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Raising Grateful Children in an Entitled World

CAN IT BE DONE? By Liz Gunn || I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to celebrate Christmas this week. Having a child to celebrate with really does put the magic back in the holiday. You get to relive your childhood Christmases through the eyes of your child,…

CAN IT BE DONE?

LIZ GUNNBy Liz Gunn || I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to celebrate Christmas this week. Having a child to celebrate with really does put the magic back in the holiday. You get to relive your childhood Christmases through the eyes of your child, and it is nothing short of awesome!

I have a daughter, who is 16 months old, but I also have five nephews, three nieces and two more on the way in 2015. Christmas has been exponentially more fun since our family began to grow. There is just nothing better than seeing the pure, unadulterated joy on children’s faces when they talk about Santa Claus or when they open an exciting new toy.

With that being said, it sometimes feels like a blessing and a curse. It’s so much fun to see them so excited, but then you also see them open gift after gift after gift. And in the weeks that follow you see some of those gifts collecting dust in the corner. But when Santa, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all gifting your child – it’s very easy for things to get out of hand.

There are many reasons that I don’t want my children to think Christmas is all about gifts. For starters, I want my children to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas – which can and does include gifts, but shouldn’t focus solely on them. Secondly, because I don’t want to raise spoiled, entitled brats.

We’ve all encountered them. Maybe you were one. Maybe you have one. Bratty, spoiled children are obnoxious pests that usually grow up to be bratty, unsatisfied adults. It’s hard on the parents and much harder on the children later in life when reality eventually sets in.

I want to share some ideas that were recently shared with me on this subject and I’d love to hear of any ways that you’re combating this within your own  families. Parenting is hard, but it’s even harder in today’s society where materialism is often glorified.

The first suggestion, one I plan to implement this year as we are now in a position to start our own traditions, is the “Three Wise Men – Three Gifts” theory. It’s so easy to get carried away with over-gifting your kids at Christmas, especially if you only have one to buy for. But this plan suggest that each child get only three gifts from Santa, to represent to the three gifts of the wise men. Not only does it reign in your spending, it also incorporates the real meaning of Christmas into the more secular part.

Another great concept I came across was to create a “Christmas Gift Chore List”, and require your kids to earn money to buy gifts for their siblings, parents, grandparents, etc. This one also does double duty – teaching your children the value of a dollar while getting some extra work out of them. Sounds like a win, win! I’m keeping this one in my back pocket for when my little one is old enough to participate.

One tried and true idea, one that my family participated in when I was little, is getting involved in a way that teaches children the importance of giving back. Every year, we would adopt a family with children near the ages of my brother and me. My brother and I would take one item off of our own list to buy for the children of the adopted family instead. Looking back, this exercise in philanthropy  taught me a lot of different lessons. I learned to be grateful for what I had, because there were so many who had so much less. I learned that giving really can bring you more joy than receiving.

I often struggle with what seems like the “entitlement generation” of children out there. I never expected, nor did I ever get, every single thing on my Christmas list. (And I was taught to write thank you notes for all the ones I did receive.) I know at times it will be difficult and I may often be the odd mom out, but I want to make a conscientious effort to raise grateful, charitable children. I would love to hear your stories about how you or your own parents had success with this, especially during the holidays.

LIZ GUNN is a wife, mom, travel enthusiast, food snob, daydreamer and lifelong Gamecock fan. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia, S.C. with her husband and daughter.
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59 comments

GrandTango December 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm

You have a boss, who thinks using drugs should be OK, no matter how much damage and harm it does to society – and he supports the subjection of women who need money as prostitutes, because the rich and lecherous fat-cats that fund y’all have no problem using the weak and desperate…

FITS also thinks we have no responsibility as the only God-based Superpower, to those powerless who are stomped on by the rich, powerful, Godless and cruel…

FITS, and Sanford are the epitome of entitlement, privilege, decadence and immorality….The fact that you are letting yourself be used by these hideous cretins, does not speak well of you as one pontificating about entitlement……

Don’t believe me: go ask Nancy Mace how her once-promising career was severely damaged by her association w/ this site.

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John December 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

This makes more sense than much of what you post, and it’s not all that inaccurate.

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Too much time on ur hands December 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm

How’s the blog going champ?

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Smirks December 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Protip for GrandTango: If the hit count ever goes past 10, you can use your toes in addition to your fingers. If it goes past 20 though you’re going to have to be more resourceful.

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TontoBubbaGoldstein December 22, 2014 at 8:21 pm

GT can probably get to 24 counting fingers and toes.

