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#1 of 14 Old 07-12-2010, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I joke that my oldest (now 14) is the kind of kid who, if received a car for her 16th birthday, would complain that it was blue, not red. I even went so far as to send her to a counselor for (possible) depression because nothing seemed to make her happy. She has since come out of it some...was much worse as a preteen, BUT I am noticing the same pattern emerging with my now 5 year old. Seems no matter what she does or gets, it's not good enough. She wants more or something different.
Maybe I give her (them) too much, maybe they are spoiled brats, but I don't feel as though I am excessive.
How do i get her to be more grateful and appreciative????

Kelly mama to DD E (14), DD A (6), DS A (4), DD E (born still at 36 weeks April 6, 2009) and fully attached to Ella Faith, now 1!!!
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#2 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 01:02 PM
 
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UGggh
I don't have too much concrete advice for you but I think just living in our overly materialistic society makes this an uphill battle to some degree...
Without really knowing much how things go at your house it's hard to say if you "over indulge" but it doesn't take much to get them down that road of "I want I want I want... - my dd, 6.5 has received alot of material things lately and it just makes her want more....

Here is how we handle things (although we are far from perfect/nothing set in stone) - we rarely just buy her something 'just because' even if it's inexpensive or educational (books are the exception as are 'experiences')
We give her a weekly allowance of 1.50 and she needs to buy the things she wants - her allowance is not directly tied to chores although she has her responsibilities as being part of the house (she makes her bed, puts silverware away, keeps the "backroom" where she plays and eats and watches tv while I make breakfast/dinner - each year her allowance goes up by .25 - and it will be up to her to negotiate more if she feels it's not enough - my hope is that she gets good enough at managing her money to buy all her own clothes

an extension of this is donation to charity - have you thought about getting your children involved in something so they see how tough other people actually have it - we live in WV with a great deal of poverty so our opportunities here are endless - it really helps dd to think about how lucky she is and how we are blessed to have what we have -

and having control over her money gives her control - ie - she wanted to ride one of those .75 cent things at the mall and I said use your own money (she only got 1.00 at the time - i said you only get 4 quarters each week and that will cost you three - she said never mind and we walked away without any begging or whining)

Part of appreciating things is understanding the value of money (only a small part - as there are things like time, love and shared experience that can be appreciated and have no $$$ value)

HTH?
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#3 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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Moved to Preteens and Teens. Hope you get some hep here

~Autumn~   Mama to whistling.gif (2001) and hearts.gif(2005) partners.gif madly in love since '99 
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#4 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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How old is your dd? I like your money thing
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#5 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Have you tried talking to your daughters about how you feel when they're unnapreciative? I've talked to my kids about that. "I put a lot of time and effort into getting that for you, and when you complain about it, it hurts my feelings." I see it as a form of rudeness.

As for your joke about the car- I would never spend that kind of money on a gift and just surprise somebody with it. Something like a car is something we'd pick out together, even if I was paying for it. I have to wonder if you're in that kind of a pattern- buying things FOR your kids when it might be more appropriate to take them shopping and let them pick things out themselves. Even the 5yo can be told "we're going to buy you 5 new outfits today" and let her pick out which ones she wanted, and if she liked 6, let her decide which one to put back (with older kids, give her a budget instead of a number of items.)

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#6 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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I think volunteering would go a long way to fostering compassion.

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#7 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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"Excessive" is relative. I look at my DD and think, she has everything and you know what, she really does! Then I meet some of her friends and I realize the major difference. DD (13) has a low-end laptop... that she worked and saved to buy herself. She has a nice cellphone... again she earned her own money to buy. DD has an ipod touch that was a gift but she got it upon graduating 8th grade as salutitorian. Same with DS (9). They have "things" but they are either worked for or attached to very special circumstances. It's not really about what you have. I've known some pretty ungrateful poor people as well as rich ones. It's about how you got your stuff and what value it has to you.

I can't say I'm totally responsible for having grateful kids though. I do think some of it is hardwired. My two have always been eager-to-please and that lends itself to gratititude. I do think their sharing a room until DD was 12 helped as they've always had to share, to consider others, ect. We make a point of not "over-treating." It's enough for me to bring home a jug of chocolate milk (which is a real rarity) as a surprise. I don't need to bring home a new 50 dollar video game. We're also big on not over-rewarding the kids. They get pats on the back and us telling them we're proud but we rarely GIVE them anything for high grades, good attitude, ect. The rare times we do "reward" with material items it's for continued effort towards a longterm goal not just turning a certain age or something. We hold off on the "want to haves" often for years until we know how appreciated that item may be. DH and I value time, travel and experiences over material goods and so have tried to pass that on to the kids. They know we give more time than money and they've had a lot of opportunities. My kids, for example, might not have an xbox but they've had dinner at the White House (though not with the president lol.)

