They’re Spoiled- YOU Are The Problem

I didn’t realize our kids were spoiled until I noticed all the debri everywhere. My name is Julie and I have spoiled kids.

They're Spoiled- You Are The Problem

I don’t know when or how this happened, but I’m pretty sure it began in-utero. Can I blame Babies R Us and all other maternity products marketed to shame us? You’re not a good parent unless you have the Jacuzzi baby tub (dismiss the fact you’ll only use it for three to four months) or the playpen that has every gizmo and gadget on it (that’s in addition to the myriad of toys you should have for every stage of development), and you must have a plethora of outfits since you never know what’s going to happen….oh the fear of the volume of the unknown blow-out, spit-up or other bodily fluid incident that could occur!

Yes, that’s when it began, when we looked at the pee-stick and decided we were going to be the best parents ever. Did I mention we were broke, flat broke?

Hindsight, I realize God stretches every penny we’ve ever had as my husband and I work our tails off. But that’s just it, we work our tails off.

We call it love when we take our son to karate, a birthday party, when we buy our daughter a new Frozen item she loves so much from the dollar spot at Target or the millionth pack of gum, after all, it’s sugar free, nearly zero calories and only a dollar which is all the justification needed to create “happy” kids. If it’s not too expensive or bad for the body, the momentary hesitation turns into a reticent, “I suppose there isn’t a reason not to say yes.” After all, today’s parents are supposed to say yes as often as possible.

Exhaustion, you know the exhaustion many women experience at the beginning and end of pregnancy, nearly snapped the final glow stick for this mama, but nothing gets my feathers ruffled quite like seeing the money we earned lying on the ground.

True story.

At five we gave our son sold a couch to sell on Craigslist to help raise money to purchase an older friend’s Lego collection. He met the buyer, he demonstrated how to pull the couch out and he nailed negotiating the transaction. (Yes, it was a proud mama moment.) He eagerly worked around the house and was able to add hundreds of coveted Lego bricks to his collection.

This boy understands how money works, he knows it will get him what he wants.

dollar up close

Yet there it was, the money he earned from recycling earlier that morning, lying limp on the orange seventies linoleum in our kitchen. Causally I suggested putting it in his bank. Arrogantly he shrugged and walked away…and so did his money, straight into this mama’s pocket. Oh, and yes, I did use that same dollar to pay his commission for his weekly chores. Shameless, I know.

dollar crumpled

Glad you caught that that last part. Our family is facing a paradigm shift and freeloaders must pull their weight. Want to eat? Get your work done. Isn’t that how it works for adults? You work, you get paid and purchase the items you need, like food and clothes. No, we don’t make them pay for food or clothes (yet…) but we have enacted a policy that chores must be done prior to mealtimes and I’m sure they’ll thank us for teaching them to work when they are able to hold down a job and eat when we’re dead and gone.

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The first week under our new regime, our son clearly explained, “I’d rather have nothing, not even a home than have to do this work.” Mind you, the worst of his treacherous work is taking out the trash, emptying the dishwasher and scooping our dog’s poop (though he is a large dog and leaves some hefty messes). I told him that we could arrange for him to live with a homeless person for a few days and see how he likes living hungry, cold and uncomfortable. You’ll be glad to know He was shocked at my casual offer and declined.

We’re taking a new approach because figuring out how to live in this crazy world is hard enough. There’s no sense in having to figure out how to earn a living on top of everything else, and who knows what the world will look like when they must pull their own weight. There’s definitely a recoil going on, but boy-howdy, their tasks are getting done and everyone is having more down time than before. The future for this group of converts is looking bright!

So how about you? Are your kids spoiled or how have you prevented it?

12 responses to “They’re Spoiled- YOU Are The Problem

    • Thank you for your kind words! You’re welcome to share the article. Please let me know when it will go live so I can reach out:) Blessings and joy- Julie

      • Thanks, Julie, will do so. Can you send me a short blurb about yourself, so I can put you with our other guest writers? Cheers.

    • Will put it up now. Follow the link above to “The Forever Years”. I can add further info. about you later, or not, as you prefer 🙂

  1. Pingback: They’re Spoiled. You Are the Problem. By Julie | The Forever Years·

  2. Yes and Amen! This is pretty much how we raised our kids, too, and now they are all three pretty much grow up, they know how to work for what they want, and, to boot, they are all debt-averse. Thanks be to God!

    • Shelly, that’s awesome! I recall the ingenuity my brothers and I had when raising money to go to the movies etc. Did you have a plan from the start or was there an aha moment?

  3. Ah, definitely a North American struggle! We do not watch cable television in our house, a decision that was prompted several years ago by my inability to stop watching Law & Order or CIS after one or two episodes. Looking back I wonder how it was that I had time to watch five back to back episodes while working full time and having a toddler but somehow I managed to cram in those hours of mindless vegetation. Limiting our son’s television viewing to Netflix and DVDs meant he did not see commercials and for the first five years of his life he did not even know to ask for certain toys or material items. It was very refreshing. Of course school changes all of that and so we face the same challenges that you do. Samuel has chores he must complete as well and they are to be done before he enjoys other privileges however I will, at times and within reason, allow him to negotiate when he would like to do his chore because I feel that is demonstrating respect for him as a person and helps him to understand time management. With regard to money, at the end of last summer he was wanting an expensive Lego set and so we decided to begin teaching him about money (he had just turned six). He needed to know the name of each coin and it’s value. We gave him three jars, one for tithe, one for savings, and one for “spending”. Ten percent each of his weekly allowance had to be put into tithe and savings and the rest went into the “spending” jar until he had saved for half the price of the Lego set (we said we would match the rest, otherwise he would never get there!). There were weeks when he lost his allowance for misbehavior at home but he managed to save enough to purchase his Lego set 4 months later.
    We also have quite a large proportion of homeless persons in our small city, so we have baked goodies or purchased muffins/donuts and gone to hand them out to people on the street. Last year when we received our tax return, it was Samuel’s idea to have a BBQ for the homeless, so we raided Giant Tiger for supplies, packed our portable BBQ in the back of the truck and drove downtown where we set up our BBQ in a parking lot across from the homeless shelter. It was a great success and a wonderful feeling to just do something without any expectations other than to demonstrate God’s love. I find that young children are naturally very generous (they can be the opposite at times too!) so I try to encourage Sam’s generosity whenever possible. As an only child it can be challenging for us to not just give him things; we talk to him about money in a way that I hope is appropriate for his age. I hope and pray that we are guiding him toward a servant’s heart.
    Well, that’s a long explanation, hahaha. Hope it is useful.
    Blessings and please continue with your excellent posts!

    • What a beautiful heart Sam has! You’re so right about kids being naturally generous (and sometimes not). There have been a number of times the kids wanted to give something significant of theirs to a friend and I wanted to step in (insert slow motion mom attempting to stop the giving), but God is SO GOOD and basically froze me (not literally), but gave me eyes to see a greater importance. Sometimes it comes at a cost to my pocketbook, insert three year old sincerely requesting to buy grandma a treat at the checkout, “Let’s bless her mama.” Worth it every time. And on TV….how? HOW did we EVER pull those things off? I could regret the misuse of those times, but that’s never any good. Onward! Love conversing with you Julie!

      • How could you deny a request to bless someone else?? So sweet!
        I am enjoying our “conversations” too! Such a blessing & so fun to have a new friend. 💜

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