Raising Good Kids

Things last week were focused on my kids.  Things finally feel like we are getting back to whatever normal is.  With both kids in school, and having very different interests, sometimes it’s hard to keep both going at once.  Sometimes I feel like I have plates spinning on poles, and I’m just trying to keep them spinning so they don’t fall off and break.  This week, we had lots of teachable moments, when it comes to learning about the future and about responsibility.

When I work with families, I try to stress raising kids with a respect for authority and an appreciation for what they have.  My kids are good kids, but I’m surprised by how often I have to say no to requests.  Parents have so much to teach their children about life and surviving as an adult without overspending and living beyond their means.  That seems to happen so often these days, so one of the biggest things I work on is earning, not just getting.

Finding a balance between teaching and spoiling has been hard for me, and many other parents.  Although I would like to say yes, when my kids ask for things, many times I have to say no.  Having kids earning things, like school activities and wants at the store, through working around the house teaches that things don’t come for free.  Even young kids can put toys away after playing and the earlier that you tart the easier it becomes.

This week has been about helping kids make it through school, but behind the scenes, it’s been one of those weeks that include lots of requests.  Most families are working on a budget and just like most, we have a budget that we need to stick to.  Planning for vacations, incidentals and so many other things makes having to say no to going out to eat and junk at the store a regular response.

One of my biggest fears is not giving my kids a healthy respect for money.  I always talk about what would happen if I get hit by a bus.  I worry about whether my kids will be able to manage without me.  If I do too many things for them, and give them too much, they won’t be able to understand how the world works and they could end up not being able to hold a job and living on the street.  So many times I meet people and work with people in treatment that have very few survival skills.  I don’t ever want my kids to be like that.

These days, the younger generation would like to sit on the couch, play video games, and eat pizza.  Instead of motivating kids to get a job and be responsible, somehow it’s okay just to be in the house.  It’s my job, and your job, to make sure that our kids know what they need to do.  Working with your kids, and preparing them to be successful, if hard work.  It makes kids uncomfortable, and they will push back, but we as parents have to stay strong and push back.  My goal is for my kids to move out and be successful at whatever career they choose.  It is not my goal that my kids will still be living with me when they are 30, because I feed them, do their laundry, and pay for their food.

Remember that people won’t make things easier for your kids, like you might.  They won’t let them get away with things, and make it okay if they don’t follow the rules.  It’s not going to be okay if they are late, and it’s not going to be okay if they don’t do what they are told.  It’s not okay if they are disrespectful and it’s not ok to say some things on social media.  Whether at school or at work, kids need to understand life and follow rules to survive. 

Being a parent is hard, and some weeks are better than others.  This week wasn’t bad, just busy, but in a good way.  Being able to teach my kids about life is a privilege, but it’s a tiring, thankless job.   It’s important though, if they are going to be happy in the future.  If they figure out life, and how to be happy, it makes me happy in the process. That makes it all worth it.