Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The Entitlement Trap... getting your children to take responsibility and get off the dole
Do you ever wish your child didn't just keep asking you over and over again for more stuff at the toy store, or the supermarket? Or do they drive you insane by losing their school hat or sweater or shoes on a weekly basis? Or maybe it is their incessant arguing or lack of respect that drives you crazy?
Richard and Linda Eyre give a compelling and workable description of how to help your children become motivated and take ownership of their own possessions, body, work and values. They walk you through a 3 step process which begins with creating a sense of belonging within the family. This is done through family traditions. It is through the regular fun things we do as a family that create the foundation to bind us together.
In our own family on Sunday, we have pancakes for breakfast, and a roast for the evening meal, and we usually have family friends or family to share this with. We like to spend Christmas together with our extended family. The Eyres also develop this sense of belonging by sharing stories with the family from the lives of their ancestors.
Secondly, the Eryes suggest establishing a set of family laws. It may sound heavy handed and old-fashioned, but they have limited these laws down to 5 simple words... which as you know, for kids - the simpler the better. Obviously you need not repeat these laws for your family, and may need different rules in your own home, but the point is to involve your children in establishing them, and then to have set consequences for the breaking of the rules.
I found this advice brilliant. This is where me and my husband fall down a lot. We have quite different views on parenting and have never just sat down and discussed such rules and consequences so our disciplining of our children is a little ha-hazard, so... look out kids. Things are going to change.
Thirdly - upon this foundation, they recommend establishing a family economy. In a nut-shell it basically entails giving children some responsibility and they receive payment for fulfilling those responsibilities. Now here is the neat part... that their earned money not only covers their fun money, but also their snacks, treats, friends birthday presents, movie money and can even be extended to clothes. It is a simple action and consequence scenario. Version 1 - Do jobs, get paid, can buy stuff or save. Version 2 - Don't do jobs, don't get paid, can't buy stuff or go places or save. They suggest a minimum age of 8 years for this. I can't wait to introduce this concept to my own kids, but I think we will focus on establishing some strong family laws first.
What are your family laws and economy like?