Articles keep popping up at this time of the year either to complain about or explain the "I want more" attitude on the part of so many children as we get closer to Christmas...and to Hanukkah, and any other time of celebration that once only called for one or two gifts. And often there is the talk of different ideas of how to instill a sense of gratitude.
Well, it is impossible to instill a sense of gratitude in anyone when the good things in and about their lives seem to be a natural entitlement. And that is what children today have been raised to expect...at least most of them. And that results from a faulty definition of "love" in the minds and hearts of their parents.
The vast majority of parents love their children. My parents loved me and, perhaps to a lesser degree than parents today, made the same mistake. They had gone through the depression and knew extreme hardship. They wanted to protect me from that kind of deprivation. So...they spoiled me...at least in part. I got more stuff at Christmas than I needed. And if I really wanted something during the year, with time, effort and whining, I usually got it eventually.
But, and I thank them now for this (as some of you will understand, I felt much abused at the time), I was required to contribute to the family well-being: cutting the lawn (it wasn't a power mower) during the summer, clearing the walkway and steps when it snowed during the winter, vacuuming the house twice a week (both my parents worked), preparing dinner so it was ready for the stove or oven when my parents got home. I was raised to understand that life involved work and that work was to be performed enthusiastically, not grudgingly. The plight of children around the world and even her in America was pointed out to me often and I was made to understand just how blessed I was to have a home, clothes, parents who cared, schooling and unfettered opportunity to succeed. I might not have liked it, but I got it. I did have gratitude. Still do. And...I think my children do also.
These days I see kids arguing with their parents...and surviving. I see grandchildren disrespecting their grandparents. I see kids acting like rules were made for others, not them. I see young adults clueless about the definition, much less the concept, of "consequences", which they think is something that happens to "others." And NOBODY seems to think that that is unacceptable.
Forget Christmas. Deal with the rest of the year. If we do, Christmas, Hanukkah, and any other celebration will take care of itself...show that you "really" love your children...say, "NO," and mean it.