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Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 12:19 am

Ewww…mental image…can’t shake it…

Flip Coscoe December 23, 2014 at 8:49 am

Buz used that joke a few days ago. How original, Buz?

E Norma scok December 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

A God based superpower? I had no idea that God needed, or used, nukes.

Who knew?

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GrandTango December 23, 2014 at 8:17 am

Ever hear of Sodom and Gomorrah …Dumb@$$????…who did that?

God does not guarantee bliss to the hateful, evil and sinful. He is a just God. It is why a justice-loving, freedom-fighting and right-protecting country like ours has so prospered.

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mamatiger92 December 23, 2014 at 8:23 am

“God does not guarantee bliss to the hateful…”

That’s bad news for you.

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Flip Coscoe December 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

You and ‘grandtangosuglydog’ are married, right? Smirks rents a room with internet privileges and SCBlues is your ordained witch doctor.
Evil ‘vibes’ from all of ya. :-)

E Norma Scok December 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

There were nukes involved at Gomorrah? Seems like someone would have found isotope half lives.

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GrandTango December 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

Not Nukes, but obviously people as Stupid as you…who were burned to a crisp for their ignorance of God.

Imagination December 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

God isn’t real. You are aware of that, right?

GrandTango December 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Then why does He scare the H#!! out of you?

shifty henry December 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm

” people as Stupid as you..”
———————————-
There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has longer shelf life. (Frank Zappa)

Dusty Relic December 24, 2014 at 10:54 am

You do know that Sodom and Gomorrah are just myths, right?

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GrandTango December 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Norma accepted the premise. So your ignorance is attached to her….

PS: You liberals sure crap you pants a lot over a myth….If it is just a myth: why do you fear God so violently?

Dusty Relic December 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I am not a liberal and I do not fear god.

GrandTango December 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm

None of you EVER admit what you are…but you sure as H#!! spend a lot of time attacking what you are not….

Dusty Relic December 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

So I guess you figure that since you can’t win this argument with facts and you can’t win with logic you will just spout something incomprehensible and then I’ll be rendered speechless? The truth is the only thing people here are united in attacking is a failed policy that unfairly oppresses the American people and that has turned this country into a police state. That has nothing to do with being religious or being a liberal or being a conservative or what have you. It has to do with being an American, the meaning of which you have apparently lost sight of.

GrandTango December 25, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Proving there is a God is an argument you think I believe I can win. I know there is no proof. Just like you cannot prove there is not a God. The only difference is you are stupid enough – it seems – to believe you can. I know better.

What I get out of it: The mortal H#!! it puts you liberals through when we profess our God. You simply cannot stand the fact that there are people who don’t worship idols or your false god, Obama…

One of the most-salient truths from The Bible (God) is: You cannot serve two masters. You either serve dark or light. God or evil. And I KNOW if you do not serve God, you are lost in darkness. I’d love for you to acknowledge that, instead of your rabid persecution of God, and those who have faith. But I can only tell you what I know to be true. The rest is left to your soul.

FastEddy23 December 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Dusty: stick around. GT is always windy … and always right, sometimes.

(I was in Denver for Thanksgiving.)

9" December 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

bratty, unsatisfied adults ?

Fits

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Bible Thumper December 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Good job. Children are naturally selfish. Don’t expect to see any results until they are 25.

I was grateful for my ten speed bike. I was never grateful for my sister or the roof over my head.

My parents example didn’t take root until I was an adult.

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Terrier December 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

I can see that there are no bowling alleys in the towns/cities that your siblings live in. If so, there would be something to do besides procreate a mass if squalling infants

[Old observation left over from an upstate college “Glee Club” [read: 60 horny late teener males] trip to Sumter in 1953, where all of the available young ladies (married or not) were pregnant].

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Terrier December 22, 2014 at 7:40 pm

edit: “of” instead of “if”

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Bible Thumper December 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Squalling infants don’t bother me. It’s whiney adults.

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Bible Thumper December 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Definition of embarrassment: Someone over hearing you try to sing along with a Joe Cocker song.
Joe Cocker (d) 12/22/14

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tomstickler December 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Were you a little out of key?

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Bible Thumper December 22, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Key, chord, scale. All the above.

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shifty henry December 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm

One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we’ll need a new definition. (Alvin Toffler)

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FastEddy23 December 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Add virtual?

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TontoBubbaGoldstein December 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Not only does it reign in your spending…

*sigh*

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Interesting Hobby December 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Grammar police. Like a boozed up heckler in a comedy club, only less clever.

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idcydm December 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm

But I’ll bet you think all the user names you use are clever.

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Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 12:20 am

I don’t know, amigo…it doesn’t seem weird to expect good basic English usage from a professional writer.

