Dear Sue Ellen,
My kids are teenagers now and they have everything they need, but they act like my husband and I don’t do enough for them. We love our kids, but I think we may have gone too far with giving them everything they want. I am thinking about skipping Christmas this year. Do you think they would get the point?
Dear Curious Mom,
I’m not sure I get the point. We all have different expectations of Christmas; usually based on family traditions, or time with friends and loved ones. I don’t think kids having stuff (or not having stuff) is bad, but what we teach our kids about the holidays is important. We teach them by our actions, rather than what we say. If you give your kids everything they want and you feel guilty about it, what are you teaching them about giving gifts?
Some people think shopping and gift giving is a lot of fun. Others would prefer to avoid it altogether. Here’s a suggestion. Shift your focus to doing something special together instead of giving (or not giving), gifts. Your kids may love the idea of taking a cool family trip as an alternate way to celebrate the season. Okay, I get it. They could hate the idea, so here’s another thought. Do it anyway. Let them pout, bow up, roll their eyes or sulk.
I have met families that dote on their kids and give them everything they want. Are you and your husband like that? (Be honest with yourself.) The kids of those parents end up being self-centered brats that everyone dreads seeing. Of course, we are all too nice to tell those parents to their faces what we think about their over-indulgent parenting, so we shake our heads and let out a heavy sigh of relief when they leave.
You want your children to be more grateful for the things you and your husband give them. How far are you willing to go to make that happen? Take all their stuff away, sell your house and move off the grid? Just think…you and your kids could build your own outhouse and have family bonding time during the construction. The holidays are what we make of them. Whatever you decide to do, please make happy memories doing it. That is what your kids will remember about the holidays; not the stuff piled high in their rooms.
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