Barbara, we want to know if it's wrong to give kids everything they want and how to have fun with them better ways.
From: Jimmy W, Knoxville, TN
I have a feeling you know the answer to this, Jimmy W., but I'll humor you and give my answer in one word: Yes.
One of the best things we can do for our children is to teach them to learn to delay gratification. It builds character. It teaches them to problem solve and to be independent thinkers. And in a multi-tasking society such as we have today, these are skills that no screen or technology can teach. What's more, the ability to delay gratification helps children be more emotionally balanced and do better academically.
So what do I mean by delaying gratification? It can be anything from not giving a toddler what he wants the second he asks for it ("More! More! Now!") to helping a school-age child earn and save money for a new bike. In some families -- where there are many children or few dollars to spend on anything but necessities -- learning to delay gratification happens all by itself. In others, especially where parents turn into helicopters or can afford to finance a child's every whim, parents need to be conscious of the need to delay gratification.
What can you do to have fun with your children? My gosh -- just about anything can be fun with the right attitude. Turn one evening a week into Board Game Night. Take a nature walk next Saturday morning and delight in what you find underfoot. Go to the library and take out books on your favorite animals.
What ideas do others have to help Jimmy W out?
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