When your kids have been away all summer, sometimes the parent may fantasize about them. Like, I wish they were here. We have so much fun together! I can’t wait for the activity and noise again. Then they come home, and at dinner, her oldest says, “When I have kids, I am not going to spoil them like you guys have spoiled me.” I would have more character if I weren’t spoiled.”
Now if you have read any of my previous posts, you know that I am constantly struggling with my parental decisions. (See My Husband Told Me I Can Sleep With Eminem and I Think My Daughter Should Take Up The Harp)
And now, my kid is telling me I have screwed him up because maybe we went to Disney a few too many times, and he gets new sneakers? And I think to myself, “When the f!?k am I going to get my thanks? Is he going to have to win an Oscar?” ”I’d like to thank g-d and my mother for always being there for me, and for encouraging me to ride Space Mountain. If she didn’t make me face my fear then, I wouldn’t be here now. Mom, this is for you!”
A tear almost hits the sushi roll on my plate, and we move on to another subject. Then of course, I go home and wake myself up at 5am thinking about it. The great thing about kids is that they are like truth serum. They are honest to a fault and when they say something poignant, they really mean it. So I think it’s our job as parents to really listen.
Have we made it too easy for our kids that they are not equipped with the character to deal with life? Notice how I am saying “We”? I am not going down alone in this. So I do what any responsible modern parent would do. I search the internet, “Building character in children” And you know what I found out? That I am doing a pretty good job, oh, I mean Scott and I are doing a good job. I did just stop at one, How to Build Character in Kids, but it confirmed my husband and I are on the right track, so I stopped searching.
I completely agree with this article that the best way to build character in your child is to make sure they know they are loved, to expect them to be kind and sensitive to others. To teach them that they have a responsibility to their commitments, to know that there are consequences to their decisions. Show them that charity is a wonderful way to give back to the community. And most important, to be honest not only with others, but with themselves.
So yes, we may spoil our children. They don’t need half the shit we give them. But we are raising them to be decent, loving, respectful human beings.
But just for fun, I might return the video game my son asked for, and received for no reason. I don’t want to spoil him!
(photo courtesy of thefiscaltimes.com)