Why It’s Okay for Kids to Not Get What They Want

noFrom the moment you become a parent, all you want is to love, protect and provide for your children. You want them to have more than you had, regardless of how your childhood might have been. It’s both normal and natural to want to provide a better life for your children, but it’s important to realize that it’s not only okay for them to not get what they want all the time, but also necessary.

Preventing a False Sense of Entitlement

When kids are handed big-ticket items and gifts without having to lift a finger for them and never hear the word “no,” it creates a false sense of entitlement that can follow them into adulthood. A child that’s accustomed to receiving everything he wants the moment he expresses the slightest interest comes to believe that he’s entitled to those things, and that everyone in his life should bend over backwards to see that he gets them. He never learns to earn the things that he wants, and is likely to be in for quite a shock when he reaches adulthood and doesn’t get his dream job straight out of college.

Instilling a Sense of Appreciation

Things that you earn simply hold more value than things you’re given, regardless of the price tag. That same fact holds true for your children, as well. When your child works to earn something she wants or puts in a real effort to obtain it on her own, she’s learning a valuable lesson in independence and the ability to truly appreciate the things that she has. No parent really wants to raise a spoiled, ungrateful child; still, handing things over to them without a moment’s pause or expecting them to work towards them at all helps you do just that.

Teaching Kids the Value of a Dollar

Your primary responsibility as a parent is to prepare your children for adulthood. One of the most important lessons you can impart to your kids as they grow up is that money doesn’t just appear out of thin air, and that the things they want have to be paid for. When your child saves up her own money to make a big purchase, or at least contributes to it, she’s able to understand just how much money it takes to buy nice things and that it doesn’t always come easily. In adulthood, that lesson is one that will serve your child well as she learns to budget effectively, rather than maxing out credit cards and amassing staggering debt to maintain the standard of living she became accustomed to throughout her childhood and teenage years.

Teaching Patience in an Instant-Gratification World

Today’s kids don’t have to wait for very much. Their entertainment is streamed directly to their computer or smartphone on demand, food can be microwaved in a few minutes and many of the things they want can be downloaded in mere seconds. As a result, many kids never learn how to wait patiently to obtain the things they want, or how to deal with the realization that everything their heart desires may not be available the moment they ask for it. When kids don’t get what they want, you’re not depriving them of basic needs. You’re actually teaching them how to be patient, as well as imparting the lesson that good things can come to those who are willing to work for them.

Because Lavish Gifts Don’t Make or Break You as a Parent

Expensive gifts might break the bank, but they aren’t a “make or break” indicator of your value as a parent. It’s tempting to give kids all the luxury items they ask for, especially if you feel guilty about how little time you’re able to spend together or because they’re being subjected to a nasty divorce. Still, you’re only soothing your own conscience when you ply kids with gifts as compensation. Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad parent, just as showering your child with material possessions doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a particularly good one.

Falling into the trap of catering to your child’s every whim affects more than just her development and attitude towards material goods. It’s also very easy to end up deeply in debt if you’re stretching yourself beyond your means to provide luxury items at the drop of a hat. Remember that a financially solvent, comfortable home is more valuable to your child than stressed, overworked parents that are constantly anxious about their level of debt.

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