Parents face different challenges at different stages of life of the children. When they are toddlers, they just do what we tell them to. No ifs or buts.
When they grow older, with intelligence improved, they will question the way you do certain things. They will not accept what you say without giving you trouble.
I have my way of raising J and K. Some are vastly different from what the majority of parents do. This, without a doubt, casts “dissatisfaction” in them, especially K. To be fair, I am not sure what J thinks of my parenting style but K takes me to task by questioning why I do what I do.
In fact, he didn’t ask me directly but to his mother. I only found out from my wife what K thought of the way I raised them.
We discussed in detail over dinner last week.
K raised some points that I will share with you below:
- Why do I have to do housework while my friends don’t?
- Why do my friends have 5 times more allowance than I do?
- Why do my friends have the luxury to buy anything they wish without the need to convince the parents?
- Why don’t my friends get scolded after they misbehave (eg: breaking a glass)?
K asked these questions after he starts comparing notes with his classmates. He feels that his friends are getting ahead of him in terms of materials or how they live their lives. He starts wondering why his friends can live a comfortable life while he has to “slave” himself doing chores and getting “paid” less in the form of an allowance.
I am not bothered by this problem. On the contrary I am happy and have been waiting for this moment. That shows my kids are beginning to think and I have again the opportunity emphasize the salient points of my parenting principles.
For the uninitiated, here is what I do with J and K:
- I don’t buy everything they ask me to. I need convincing. Most of the time I say no.
- I encourage (sometimes, force) them to do house chores. It’s even better if they do tasks for the whole family, not only for themselves.
- I explain to them when they do something that is not appropriate. And if they fail to listen and repeat the same mistake/misbehavior, a punishment will be served.
- I advise them to put less emphasis on materials. Instead, focus more on life experiences and relationships with others. In short, intangible things.
- I want to inculcate the habit of saving. I don’t want them to spend more money than they have.
So why do I do these and, as a result, make J and K feel it’s unfair?
All in all, I can summarize the reason for this in one simple, easy to understand sentence: I want to raise J and K to be responsible, independent, emotionally mature children who are financially savvy without overindulgence in material stuff.
Being “unfair” has its advantages.
With all the restrictions and control, initially K felt the way I brought him up was unfair. There are so many things he can’t do. There are so many things he can’t buy. There are so many ways he can’t live like a king.
After explaining to them that evening, they can understand more why we do that. And they feel much better now that they know we have a reason for what we do and it’s not our intention to come here and purposely make their lives as miserable as possible.
For more tips on raising happy and well behaved children with less costs, check out my The Nonconformist’s Guide to Parenting.
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