Author and mum-of-four from Bangor, Rebecca Reid,is teaching her kids the concept of gratitude and that good things come from hard work…

In an era of instant gratification, in one aspect of parenthood our generation has it harder than ever. I sound like my mother (or all our mothers combined) when I say that it just wasn’t like this back in our day. When I was a kid, you got toys on your birthday and at Christmas but none in between. That made it a real joy. Something super special to be longed for and appreciated. We had much less choice, and very little exposure to the vast selection out there beyond the local Woolworths, so what we got, we thought was amazing. Sadly, I can’t say the same for our kids.

Things have not only evolved, but they’ve done so at a mammoth rate. With the arrival of the internet on every handheld device imaginable, kids see commercials and videos for anything, and everything, that has ever been made, and what is more, yes, it does ship here. There is nothing (seemingly) they cannot have.

I still remain pretty strict about the idea that toys and big things only come with those two special occasions once a year however, despite that, there are times when mine still believe that if they ask, they will of course get – at some point. So, who is responsible for feeding this idea of entitlement that is so damaging to our children? The idea that if little Sammy wants it, he will get it because Mummy or Daddy will work extra hard to provide it? I never did, and never do want to be that parent.

Yes, of course it’s wonderful to be able to provide the things for your children that they long to have… but not at the risk of them becoming spoilt or entitled. When my middle and second youngest asked to go to summer horse camp I had a big choice to make. I either knuckled down and put all the extras aside to pay for it, or I helped them understand that big, expensive things, only come with hard work and determination. Luckily my partner feels very strongly about this too.

We decided that yes, they could go, but only if they saved and did chores at home to earn half the money themselves and then we would double it. My feelings were, if they want it badly enough, they’ll do it. If not, they didn’t deserve to go anyway, not at that cost. As predicted, my youngest sort of shrugged her shoulders and said, ‘It’s okay, I don’t mind not going. I still get my lessons though right?’ And that was the end of it. She wasn’t going to slog away or save all her pennies of birthday and Christmas money. No way, not when there were a gazillion other things on her wish list.

However, the same can’t be said for my determined little middle girl. She just looked at me hard and agreed, ‘Okay, I can do it.’ And, although she’s not quite there yet, she doesn’t have much further to go and we couldn’t be more proud of her. Not only can we see the glow of achievement on her face every time she counts up her savings, but I know that she will enjoy this camp so much more than any other. Not just because it’s what she loves to do, but because she had to work so hard to get it.

Come on over to Rebecca’s Food Blog @freshfoodliving for lots of easy, healthy recipes for you and your family. 

Heather Black

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