Christmas giftsWe’ve been hearing a couple of buzzwords over and over lately in popular discussions about the Holiday Season.  These buzzwords are “entitlement” and “generosity”.

Do your kids suffer from entitlement?  Do they have expectations regarding their holiday gifts, assuming they deserve to have them and will receive them instead of wishing or hoping for them?

Are your kids generous?  Do they think of others besides themselves?

There is enlightenment in the history behind today’s parents and the attitudes that are prevalent in their kids.  Multitudes of articles have been written about entitlement as it relates to the “Baby Boomer” generation and their offspring, especially people known as “Gen Yers” or “Millenials”.  Among them is an article by Moses Znaimer, a media mogul in Toronto, Canada, who wrote in  Zoomer magazine, September 2012 issue, that today’s younger generations have had their baby boomer parents providing them with “larger homes…, with fancier cars, more vacations, more extracurricular classes and more big-ticket electronic toys than their parents ever had.  They were pampered and protected and, worse, told that they deserved to have nothing but good things happen to them, simply by dint of existing at this time and place.” *  Baby boomers, born after World War II from 1946 to 1964, were raised by parents who came of age during wartime and the Great Depression.  They wanted to spare their children from the hardships they had endured and to make sure they didn’t go without.  Today’s young parents are the boomers’ offspring, most of whom grew up being provided with all their needs, many of them delivered at lightning speed.

What impact does this history have on today’s families with young children?  Looking at the statistics for credit card debt and materialism, it seems that the trend has been to continue providing more and more, even though the means to pay are not always there, causing tremendous stress, depression, marriage breakdown and more.

dad in debt

We need to teach today’s children that there are limits to “getting”.   Sitting down with kids and establishing limits for holiday gift-giving is important.  Children need to know what is possible under the tree, possible especially in that parents can be able to pay the bills when they arrive in January!

We need to level with the kids. For example: Santa will bring one gift.  Mom and Dad will give one gift.  When a child writes a letter to Santa, parents can set some limits on what is possible.  Kids need to learn that their family has its own customs for the holidays, perhaps different from their friends’ and that not everyone gets everything he or she wants.

The other word I mentioned is “generosity”.  Along with “getting”, parents need to discuss “giving”.  At this time of year, there are many ways to give to others.  Parents can donate time, money or food to the needy and set an example that their children can emulate.  The way to teach generosity is to be openly generous, communicating to the kids the importance of helping others.

girl giving gift

The most important teaching tool a parent has looks back at him or her from the mirror.  Children are great imitators.  They just need a role model to follow.  Parents have the chance to shape the future by instilling qualities in their kids that will help them to be kind, caring, responsible and generous adults.

girl helping grandmother

*quoted with permission from Zoomer magazine


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