Thursday, April 22, 2010

The gift of Entitelment?

And I am not even sure how it happened, but I am raising children with the gift of entitlement - and it must stop, like yesterday.

"I don't want that fork, I want the other fork."

"I don't want to sit there, I want to sit in the other chair."

"I want the pink plate."

And the list goes on and on....

It mostly revolves around meal time - if you couldn't already tell.

Originally, these were comments I put under the Not-worth-the-fight category, but now, I am thinking that might have been a mistake.

When Ben and I first had kids, I can remember having a discussion with him about not giving our kids choices when it wasn't necessary. We were bound and determined to eliminate stress in our lives in that way. There would be no, "Do you want to wear the pink dress or do you want to wear the blue dress?" Instead, it would be, "Here, put this blue dress on before you come eat breakfast." Sounds mean, but we had good reason.

We saw so many parents giving their kid's choices and therefore when there was no choice present, an argument ensued. Something any parent avoids at all costs - at least every parent with a beating heart.

This tactic has worked stupendously for Ben and I while raising our kiddos. There are no fights on whether the bedroom door is opened or closed, no fights about what we wear in the morning, and no fights over countless ridiculousness that doesn't even matter.

Then, we enter the kitchen...

It is not like we ever gave them choices at mealtime - they eat what is put in front of them and I do not make alternative meals. They sit on their bottoms and do not get up without asking, "Mommy and Daddy, may I get down, please?" And they have proper mealtime behavior - except when it comes to the forks, plates, spoons, bowls, cups, chairs, etc, etc, etc.

Case in point. This morning while feeding my children their bowl of yogurt, I politely gave Peyton the pink bowl and Ellie Kate the blue bowl. HAAAA!! How dare I do such a thing! Peyton immediately threw a fit because she wanted the blue bowl. Ummm....ok????

In other news, no matter what fork I give EK, she wants a different one. It doesn't matter if it was the one she picked out for dinner last night, she wants a different one.

I swear they are conspiring against me.

So what gives?

Go and buy all the same bowls, plates, cups, forks, knives, and spoons? Well, besides the obvious expense of that, I feel like there is a valuable lesson to be taught here. Life isn't always fair. Sometimes you don't get exactly what you want. Or am I crazy?

Should I appease my children and let them have whatever eating material they so chose? Or should I stand my ground?

Do I ignore the relentless behavior that ensues because I mistakenly gave them the wrong one? Or do I punish said behavior?

I'm so lost and confused. Tell me, WHAT DO I DO????


Squirly Girls said...

Shouldn't it be our goal as parents to teach two things, independence and self-control? The two go hand-in-hand. Is your frustration that they are expressing independence without controling their speech? Show them how to ask for what they want, but they will only receive it when they ask in the right way. If what they want is not available, then that is just another opportunity for you to teach self-control. Show them how you want them to respond to dissapointment. I would also encourage you to make them a part of setting the table. Keep the plates down low so that you can ask them to get the plates out before the meal. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job. You are so right on not giving too many choices, but without any choices, they never learn to think on their own. You want to give some choices, so they learn to make the right ones. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Beth said...

Love the previous comment. She is so right. I have this problem with Nate especially right now, so maybe it is a bit of an age thing as well. :)

Becky E. said...

We came up with the phrase "ya get what ya get and ya don't throw a fit" then the girls added to it "and ya don't get to pick"

works for us!

Gwen T said...

My first thought (this is coming from a house of nine people) is that it's not a democracy.

I remember when I had just our 3 older kids and they would argue about who got the "middle bowl" - I would set the cereal bowls out on the counter - identical bowls. But somehow the middle bowl was the one that got argued over.

They certainly don't have to be taught to have sin natures. It's definitely part of the human race to be selfish from day one.

It's our job to train in them a desire for righteousness and love for others - putting others before themselves.

Phil. 2 has some great memory verses on putting others before yourself - Col. 3 as well - Even a 2yr old can memorize amazingly well. And it's good to instill that Scripture in them, so they don't think that it's just Mom and Dad's ideas.

Here's the scoop at our house: If you complain about what you're given, you get nothing. It takes approximately one meal to figure that out before the hunger kicks in and complaints miraculously stop.

Stick with it, you'll be rewarded when you see them start to genuinely give of themselves and care what others' needs are. It's a joy to see that love grow in the home, but it takes that initial first step of breaking that selfishness in them.

I'd love to hear how it goes!!

Jennifer said...

I just have to leave a comment because my oldest child is named Ellie Kate. Is that her name or is it short for something? We as well call her EK. I was looking online for Ellie things and stumbled on your blog. How cute!

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