Parents – giving your children what they want is not the answer

Parents – giving your children what they want is not the answer

“Some parents feel like it is their duty to fulfill all or most of the wants of their children. Sometimes it is because they lacked things as a child and want to make up for their own loss, or they believe that their children will love and appreciate them more if they give them everything they want.” – Matthew Whoolery

When my wife was a little girl, and began losing her baby teeth, she asked her mother why she was only getting 50 cents from The Tooth Fairy when most of her friends were getting a dollar.

Her mother reminded her to be grateful for anything she was given and not to expect more.

Well, the next time she lost a tooth and put it under her pillow for The Tooth Fairy, she woke to find her tooth missing, but nothing else.

When she went to her mother confused by what had happened she told her The Tooth Fairy was teaching her a lesson not to be greedy – that we don’t always get everything we want.

While some might question my mother-in-law’s intentions, I applaud them.

Matthew Whoolery, a Psychology profession at BYU-Idaho writes, They (parents) never say no to a child’s behavior or wants because they believe that is what good parents do.”

Today children feel entitled, and much of that feeling stems from parents who refuse to allow their children to experience their own “Tooth Fairy moment”. My mother-in-law certainly understood that giving your children everything they want doesn’t make you a good parent.

She provided my wife with life-long lessons that helped her grow into one of the most grateful, humble, down-to-earth human beings I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. What a wonderful gift she gave to her child.

Whoolery goes on to say, “So what do we do as parents? Let your children be disappointed. A few times when I have disappointed one of my children by not giving them what they want, they have said, “This is the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!” When they say that, I pat myself on the back and say, “Good Dad!” Of course that means that their lives are pretty amazing if the WORST day of their life is simply because they didn’t get what they wanted from me.”

Parents – help your children develop empathy and compassion towards the needs of others by showing them they can’t always get what they want. It may not be the most popular choice, but you’re giving them a gift that will last a lifetime.