I said "No" to a sub-standard coat that my daughter fell in love with but I knew would fall to bits within a week, "no" to my son watching 'Dragon Ball Z Kai' (a programme that seems designed to turn ordinarily placid children into demons), and "no" to both of them eating chocolate at breakfast time. Sometimes this is accompanied by tears and tantrums, other times by the classic "It's so UNFAIR!" quote. On the occasions where we have tried to explain to the children how fortunate they, this has lead to further arguments, frustrated negotiations and either me or my husband uttering the line that I so hated to hear as a child: "Because I said so." Oh what a killer line, and what a switch for causing your child to get even more upset because they realise they are not in control.
|Thanks Iris :)|
The contrast between my childhood experience and theirs is marked and so I'm left wondering what it means to understand 'no' because you simply don't have enough money, versus 'no' because your parents are aiming to raise you to appreciate that just because there's a cupboard full of food, you don't need to invade it every ten minutes like a couple of mangy foxes. If there is no struggle, does it dampen their ability to strive? Are we at risk of creating adults that behave like chicks waiting to be fed? It leaves me feeling frequently torn: on the one hand I want to give the children everything possible but on the other, I desperately want to avoid them turning into Veruca Salt. And as much as Mr K and I fill their lives with love and opportunities and experiences that broaden their horizons, build confidence and help them to learn, it doesn't stop them wanting everything in the shops / on tv / that their friends have. And then they see the Argos catalogue at which point our childhoods converge and they too grab a biro and circle absolutely everything they see.
|Photo Credit Robert Izumi on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/theizumis/|
It's intriguing how the idea of a person is more powerful than a real one but hey, if it works then we'll keep the magic going for them until they're 20! So for December at least, I'm happy in the knowledge that the 'man in the red suit' will take the strain of giving the children what they want (and taking the heat if they're disappointed), leaving us free to get on with giving them what they need.
Soundtrack: You Can't Always Get What You Want - The Rolling Stones