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Are we hurting our children by giving them everything?

With raising children it seems everything is a game of delicate balance. Tip the scale one way and your child is constantly needing of something. Should the scale fall the opposite, your child has everything and doesn’t appreciate what they have. As parents we are constantly doing this tango of wanting to give our children the world but afraid they won’t appreciate what it takes to get there. Layering on a personal fear, they will think the world is obligated to help them succeed and they won’t learn to fend for themselves. How do we instill in them strong values while giving them more than we had? Loaded question I know.

I was extremely fortunate to have a wonderful childhood. I am a child of immigrants who had a drive to succeed because they wanted a better future for their children. They gave us every opportunity that they could even when they themselves had to struggle. It’s this devotion to family that has dictated my own behavior as a mother. They were limited in language and resources but now that I have my own children I am able to give them more than I had. For my parents that was viewed as success. Creating a foundation for the future generations to succeed. Watching my parents work hard and endlessly instilled a drive in me, almost a responsibility. If they can achieve in spite of their obstacles I had to achieve more because I had the advantage they did not. This mentality of a strong work ethic is what has helped me throughout my personal and professional life. My children do not know that struggle.

I am in a position to give them more but I sometimes wonder if doing that is helping them or hurting them in the long run. Particularly with my oldest because she can possibly comprehend it, I often remind her you have to earn what you have. I will gladly help them build their future in whatever way I can but I want them to understand it ultimately lays in their hands. Recently for my daughter it translates to compromising. She wants to participate in extracurricular activities, her job is to show me that her grades and chores won’t suffer. If she wants to buy something, we’ve developed the mason jar method as I like to call it. If she’s doing what she is supposed to she gets a coin in her mason jar. Once she fills up her mason jar she is able to get what she wants. I’m hoping to teach her and eventually the other children, value of working hard for what you want. It’s not a perfect method or approach but we fine tune it for each situation.  How have you handled this tango?

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