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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to Unspoil Your Kids

We love our kids to death. So do their grandparents. Consequently, they are quite spoiled despite each of their sweet dispositions. So Doug and I have decided they need to understand they can't always get what they want. And if they want something badly enough, they need to work for it!

Last Saturday, after suffering a nasty headache for three days, I felt like Christmas shopping. But then my internal struggle began. "How can I take the kids without spending a fortune on stupid stuff they want?" Sticking to the resolution of unspoiling our children, here's the approach I took:

1) I gave the kids a choice, they could be paid for their November chores as usual or I would buy them ONE THING on our shopping trip -- but nothing more than $20! The kids were saavy enough to take the deal. Neither had more than ten stars (one star converts to one dollar).
2) By our second to last stop for the day, Alex found an awesome vest she wanted at Kohl's for the great price of $10. Perfect! Then she found a totally awesome sweatshirt for $20. That's when a thirty minute painstaking debate of what to choose began. So I'm trying to teach her about making choices, but my headache was creeping back and we hadn't even been to Target yet. Finally, I told her we would buy both and that she could pay me back the extra $10 later.

3)Remarkably, Cole found himself in the same predicament at Target. He really wanted a Batman DVD for $10, but he also wanted a Wii game for $20. So, after another thirty minute debate, I HAD to offer him the same deal as his sister. He was good with that.

I suggested to the kids they could pay me back the $10 by cleaning up a portion of the garage. I guess that idea was unacceptable.
"Just take it from my savings, Mom."
"Yeah, me too."

Right. Like I'm going to do that.

So, as I'm fretting about raising selfish, spoiled kids, something amazing occurred. The other night we were driving around looking at Christmas lights, I asked the kids about their favorite Christmas memory. I was shocked when they each recounted a special time they remembered at each of their Grandmas' houses. Isn't that cool? It wasn't about any great gift they received...and they even received a trip to Disney last year.

So, what's the lesson here? Don't ever take the kids shopping.

Do something with them instead.


Mom of 2 Boyz said...

Lesson #2: Just because we "spoil" our kids with material items sometimes, doesnt mean they dont get IT (all the good moral stuff) all the rest of the times! They sound like great kids.

Granny Annie said...

Bravo! Take them to Grandma's house. I can assure you that's the best present you can give the kids and the grandparents.