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Don't Give Your Kids What They Want . . .

Can you say “NO” to your child?

I recently read an article by Tim Elmore titled – “Bringing Out the Best in Your Kids”. I want to share some its key points.

Elmore starts by saying parents and teachers are both asking him – How do I influence my kids without over controlling them while having consistent peace in our home/classroom? And, how do I bring out the best in my child?

What most parents are trying to avoid are the all too common - children who display a sense of entitlement, low attention spans, and little patience.

The key is to give children what they needinstead of everything they want. Elmore goes on to give us three ways most parents apply “love” and what their kids “want”.

  1. If we got whatever we wanted and felt loved, we became spoiled.

There is a big difference between giving children what they need versus what they want. Many parents today feel their role is to give their kids anything they want. “Part of the reason kids possess a sense of entitlement is that adults have communicated kids ‘deserve’ whatever they want – the new iPad, the new smart phone, the new App on that phone, the newest name brand clothes, you name it. When we love our kids but express it this way, we set them on a path to act spoiled. They often become entitled adults as a result. They are brats that others don’t enjoy being around.”

2. If we got whatever we wanted but did not feel loved, we became superficial.

These are the families whose kids enjoy all the new “stuff” available in stores but still question whether they are really loved. This is often in homes where the parents are “busy”, and typically tired when they get home. They find it much easier to compensate for the lack of time and energy by buying things or the latest technology for their kids. They trade money for time. “Unfortunately, while the children enjoy the latest gadgets, they often wonder if mom or dad want to spend time with them or even loves them. They see time as more valuable than money. Because life has become about owning ‘things’, they want to win at that game and often become superficial with their relationships. They don’t know how to go deep and stick to the surface.”

3. If we did not get whatever we wanted but still felt loved, we became secure.

“It may seem ironic, but the healthiest scenario for kids is when parents both find authentic ways to communicate they love their children and deny them every little thing they want. Over time, this wonderful scenario communicates to the children that mom and dad love them so much, they have set parameters to guide their child’s development. Security is the result of consistent leadership and boundaries in the home. Saying ‘no’ actually convinces those children of love instead of the opposite. More often than not, those kids mature into healthy adults who can set boundaries for themselves. Life is more than things and pleasures and stimulation. It’s about love and trust.”

So slowly and consistently learn how to say “no” to your child. This may well be one of the most powerful parenting skills you will ever learn. This may be hard at first, especially if you initially started as the parent who gave their child everything. Start slowly but be consistent. Love them by setting strong boundaries, rules and expectations. Kids thrive with structure and certainty. They do not with chaos and inconsistencies.

In the end, your child will feel secure and loved.

Yours for stronger kids,


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