(Mommy Chronicles is the new section/segment in Style Attempt that is duly intended for moms/young moms/moms-to-be out there. I thought it’d be great to write about the ‘hat’ that I’m wearing everyday — which is being a parent/mother. If you’re wondering what this section is doing in a fashion blog. Let’s just say that for me living life in style is not just about being fashionable or about clothes, but it’s also about tackling various roles in life with grace.)
Being a mother is truly the hardest job in the world. I’ve been a mother for almost four years now, and the adjustment period isn’t over yet - far from it.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned (and continue to learn) in the past years of parenthood that I would gladly share with friends and with you (readers), it is about setting the difference between “want and need.”
(Pardon the watermarks, this section was originally named Parenting 101 until I decided to make it ‘more’ me by changing it to Mommy Chronicles. :P )
Meet my youngest - Marlena Avery (3 years old)
My eldest - Marquise Aine (4 years old)
As parents, we want to give the best to our children. Oftentimes, we feel compelled in providing everything they want. But the thing is, what they want is not necessarily what they need. This matter often leaves parents a bit troubled on how they should deal with it. How to define the needs from the wants? And how to make kids - especially toddlers - analyze and realize the difference?
A MATTER OF TEAM WORK
My husband has been firm about clearly identifying what our kids “want” from what they truly “need” in life. By doing so, we are able to provide better for them, without feeling that we’re shortchanging them. Simply, “want” is very different from “need.” So how should a parent deal (and deny) with their kids when they want something that isn’t needed anyway?
First off, let me point out the importance of working on this task with your partner. Know that you are not alone in this process (lest of course you are a singe parent, but even so, you can always seek support from other family members). Be in sync with your partner when it comes to the idea of making your kids analyze the difference between want and need. By doing this thing together, by coming up with solutions that both of your agree with, it will be easier to implement them. Besides, how can the kids understand if they see they’re own parents “not understanding” each other?
Image Credit: MSN.com
As early as now, with our 3 and 4 year-old kids, we begin instilling in them the difference between want and need. Truth is, it is usual for kids to “want” everything. My eldest would constantly blurt out “Mommy, I want that Barbie,” whenever she sees the advertisement on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel. The attraction to shiny new things is normal - even to adults.
To make them aware of the difference between want and need, we apply two different approaches: 1) straightforward NO, and 2) reward system.
There are times when I would tell Aine that “Okay, if you get high grades at school, I’ll buy you that.” Another thing that I often tell her is “If you’re a good girl, I’ll give that to you.” This would end the conversation at once. These words would teach them to work for what they want. By giving them the option of “reaping the rewards” later, they will not only start learning about obedience, but they’d also value what they do and be better at it.
Image Credit: H2oyouth.org
However, there are days when even if she has just received something new from us or from their grandparents (a dress, toys, etc.), she’d still say that she wants something. When this happens, I tell her frankly that “Hey, Mommy just gave you this. Hindi lahat ng gusto ipapabili ha. (We don’t always have “to buy” or ask for everything we want, okay.)”
Or sometimes, I do give her options just so she’d have an idea that money must be valued and spent well. “Okay, bibilhin ko yan pero hindi na kita bibilhan ng pagkain at gatas. (I’ll buy you that but I won’t buy you food and milk anymore.)” By hearing milk and food, Aine instantly processes the fact that those are the things we spend our money on, thus, if she wants a new toy yet again or something that she doesn’t really “need” anyway, we’d have to sacrifice what’s really important for the lesser significant things.
Image Credit: Mashable.com
By applying either the reward system or the straightforward approach, kids get to have a better grasp of the truth that what they want isn’t always what they need. Also, by not giving in to their tantrums whenever they want something, parents are able to help their kids build good characters early on in life.
Me when my youngest - Avery - was having her ‘episode’ in a party
As much as it hurts us parents to not have the ability to provide everything that we wish we can provide our kids with, it is our duty to mold them into responsible and obedient human beings. With their dependence on us at this stage of their lives, we must grab the opportunity to teach them values that they can carry on in life until they grow old and grey, which they can also teach to their kids someday.
If you have topic suggestions or questions about motherhood/parenthood/kids, you may drop me a line at styleattempt[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject MOMMY CHRONICLES. Would be great to hear from you! <3