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Flip Coscoe December 23, 2014 at 8:40 am

We don’t expect the liberal ‘professional’ people that post on here to write anything that makes sense…why are we picking on a busy mom that makes a spelling mistake?

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Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Ha…true enough! I just don’t consider TBG’s comment “picking on” her…it’s just English, man!

Toyota Kawaski December 23, 2014 at 8:58 am

Professional writer?

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Mike at the Beach December 27, 2014 at 1:31 am

Technically, I may be correct…point taken, though.

idcydm December 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm

All wet again? ;)

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Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 12:49 am

Reign- v. (Rule; esp. as a king or queen)
Rein- v. (To check or guide; esp. as one controls a horse)
Rain- n. (Moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly as drops).

Rane- prop. name (Stripper from Miami back I knew when I worked for the feds; possibly a stage name…I mean, I never saw a birth certificate or anything)

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TontoBubbaGoldstein December 23, 2014 at 5:48 am

During the reign of Rane, MatB had to rein in his spending elsewhere to make it rain for Rane.

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Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 3:55 pm

It was strictly professional relationship…I was developing her as an asset. I could even expense some of it. Life was good.

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FastEddy23 December 27, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Enough already: too many crude, rude joke potentials now … we could be here next week (again, already).

guest December 23, 2014 at 10:14 am

Didn’t one of the Kardashian girls name her son Reign?

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Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Holy shit; I searched the intergoogle, and you are correct, sir!

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TontoBubbaGoldstein December 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Them Kardashian gals sure have some *developed stripper assets.*

Mike at the Beach December 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm

That they do. Grey matter, less so.

Tunes'n'News December 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm

If you’re mindful of it already, you’ll end up in the right place. There’s no gimmicks or shortcuts, it’s an everyday all year parenting thing to try to pursue.

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mamatiger92 December 23, 2014 at 8:24 am

Good luck with the 3 gifts thing. I’ve had several friends try it only to give up once the kids reach school age. It is certainly a great idea in theory.

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Toyota Kawaski December 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

Can we see the new Christmas Panties Liz?

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Tazmaniac December 23, 2014 at 10:27 am

Many parents today ought to get their kid a Fisher-Price mailbox and teach them to stand by it and wait on a check. Maybe you could say my folks were tough on us five kids but we were always offered the lowest tier of gift that we wanted, for example a new bike. My folks would say OK, a brand X cheap bike cost X amount of dollars, it is all yours. Then they would say if you work at jobs around the neighborhood and add in this many of your earned dollars, you will get the bike you’ve dreamed of. Looking back it taught me not to settle on just what is given.

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RogueElephant December 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm

I was hooked into the trunk-or-treat thing twice this Halloween. One was at the Farmer’s Mkt. where the children were gracious, thanking us and acting appreciative. The other was in another town some distance away. There the children just held out their bag and glared at us like we didn’t give them enough candy. It was easy to tell which was the parasite class and which wasn’t. I had never really given it much thought but to have two distinctly different reactions to the same event shows how far down we have gone as a country. But it also shows that there is hope. Next year we will only go to the Farmer’s Mkt.

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GrandTango December 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Great point RE: I don’t necessarily have a problem w/ beggars. Some are truly needy, especially children…Jesus told us the poor would always be w/ us. It is a blessing to give to them…

Liberal thinking makes people impoverished. So as long as there are liberals, there will be poor…

But being grateful makes a BIG difference w/ those to whom I give. I’m teaching you nothing, if you do not learn thanks. And I’m harming you spiritually, by feeding you, more than I’m helping you….if you are not gracious for what is given….

Our government, the Democrats anyway, teach their subjects to hate those who feed them….That is why so many of them are such miserable, and empty people…no matter what they get from others…

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RogueElephant December 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Very true GT. Have a Merry Christmas

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GrandTango December 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Merry Christmas to you, brother.

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FastEddy23 December 27, 2014 at 10:33 pm

“… Another great concept I came across was to create a “Christmas Gift Chore List”, and require your kids to earn money to buy gifts for their siblings, parents, grandparents, etc. …”

There is a good answer in there. Work.

A good work ethic is not very difficult to teach. I had a paper route @ 12 and 13, I worked on a farm @ 14, I worked in a dime store @ 15, I was a “lather’s apprentice” @ 16 … Even though my Dad had a pretty good income and was willing and able to give me just about anything I wanted including three (junk) Model A cars when I was 14, which we parted out together into one good one. … He made sure I worked at something, 5 or 6 days a week when school was out … (I like to believe I had and have a good work ethic.)

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