Building Resilience: Crafting your child’s character

McClatchy-Tribune

Don’t spoil your children. How we’d love to give our children everything they want_they’re so darned cute! But adults who expect everything instantly and on their terms, who feel that they’re entitled to anything they desire, are not so cute _ may I say detestable? Here are some thoughts to consider.

— Don’t worry about spoiling infants when you meet their every need!

— If children realize that some people are less fortunate, they are less likely to be demanding. It’s important for children to know that they aren’t the center of the world. If they are taught to take responsibility for their actions, they will understand the causes and effects of good behavior and good works. They will not feel entitled to what they have not earned.

— Parents who listen to their children carefully and give them undivided attention are less likely to feel the compulsion to shower children with material objects or grant all their wishes.

— Help children learn patience. If they want something, they may have to wait. This is a major reason we have birthdays only once a year!

— It is perfectly OK to explain that something costs too much money to buy. Offer your child a safe home, adequate clothing, nutritious food, and lots of love. Sure, he needs some toys, but he doesn’t need every toy-of-the-week.

Help him develop his imagination by using old toys for new purposes or making playthings out of natural or found objects. Even if you are affluent, make your child work for special objects. Teach him that things cost money. Let him earn certain items he craves. By doing extra little jobs around the house, children as young as 4 or 5 years can earn something special. Older children can do jobs that you would pay someone else to do (like painting a fence or mowing the lawn) so they grasp the clear connection that money buys things.

— When children learn to win at parents’ expense, they absorb a dangerous lesson that their needs are more important than others’ needs. This is why giving in to a tantrum does children a great disservice.

— Don’t ever worry about spoiling your child with love. Love doesn’t spoil children, it only makes them sweeter.