We want the best for our kids, so naturally we give them the best. The best food, the best care, the best toys and gadgets. We shower them with praise, make sure they know that we love them unconditionally, and buy them anything that our pocketbook can afford. Unfortunately, sometimes we look back and wonder what went wrong.
The society we live in is a privileged society that knows the value of children, the value of praise, and has no limitations on spending. So why are we also a society whose children struggle with behavioral problems, psychological imbalances and weight challenges? Despite the fact that we surround our kids with everything they could need, we often find that they are not truly happy. Kids here have it all, but you still see violence and shootings happening at schools. So it gets me thinking, what are we as a society doing wrong?
We are giving our kids too much, too easily.
Our kids are entitled. They are the center of their own universe and feel they deserve everything they have and what they do not yet have. Our society is saturated by media that tells us what we ‘must-have’. We have unlimited spending thanks to credit cards. We fought child-labor and are now on the opposite end of the spectrum where a (sometimes grown) child doesn’t work and doesn’t know the value of a dollar. And we are globally ignorant to how other people in this world live.
So my advice is don’t give your kids too much, too easily. Yes, that is easier said than done in a society that will ultimately make your kid feel deprived. But let’s make a conscious effort to explain to our kids there are things we need to have and things we like to have. We need to explain to our kids that when something comes on a silver platter, they should feel grateful to have it, not feel like they deserve it. If there is something they would like to have, they should work for it. Let’s go old school with our kids and have them do chores or help around the neighborhood to earn money. If they are old enough let them get a real job, even if they have to learn to balance it with school. When they ultimately get to what they want, they will appreciate it more and think before they ask for more. Let’s make a conscious effort to let our children give to others – not their unwanted, old toys and clothes – but rather things they really like. Let them see the smile they can bring to other people’s faces. That will truly give them a feeling of happiness money can’t buy. Let’s make a conscious effort to give our kids the best thing of all – happiness.
May Allah guide us in raising our children on the path that will bring pleasure to us and them in this life and the next.
Rahaf recently finished her B.A. in Mathematics and is currently teaching part-time at a local Islamic school. She loves reading, writing, cooking, and exploring the world with her little 1 year old. Rahaf resides in Troy, MI.