II Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I've had issues with my kids being ungrateful and "spoiled" for a while now...but yesterday was another one of those eye-opening moments--this time coming from Grant. Let me just show you what his (and our) weekend consisted of:

On Friday night after Grant's baseball game, he got to go home with one of his friends for a sleepover. This little boy has a 12 foot inflatable water slide at his house that they got to play on. The next day (Saturday) they got up and went to the "Taste of Summer" at BlueBell where he got to try as much ice cream and popsicles as he wanted and play on all kinds of jupiter jumps, etc. Then they went home and relaxed for a bit before going out to eat and then to the play area in the mall. After that, they went to church for an hour and then came to our town's Freedom Festival to watch the fireworks.
He asked if his friend could spend the night with us now, and I said yes. We came home after the fireworks and played in the game room for a couple of hours before we all crashed in bed around midnight.
Sunday morning, I woke the boys (and Brooklyn) up at around 8:30 so they could swim for a couple of hours before we went to late service at church. After church, we went out to eat and then went to a birthday party at the bowling ally where they got to run around, bowl and play lots of games in the arcade. Straight from there we went back to our church where they were having their Freedom Celebration complete with inflatables, car show, games, food, ice cream, etc.
Basically we spent every waking moment of the entire weekend having FUN centered around the kids.
So on the way home last night, I asked him what his favorite part of it all was.
And he answered, "none of it. It was all boring."
I probed and poked, reminding him of all the good times we had, but still...he remained certain that he "did NOT have fun and that it was all boring."
On top of this, he'd had a bad attitude several times throughout the weekend, walking around with his arms all folded and a "Humph!" look on his face. I actually had to spank him (after many, many warnings) to get him to play with his friend who slept over!
I am obviously doing something wrong....but what? Do I do too much for/with them? Do we have TOO much fun? Do TOO many activities? I admit, we do something pretty exciting at least 2-3 days a week. Things that were very special and occasional when I was a kid...are regular parts of our lives. (going to the park, ice cream, bowling, movies, sleep overs, parties, etc.) We pretty much do all of that stuff every single week...and then on Friday is when we do something special (like the zoo, waterpark, aquarium, etc.) Maybe I am spoiling them..!?!?

I certainly feel as though I have to do something bigger and better every time in order to get them excited anymore. The stuff that would have had me jumping up and down with THRILL and excitement as a kid is totally NO BIG DEAL to them. If I say, "hey guys! Wanna go out for lunch and then go bowling!!??" They say, "whatever...it doesn't matter."

I've gone on strike before...where we don't do anything "fun" for a couple of weeks and it didn't help at ALL. The only thing that did was nearly drive us all NUTS by being stuck in the house with each other 24/7. They honestly didn't give a rip that we weren't doing any "fun stuff". If I threaten to take away something like a privilege or toy or something they just say "whatever, fine." They don't value anything! Neither of them has a possession that they would cry over. I've tried taking away things that I THOUGHT would matter to them...I'll put them up in the top of a closet and then we ALL forget about it and no one even notices or cares!

I don't want to stop having fun and doing activities...but I want them to be excited and grateful.
Anyone have any suggestions?

wow, I just went back and read this before I posted it. I feel completely ashamed....! :-(

I feel like it is important to say this, to be honest and fair:
Last night at our church's Freedom Celebration, we had a father and his children come up to us and said he just HAD to "tell on" Grant and how very sweet and kind and giving he was. The father told us that Grant was playing with a little plastic airplane that a lot of the kids had been given and he overheard this man's little boy say that he "wished he had one". Grant walked right over to him and bent down to his level and said, "Would you like to have this one?" and gave him the one he was playing with. Things like that make us so proud!!!!


Rene' said...

ooohhh, I love the giving side of Grant, that is so sweet!

I don't have an answer for you on the first part. I feel that my kids don't appreciate ALL that they have and all the opportunities they have either. I don't want to 'spoil' them, yet, I want to do fun things with them, and that includes vacations too. I try to remind them how blessed they are and they need to be thankful and joyful, but sometimes selfishness takes over and I haven't figured out a way to remove that behavior from them yet. I'll be watching for helpful suggestions.

Teresa said...

Whoa!! I don't think I've done THAT much FUN stuff w/ my kids in the past 3 years TOTAL!!!

