How Not to Raise Spoiled Kids
I have the best kids in the world, I do, but, well, they can act just a little bit spoiled sometimes. I just game them a (screaming)lecture about how “back in the day” they would have to carry bucks down to the lake to get water, chop down wood for the furnace, go to sleep as soon as it got dark, and on and on. When I told my chuckling husband about this lecture, he was bewildered and asked, “What? You told them that you had to do this stuff?”
Well, ok, I’m a tiny bit spoiled too. But my kids drove me crazy that day, not wanting to help out in the house, clean up their own messes or help out with their younger siblings. So I came up with a plan. Here are 5 steps I have either implemented or plan to in the future. No more spoiled kids!
Give them Responsibilities
My boys have chores that they are expected to do every day. I have done my best to make them age appropriate, so my 9 year old washes dishes, loads and unloads the dishwasher and other things like that. His little brothers all clear the table, clean up the backyard, clean up the playroom, put toys and books away and wipe up spills. Even the baby (2 years old) needs to do his share, though really, he’s the wildest of them all.
Give them Rewards
My two older boys get allowance. Now, they are expected to help out because they are members of the family, but we also think it’s a good idea to give them a very modest allowance for the chores that they do. Everyone has a different way to do this, but my kids get paid once a month and they divvy up their spoils into Give, Save and Spend envelopes.
I learned a lot about financial tips for kids from Dave Ramsey. His kid’s package is fantastic. Fam Zoo is a terrific online program that allows you to give each of your children a real debit card and track their monetary goals, spending and saving.
Let them Know a Bit About the World
This is a hard one for me to balance. I really want to protect my children’s childhood; I don’t believe that they need to know about every war going on in the world and childhood slavery and kids being forced into prostitution and all of the other disgraceful things going on in the world. But they do know that there are lots and lots of kids their ages who don’t have food to eat, clothes to wear or homes to live in, let alone toy cars and blocks and puppets and comfortable beds. I don’t want to depress them, but they should know how fortunate they are.
Let them Volunteer Their Time
This is one that I hope to implement in the future. My wild two year old has made doing anything like this difficult; he’s the kind of kid who will upturn set tables and push bookshelves over. In fact, just yesterday, he shoved one of his big bothers into the wall and we nearly needed to rush to the emergency room for stitches.
I digress. I hope to take the kids to a senior citizen’s home several times a month. There are so many options that might work for you, too. We just happen to have a senior citizen’s home close to where we live, but you might consider a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen or an animal rescue shelter. You could also see if your local Red Cross or YMCA has volunteer opportunities.
Cross Socio-Economic Barriers
Consider visiting a local park you’ve never been to that may be “on the other side of the tracks.” Kids especially get light bulb moments when they see that kids can live much differently than they do even if they are in the same town or county. It doesn’t matter if you’re well off or not, because no matter what your financial status is, there are always those that live with less than what you have.
And this is what I want my kids to learn. I want it to become a part of their consciousness that they are lucky to have electricity and beds, hot meals and bikes they can freely ride around. They are lucky indeed, and I hope they stay that way!