Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feel Sorry for your Kids? Don't!

Mama told me one time - "Feeling sorry for your kid is the worse thing you can do to them." We were discussing some parents giving too much to a child because the parent felt bad for something the child didn't get or couldn't have or just because the parents felt guilty for whatever.
In this day, when too many children are treated like idols, people acting fairly irrational while providing "necessities" for their offspring is common.
Whether it's goodie bags at birthday parties, expensive sport camps/equipment/training, or THE college - can't you see our grandparents with eyes popping, shaking their heads, and lamenting what we're doing to their progeny?
I'm not saying it's not hard - but sometimes we just need some perspective. When Lizzy was looking at colleges, she wanted, badly, to go out of state. Now, this wasn't a possibility and finding that out wasn't a shock as we'd said it from the very beginning. But still, if all her friends could have that then . . . and teenage girls have no equal in making you feel like scum when they're unhappy.
So here's what I did. I did some research and found that the difference between the cheapest out of state school and what we would pay at an instate school would be $53,000 over four years.
I told her that and asked, "If I handed you $53,000 in cash right now, would you spend it to go to school out of state? She didn't even have to think. She said, "No." My response? "Neither would I."
Did it turn her into Little Mary Sunshine? Did she tearfully thank me for opening her eyes? Yeah, right. What it did was establish the foundation we were standing on. It established our starting point and that the life she was planning - was her life. Not a gift from me and her daddy.

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