Not sure what advice to give you other than what I told my friend the other day..."it's not your job to make them happy...the harder you try to make them happy w/ "stuff" and "events" the further you dig that hole of trying to top yourself.".

My kids are pretty happy kids and have learned to be happy even with having basically nothing for the past 11 months now. Yep for a whole year now they've rec'd nothing from the store...no extra anything...no sport events...nothing and I think they are happier than they've ever been just being together as a family again. So...basically I don't think that "happiness" is at all relatable to "stuff" or "events" for children. I've come to that conclusion. Sadly...it seems to be that way for us adults though...myself included.

In fact we went to a freakin carnival the other weekend...walked right past the cotton candy stand...the funnel cakes...the games and rides all lit up and right to the baseball feild where we sat and listened to the free band that was playing and waited till it got dark for the free fireworks to start. I felt bad for my kids but the alternative was to stay home and miss the fireworks all together. It was a GREAT lesson for them to learn. Logan kept on saying that one ride was no big deal but I kept on telling him that we would have to decide what bill we would NOT be paying then...I think he finally got it.

Keep on plugging away at the principals you are learning in that book by Kevin Lehman...they will pay off as long as they are done with love and consistancy.

I've heard of other Mom's who are so sick of their kids sense of entitlement that they are purposly telling the clerk at McDonald's to keep the toy that comes w/ the happy meal to give to another child who's parents can't afford the happy meal. I like that one! They are doing other types of things to try and BREAK their child's habits of having to have everything and still not being grateful for the stuff.

I'll tell you one last thing...the most content and grateful children I see are the ones who have the least toys and are not being taken to movies, out to eat and bowling etc. as often. It's the one's who have basements chocked full of toys and are always being taken for amazing days out and given everything that seem to the the least happy and grateful. Just something I've taken note of recently.

Hope you win this battle Jen. :)

KC said...

T said it perfectly!!!!
I don't think we've done that much fun stuff this whole year... We simply don't have the money to do all of the fun things we'd like to do.
Basically our fun times are spent playing cards, playing in the back yard, going camping, or boating, hiking, picnics, library, etc.
When they ask to go do "this or that" we often have to tell them "do you want food to eat this week?". I hate that it has to be that way, but at least they have shelter, food, and clothing. I think it helps them to be more grateful, when fun times out are more rare, because they learn to appreciate it so much more if it's a rare treat. That's what I keep telling myself anyway (so I'll feel better about not being able to afford to go do fun things very often...)

Rochelle said...

The bottom line is that your kids are not different from any other kids (and trust me, I'm around kids ALL THE TIME!). Kids are just self centered - that's the way it is. My own children constantly have their faces stuck in an Itouch, a computer, a video game or the TV. My daughter pouts because she wants new shoes or new clothes, when she has a closet full.

Here's what just hit me: I provide my kids with all kinds of things and experiences that I didn't have as a child, but what I've failed to do is to educate them about how blessed they are. I don't do enough of the things that show them how so many others in the world live without. Every time we have a service project at church, they participate and have an awesome time (when they drove neighborhood to neighborhood in northwest Houston and collected over 5,000 canned goods - you couldn't have seen more excited kids).

Here's why I'm suddenly ashamed: Because I get to see first hand the difference in every single one of the kids that's been in our ministry after they come back from a mission trip or service opportunity. WHY do I wait until the church or youth group organizes something? Why don't I take them to a soup kitchen to serve or to a food pantry to help organize? In our world, it seems that these types of experiences are the "very special and occasional".

Please don't think I'm being preachy - if so, I'm preaching to myself! I'm going to resolve right now to balance things for my kids by taking them to do things for others. It's the honest truth that I feel the most richly blessed when I'm doing something for someone else - that's the feeling that I should be striving for my children to experience.

Rochelle said...

My comment posted while I was trying to sign in, even though I hadn't edited or even finished it. I'm hoping it doesn't come across as harsh.

I do want to add that I don't think there's anything wrong with making sure our kids have fun experiences! While they seem unappreciative now, they WILL grow up and be thankful for the happy and fun childhood that you are very lovingly trying to provide for them. What I read of your blogs makes me believe that you are a great mom and that your children are very blessed to have you!

Take care and God bless,