I watched with complete confusion as my 11-year-old began to sob while lying on the floor surrounded by crumpled birthday wrapping paper.
I even tried convincing myself that he was crying because he was so happy with what I thought were pretty cool birthday gifts.
Why else would he be acting this way? As I pleaded with him to tell me why he was crying, the dreaded words came out of his mouth….”I thought I was getting an iPhone 6”.
My insides turned with disgust and anger. I was shocked that my son, my newly minted 11-year-old, was being so ungrateful!
Who was this child? Who raised this child to be this way? And where did I go wrong that he actually thought it was okay to act like this or expect to get an iPhone 6 at age 11!
What baffled me, and probably hurt the most, is that I have done everything imaginable for my children. Their rooms are full of the latest and greatest. I cart them all over God’s creation for their sporting events and we go on some pretty cool family vacation at least twice a year.
These are all things that I didn’t have growing up, yet I would have never spoken to my parents that way or asked for something that extravagant. I appreciated what I had.
So, then why was my child so different than I was at his age? It hit me like a ton of bricks…..it’s me. It’s a parenting failure and I am so, so guilty.
I give my children pretty much everything they ask for. I go out of my way to make sure they are happy. While I might start off strong in situations that require some sort of ultimatum or punishment, I rarely stick to it. And when I do come up with a plan to make them more responsible or provide them with some ownership over something, it falls thru, not because of them, but because it becomes too hard for me to keep track of it.
They have me figured out. In my mind, because I love them so much, I do everything for them. In their minds, they know they have a pretty good and easy life, or at least that is what I am telling myself.
To top it all off, the world has changed and the children have changed with it. Kids today are growing up in a society that is extremely self-indulgent, needy and selfish. It’s a world of keeping up with your neighbor and very few of us, adult or children, know what it is like to go without.
So, what can I do to change this now?
First, I need clarify that although I have painted a pretty ugly picture of my children, but the truth is, I do have some pretty awesome kids. They have manners, are respectful of others and not a day goes by that I am not proud of them. This moment just woke me up to a reality that I need to do something about.
I also know I am not alone. Every single parent I have talked to has the exact same issue and concern. And like me, if we could go back and change what we know now, we certainly would.
Support group anyone?
In the near future, some things in our house are going to be changing pretty drastically…I’m not so sure what and how yet, but they will be changing. For starters, there will be no iPhone 6 in the hand of my 11 year old for a very, very long time.