I guess my point is that it's not neccessarily that you've given your kids too much. It may be that the reasoning for having those items and opportunities need to be higher.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#8 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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This is going to be completely different from anything anyone else has said, but I've been reading about ADD and apparently nothing ever beeing good enough or enough at all is somehow a symptom/sign/whatever. I don't understand it but I went undiagnosed for most of my life (not unusual for girls as we are usually inattentive rather than hyperactive) and I've always struggled with feeling like things aren't enough or good enough. The thing is, I am a very appreciative person and am just happy to be thought of... I just have that nagging voice I have tried to ignore for years that makes me appear extremely selfish.

I have no clue if it fits, but I thought it might offer another angle. I'd still go ahead and do more to foster a sense of selflessness and appreciation, but innatentive type ADD is more common than people realize especially in girls (and some boys, not all are hyperactive) so who knows? Maybe i'm WAY off base and totally wrong or maybe this'll make a world of difference.
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#9 of 14 Old 07-13-2010, 09:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
I can't say I'm totally responsible for having grateful kids though. I do think some of it is hardwired.
I think there's a lot of truth to this. DS1 has always been really grateful for whatever he gets (slightly less so since starting high school, but we're a lot poorer than most of his classmates). He'll always ask to see if he can get something else, but that's just the way he is - he's perfectly okay (mostly, and if he's not sleep deprived) with "no".

DD1? Holy crap! She's only 7, and she's wearing me out with her "I hate everything" vibe. If it weren't for spiders, snails and her baby sister (all of which she loves), I'd be convinced she'll never like anything. I'd swear she was hardwired this way.

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#10 of 14 Old 07-14-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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How do you model gratitude? What ways do you show it? How do you model giving without expecting a return or resenting?

Modeling is powerful stuff, especially with the younger one.
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#11 of 14 Old 07-14-2010, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Moved to Preteens and Teens. Hope you get some hep here
thank you for your help and all the additional replies, but I was refering more to my 5 year old than my teen (with age she has gotten better!)

Kelly mama to DD E (14), DD A (6), DS A (4), DD E (born still at 36 weeks April 6, 2009) and fully attached to Ella Faith, now 1!!!
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#12 of 14 Old 07-14-2010, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As for your joke about the car- I would never spend that kind of money on a gift and just surprise somebody with it. Something like a car is something we'd pick out together, even if I was paying for it. I have to wonder if you're in that kind of a pattern- buying things FOR your kids when it might be more appropriate to take them shopping and let them pick things out themselves. Even the 5yo can be told "we're going to buy you 5 new outfits today" and let her pick out which ones she wanted, and if she liked 6, let her decide which one to put back (with older kids, give her a budget instead of a number of items.)
Oh, the car thing is totally just a joke to illustrate my concern. It is a complete exageration. I would not buy any of my children a car even if I could afford it...as a gift or with their input!
I do like your outfit analogy, I can see how I do do a lot without their input...

Kelly mama to DD E (14), DD A (6), DS A (4), DD E (born still at 36 weeks April 6, 2009) and fully attached to Ella Faith, now 1!!!
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#13 of 14 Old 07-14-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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I think it was in Nurtureshock (though I also just finished Einstein Didn't Use Flashcards and The Nurture Assumption, all at the same time, so it miiiight have been from one of those!) that they talked about some teens having a weird threshold for pleasure. Adults and small children get pleasure in dose-appropriate responses: you give a little guy or adult an M&M, and they're a little happy, you give them a full candy bar, they're more happy, and you give them $100 and they're thrilled! Some teens, though, don't have the lower levels of pleasure-feeling-ness (I'm not a scientician here, obviously!) so in order to feel *any* pleasure, it's go big or go home.

So it's possible your kiddo is one of those kids who simply, biologically, can't feel pleasure for the little stuff right now.

I'm pretty sure it was in Nurtureshock, in the part about gratefulness. It's worth reading one way or the other, though. However, how you deal with it without losing your everloving mind is beyond me.

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#14 of 14 Old 07-14-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Something my mother did, which i try to do with DD1 (and which really might not work - she's quite i-wanty despite my best efforts) is to let her help with certain things, so she "gets" the effort put in. The problem with buying things is that the child cannot see the effort - either the money is earned in their absence, or the item is made in their absence and usually both. To me awareness of value is what leads to gratitude. Not monetary value, true value. For example i just made a halloween blanket and cushion set for DD (she's obsessed with halloween and we saw the fabric when i was buying some jersey to make 2 new wraps for DD2, so i decided to get a couple of yards for her) and she sat and watched me measure, cut, pin and sew them. She's super-happy with them. But her toys? Which she chose from a stack of similar toys in shops? She doesn't care for them, she has to be constantly reminded to look after them, not break them, put them away, etc. When she tore the tie off her super hero cape i sewed her she cried and said "how can we fix it?!", when she breaks a toy she shrugs and says "we'll buy a new one".

So maybe you can do lots of things together (you might already!) so she can see the value of time and effort?
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