February 21, 2017

Should You Give Your Kids Whatever They Want?

There has been a growing trend in this country to allow children to have whatever they want.  And while this sounds like a great deal for the children we really have to question if this is actually good for them.  Some in society will tell us that if we really love our kids we would not hold back giving them something they really wanted, but what if what they really wanted was something harmful?

The kicking and screaming of a child who wants to have a toy on the shelf can be an embarrassing experience for a parent who wants to be seen as a good parent even in the eyes of the strangers at the mall.  And often the only way a parent knows how to silence the child is by giving them what they want.  This immediate satisfaction is a great way to calm a child down, but this is also teaching him a dangerous lesson.

You might not even think you are teaching the child anything by giving him what he wants to make him behave properly, but the lesson is loud and clear.  You are teaching the child that the way to get what you want is to be belligerent, and these lessons are often carried into adolescence as well.  Rather than rewarding good behavior you are rewarding the very behavior you are trying to stop.  This is why so many parents are struggling with their kids.  They think the path to peace is to shower the children with gifts to get them to be good, but this only worsens the problem over time.

You might think your children are too young to learn how life works, but they are learning it anyway in how you treat them.  And if you show them through real life examples that when you are well-behaved you are rewarded, and when you are ill-behaved you are not, it shows them that the same is true in society.  But sadly, some children become adults and still act-out and believe that irrational behavior will lead to getting what they want.  And although it might work with some parents who don’t know what else to do, this strategy backfires in real life.

Yes, you should give your children what they want, but you need to do it in the right way and for the right reasons.  Remember that giving a child what he wants to make him be quiet is just adding fuel to the fire.  And when the child grows up to believe that you get what you want by throwing a temper tantrum, the parent is largely to blame.  You might think that the public schools are responsible for teaching your children, but these children spend much more time watching you at home than sitting at a desk at school.  And those little eyes and ears see and hear everything.

Brenda Watson writes about issues with children and also for an American Girl dolls website.

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