As you may recall, I’m a big fan of subjecting children to low-level suffering in order to build character. However, I have failed at inflicting this type of character-building pain on my children. This is evidenced by the two premadonnas that prance around our house like the King and Queen of the World.
Our children are so completely unappreciative and prissy.
A few weeks ago I found myself literally begging Avery to go to the beach. “I don’t want to go; the beach is boring” he’d whine. What?! This is the same kid that asked “when can we leave” while we were at Disney World! (because he wanted to go to his Grandma’s house). Are we the only parents on the planet that have children who complain that they want to be someplace else when they’re at DISNEY WORLD?! They are completely unimpressed by everything. For Avery’s birthday we surprised him with an ATV – I don’t think he even smiled when the gift was presented to him. Jermaine was beaming, Shaun had tears in his eyes and every other person there had smiles from ear to ear. Other children screamed with glee and excitement, but Avery just sat there looking befuddled.
Each trip to the grocery store is met with “my feet are tired, can I ride in the cart?” ..or “It’s too cold in the grocery store”. Then I find myself explaining to them that unless we go, they won’t have milk for their cereal, or syrup for their pancakes. They don’t care about that though. Same deal at the mall, all of the sudden both children turn into quadriplegics. In church I can’t get them to stand to worship the Lord because their “legs hurt”. I try to explain that Christ endured the cross for them, the least they could do is stand up for a song of praise, but I get nowhere.
Yesterday I asked them to clean their trash and toys out of the back of the minivan, “Why do WE have to clean it”. “Because it’s your disgusting mess”, I explain. So as they’re cleaning I’m crackin’ the whip commenting on what a gross mess they’ve created and “didn’t daddy JUST clean this out two weeks ago and tell you guys to keep it clean?”, and “don’t forget that spot” and “why did you leave ice cream in the car?!” when I notice that some of their DVDs have taffy all over them. I have warned Avery repeatedly about taking care of his DVDs. I’ve instructed him to put them back in their cases when he’s finished watching them. So we come in the house and I show Avery that two of his DVDs are ruined and I dramatically pitch them into the trash. He was like “that movie wasn’t very good anyway” and “that DVD was already broken”. I looked at him squarely and said “Don’t you care that you’ve ruined your belongings?” He looked squarely back at me and politely answered, “No”. (He wasn’t being fresh, he was being honest; he really doesn’t care).
When I ask him to clean up his room, he tells me that he has too many toys and that we should give some away to kids that don’t have many (which we do).
Where have we gone wrong? A little parenting advice, please….