Investing in our children as if one day they will be our best friends.

So we buy them what they need, want, desire and so on.  What's the benefit to them/to us?  Do we get brownie points with our children for being "the best mommy?"  Some mothers will go so far as to give everyone they speak to an itemized list of everything they have ever done for their children.  Even our own mothers will say to us, "Remember when I gave you..." 

Why exactly are we giving our children more than enough anyway?  Do we ever bother to think what the long-term effects will be on our children (especially when the money runs out and we can't keep up with all of their requests?)  Who are we trying to impress?  Does anyone even care about all those great activities our children participate in?  Most likely not.  They are too busy living their lives.  But we parents, care!  So much so that we forget that no relative and or family friend should ever be obligated to partake in the burdens we place on ourselves (ie. our children's extracurricular activities.)  So why do we care so much?  Quite possibly because we may have unmet childhood needs, created spoiled brats, or just want to impress our children by getting others to support them.  We try to do and be everything to them, because some of us reason, if we are not, then who will?

I thought about this issue of giving our children in the hopes that some day they will return the favor after listening to a parent rant about her grown daughter not doing for her "after all the years I have helped her!!"  She mentioned the times in her daughter's life she invested in their relationship while the daughter lacked  appreciation and acted as if "that's what family should do."  Apparently someone didn't get the memo that just because you deem a certain child "a favorite" and you do as much as you can for this person, doesn't mean that he or she will think of a parent as such a great person once they become older.  Not only that, the adult son or daughter may not feel as if he or she owes a parent anything simply because part of the title as parent is to care for his or her child.

It seems that the more you give a child (or anyone) who has never experienced what it's like not to have, the more likely he or she will become an ingrate.  This person will behave like what you do for him or her is never good enough.  Think for a moment:  What would happen if you just took a long break from giving your own children as much as you gave them yesterday, last week, a few months ago, or last year?  They would appreciate what you give them moreso the next time.

Now on the other hand, there are those relatives and family friends that don't have a spirit of generosity and more than likely that is why some parents feel obligated to give to their children so much.  It's unfortunate that some of these people behave very selfishly, act ridiculously frugal (cheap.)  Some of these same people think that if they give anything to anyone it should be celebrated.  Your children should be available to work for them since they bought them toys on their birthday.  Your son or daughter should announce to the world that grandpap gave $5 toward a camp trip.  You should do a cartwheel for that  small donation to the college fund--whoopee!  But I digress...

I personally think that if we as parents create a healthy balance between giving and receiving from our children, they will be okay.  Our children will observe what we do, and in time, repeat our actions.  So if we are responsible and give within reason (that means not all the time like everytime we visit a store) they will be more appreciative with what they have already and will do the same with their children one day.  A child that is use to getting what he or she wants all the time will be a challenge to try to change, but if a parent remains consistent in his or her behavior for a time, a son or daughter will catch on and will be less likely to badger the parent with unnecessary requests.

We must remember to evaluate why we give as much as we do to our children.  Then we should take the time to think about how our actions will impact the future.  Lastly, we ought to face the reality that any investment we make today in our children may be null and void once they become adults--not every child will grow up to become an adult that will say, "Thank you.  Now what would you like for me to do for you?"

Nicholl McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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