Friday, July 28, 2006

Lisa on...Ungratefulness.

Today's post deals with a topic we're all familiar with because we all have parents. It's "ungratefulness." Let's see what's going on. The letter to Lisa is in boldface, while her answer is in italics. Our completely hilarious and surprisingly well crafted commentary is in regular typeface.

Recently I spent an entire day treating my six-year-old son to a trip to the museum, the park, and the ice-cream shop. When we stopped to purchase a Christmas present for my nephew, my son demanded I buy him a new toy. When I refused, he threw a tantrum! For all I did for him, I got complaints. How do I teach him to be more grateful?

I don’t have an easy answer to this question.

We're beginning to sense a pattern with these.

When I was young, my parents would answer my whining with, “I’m sorry, honey, but we just can’t afford it.” I knew that was true and a temper tantrum wouldn’t change anything.

Lisa was the perfect child, of course. But what about...



These days most families can afford little luxuries. Our children see us buying wants instead of needs, and they want a piece of the pie.

Or do they need a piece of the pie, Lisa?

Our kids get so much they begin to expect it. Then the one time we don’t give something to them, they get angry because they feel it’s their right to have it.

"Our kids get so much they begin to expect it" is a relative statement. Wouldn't you say so, Leese? It's really only true if the parent or parents is giving the kid so much. If the parent has established guidelines (like, No you can't watch TV until your homework is done, or, No, you can't pray to Jesus until you finish your apostle-shaped pancakes), then the kid is going to realize what boundaries are and probably not throw a tantrum when he/she does not get what he/she wants. Children like boundaries. It gives them a sense of security and structure. Unless, of course, the child is mentally unstable. In which case he/she should be taken to a national park and left at a scenic overlook.

In the long run, it may be more loving to tell your child “no” even when it’s within your power to say “yes.”

Duh. See above.

Here’s a silly, personal example.

Yay! Silly!

When I had toddlers, we rarely bought Happy Meals, but not because we were health-conscious or because we didn’t want to be caught in the drive-thru lane.

Just to note: "Happy Meals" and "drive-thru" in one sentence. Like manna from heaven.

Instead, I bought them each a hamburger, and they split an order of fries and a soft drink. It was plenty for my toddlers, and they didn’t complain.

Of course they didn't. They were eating a carefully researched combination of chemicals and fat. Perfect for toddlers, by the way.

So on the special occasions when they did get the “whole enchilada,” complete with toy (at the fast-food Mexican restaurants, of course!)...

Of course.

...they were extremely grateful. Their gratitude was an automatic response to getting something they didn’t expect.

It’s difficult to say “no” to our children when we love them so much and enjoy pleasing them. But stick to your guns. Perhaps it boils down to telling your child “no” more often.

Yes, and also feed them more than fast food. Eh. Too late. Tucker, come to NYC. We'll introduce you to food that takes longer than the red light turning to the green light to cook. As you for you, Lisa, why not just say to this woman: "Look, if you take a six-year-old to the park, the museum and the ice cream shop and then ultimately buy his cousin a gift when it's clear that the son deserves a gift for spending the entire day with someone pathetic enough to write me a letter to ask for a solution to what's really a very simple problem, of course he's going to pitch a fit. Come on."?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the blog. Thanks!

September 02, 2006  

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