Parenting Repost: But I Want It!

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This seems to be the week for reposts, but I found this article from February 2010 and thought it had some good points to ponder.


“But I want it!”

How many times have you heard this refrain? Children seem to want everything and then some!

It’s tempting to give in to our children’s desires because we love them, and let’s be honest, sometimes we just want them to be quiet. But is it possible to give them too much?

I believe it is, so I engage in what Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced “decision”), author of the Tightwad Gazette calls “Creative Deprivation.”

Amy’s theory is that by giving our children everything they want, they become immune to the thrill of receiving a gift, and they require more impressive gifts and/or entertainment to feel the same appreciation. To avoid this “immunity” she carefully chooses the activities in which her family participates.

For example, she doesn’t take her children out for ice cream every week, but saves that treat for a special occasion. Her children are therefore much more grateful and whine less because they know the answer is going to be “no”.

One of my concerns in training my own children is developing their character rather than feeding their self-esteem at all costs. Yes, I enjoy giving them things, but I  don’t give them everything they want.

What kind of employee or spouse will they be if I allow them to have everything they ask for and they never have to work for anything? Adults who believe that everything should be given to them tend not to be successful in life, or pleasant to be around.

The next time your child whines for something think about this: Is my child’s character more important or their immediate happiness? It may be tough to say no, but it’s so worth it. Their future is at stake.


For more help with whining, check out Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child’s Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days by Dr. Kevin Leman.


You might also enjoy reading this article from Simple


What do you think–can you give your child too much?


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  1. Jennifer Bowyer says

    What a great, short and simple post! :) I definitely say “no” more than my 9 year old wants me to, but I know that I am building her character and trying to show her that NOT having every little thing you ask for, isn’t the end of the world! Now, if I could only get her grandmother to say “no” more often… 😕

  2. Carol says

    I raised five kids. Not only did I not give them everything they wanted, but I used their desires to teach them. First, I had rules. If they asked me for something in the store, it was an automatic ‘No’. As they were old enough to do so, I showed them how to do comparison shopping (this was before Google) by looking at the Sunday paper inserts to see if their item was advertised anywhere (they could do this before learning to read). If it wasn’t, they would have to wait until it was. They had to do due diligence and bring me at least three different ads with their item, and show me which ad had the lower price. Then, and only then, would we be able to discuss the issue. Even then, it was not always a ‘Yes’. I encouraged them to think about it, prioritize it with other things they wanted or wanted to do, etc. Sometimes, we would reach an agreement for the child to do extra chores to earn it, sometimes it might require extra reading (we home schooled), or reading to the younger siblings….some effort on the child’s part beyond just the comparison shopping. Sometimes before they completed the effort, something else may have captured their attention, and their priorities changed. Instant gratification was never an option. They understand rules very early. The key is enforcement and consistency.

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