The more you give, the more they whine

Wait. What?

It’s true. You think you are being a stellar parent. You think up all these great ideas for taking them out. You get them the perfect toys. You set up the most awesome plans.

And yet, they find a way to ruin it all by whining about the one unpleasant part, or the flaw in one of the toys. And then it takes all the energy in you to not explode like an active volcano. Or they still resort to whining and flailing about when they don’t get what they want.

So how does that work? Giving kids a wonderful afternoon or a toy they really want – how does that backfire? Why does it backfire?

Because then kids start connecting happiness with things and places. So, for example, happiness is associated with gifts and things. And we all know it’s not possible to always give, give, give to your kids. But that’s what kids think. And that’s when you see the tantrums and the total submission as soon as you give in.

Kids should be OK without getting what they want, when they want it. It teaches them patience, control and real life.

We expect that once a child having a tantrum is given solace with the bribe of a gift, they will change that behavior, correct?

Wrong.

Now we have just created monsters who always seek that gift, and they know they will get it once they act up. So technically we have set up this vicious cycle of a child who throws a tantrum solely to get attention and gifts. Once this child gets older, it doesn’t get better – it gets worse. And if they continue this behavior until adulthood and into marriage, then there will be plenty of obstacles ahead.

Kids should be OK without getting what they want, when they want it. It teaches them patience, control and real life.

It serves our children well to have parents who set proper limits for their kids. Give kids a heads-up before leaving somewhere. Give them a timer for watching TV or using electronics. Spell out the rules in clear words so they know what to expect. Let them be prepared and somewhat in control of the situation. This will go a long way in diffusing explosions.

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