I want THAT!

Do your kids keep saying this?

You know … when you’re out shopping for the essentials

(food, clothes, school things, etc.) …

and your child sees something in the shop windows or the aisles and they … just … can’t … live … without … it ?!

We’ve all been there.

This is where you need to be firm with them, not only for your financial peace-of-mind …

(wow, isn’t it expensive for just a piece of plastic, or a skimpy t-shirt with a brand name) …

but also for your future calmness and belief in your child’s life choices.


The first thing a child needs to understand is:

They can’t have everything they want immediately.

Life just doesn’t work that way. Maybe if they have rich parents who can afford anything, they can get it when they want it, but for those of us in the real world, it doesn’t happen that way.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t have what you want, ever.

You can set a goal and aim directly for it.

But, this also means you have to work for it.


So, the second thing your child needs to understand is:

They can get most things in life if they’re prepared to work for it.

The benefits of working for the things you want are huge.

For one thing, your child develops a real sense of achievement when they reach their goals. This helps them develop a healthy self-worth because they know they are capable of doing the things they have already done.

They don’t have to pretend that they can do things – they’ve already done them. They can avoid the painful path a big ego will take them down which tends to lead to personal disaster.

As a parent, it’s important to encourage your child to reach goals that are achievable according to where their specific level of development lies. You can’t expect the average 5 year old to wash his own clothes or prepare healthy meals for the family, but you should be able to expect it by the time he has reached the teenage years.

If he doesn’t know the skills, then it’s your job, as the parent, to teach him.

As much as you might think it, kids don’t learn by osmosis. They learn by careful observation (especially as a pre-teen) of someone else doing it properly. Then it takes proper practise of the skill (experience) for it to become embedded in their brain and also in their muscle memory.

Parents need to be able to set the task, teach or demonstrate the skill required to do it, and stand back and watch the child attempt it. Be prepared for failure to occur, or the perfect outcome not to be reached, the first, second, or even the fifth time. With some kids, it might take a lot more attempts to get it right, or nearly right.

This is where patience is necessary on the parent’s side. You might need to have more than you can imagine, but you need to have it, otherwise the lesson for YOU (the parent) will be lost.


And here is the third thing to be understood:

The challenges of life give us the best lessons.

Imagine if everything in your life happened just as you wished it, without any mishaps, struggles or pain. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Well, at first it does.

But if you reflect on that further, can you also imagine the type of person you would become if nothing ever went wrong in your life and everything you said and wanted, happened just the way you said it?

Do you think you might become a tad arrogant?

Or bored?

Or not be very empathetic with those around you who have struggles to deal with in life?

You might even become so blasé about life that you’ll try things that you know will end badly, such as gamble irresponsibly, take drugs or jump out of a plane without a parachute.

In fact, it’s the challenges in life that test us best.

They give us the best lessons from which to learn and as a parent who loves your child, you need to provide a safe learning environment for your child. That’s why you start with the small things (like packing away toys) and gradually progress all the way up to the larger and more responsible/potentially harmful things (like driving a car).

Your child is going to challenge you – that’s what parenting is all about.

Likewise, you need to challenge your child – that’s what best practise parenting is all about.