"I'm fed up of my child's demands! What can I do?"
"I'm fed up of my child's demands! Here is what you can do to solve the problem you may have unknowingly created...
“I need an iPhone!”
“I need X-Box! ”
“I need roller skates.”
“I need this app!”
The “needs” list is never-ending for children and adults alike. But are these really needs? It’s a question we parents must ask ourselves first.
Have you been buying things for your child as soon as she asks for it? Has she started taking all the comforts she enjoys for granted? Are you getting frustrated with her increasing demands?
Here is what you can do to solve the problem you have unknowingly created:
Do the “Needs” vs. “Wants” Exercise:
Start teaching your child the difference between needs and wants at a young age. Explain the definitions:
NEEDS are things that are necessary for healthy and safe living, whereas WANTS are extra things people would like to have for pleasure. An apple is a need, while an Apple iPhone is a want.
Cut out pictures of different things from newspapers and magazines. Ask your child to sort the pictures and paste them on a piece of paper under two columns “Needs” and “Wants”. It will show how little we actually need to survive. Decide which wants are worth spending money on. Phone? Sports equipment? Music?
Create a Wish List:
Don’t fulfill your child’s every single wish immediately. Ask her to keep a “Wish List”.
Many times, the latest toy your child thought she really, REALLY wanted, no longer seems so desirable after some time has passed. Choose a reasonable present from this wish list on special occasions such as birthdays, festivals and New Year.
Encourage your child to save up. Let her contribute towards her wants.
Grant Wishes in Fantasy:
If your child demands a new toy, do not say, “It’s useless! You will play with it for two days and forget about it. That’s what you always do!”
Instead, put yourself in your child’s shoes. As the child psychologist Haim Ginott suggested, grant his wish in fantasy: “Looks like you really want this toy. It looks so cool! Wish you could have it.”
If the child continues to complain and demand, don’t give in. Repeat calmly, “Wish you could play with it. But sorry I haven’t budgeted for it.”
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude:
Every six months or so, go through your child’s toys, clothes and shoes with her. Sort them into three piles: “Keep”, “Recycle/throw”, “Give away”.
Help your child remember the good times she had with things she no longer needs. Many NGOs such as Salvation Army will be happy to accept your pre-loved items. Take your child with you to donate the goods.
Depending on your faith and beliefs, you may already have your own rituals to express gratitude for what you have. Include your child in the rituals. It’s never too early to start.
At dinner table or every night before going to bed, take time to express gratitude. Keep it simple: “We are grateful for delicious food, nice clothes, lovely home, family and friends.”
As the child gets older, keep a Gratitude List along with a Wish List. Simple rituals like these will play a big role in putting your child on the road to a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.