and help them foster these thoughts as much as possible. Over time, it will be the sheer act of participation that is their priority over the need to always consume.
- Give back as a family
When your child see you give back to the community in food drives or volunteering at the homeless shelter, they will see how it can be a blessing for those that are in need and a sense of caring from you. This sort of mentality will directly translate over to them and you can expect them to copy your compassion in everyday life as well.