Do Your Kids Have a Case of the Gimmes? Take This Advice From 6 Real Moms

Gifts gifts gifts gifts gifts…

Cherise came to the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group with a need that I’m sure all of us mothers feel at some point in the raising of our kids. Especially at Christmas.

I need some advice, or maybe someone to commiserate with. I have 3 kids (5, 3 & 1). Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. This year all my son has talked about are the things he wants for Christmas. For weeks we have been having daily conversations about what this season is about and how only asking for things and thinking about what he wants is selfish and not why we celebrate Christmas. What have you done to help get your kids out of this mindset? It’s just my oldest, but he sets the tone for his younger sister, and I’ve already noticed her start to ask for more things than she usually does. Thank goodness the baby is still clueless.

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The amazing news is that, because we’re all in this mothering thing together, she got so much solid advice that I don’t think I have anything to add. In fact, I’m taking more away from today’s post than I’m contributing. I LOVE THIS GROUP!!!

  • Judi: Make a giving list and a want list. For every item that he wants he must have something he is going to give. Or do for someone else. Bake cookies for the fire station. Shovel a neighbors side walk. Give the school janitor a small gift.

  • Bean: What I’ve always done is if my kids start to ask, I say “well you can ask for things for your birthday, but this is Jesus’s birthday so we’re not going to make a list of what we WANT. But we can make a list of what we want to give.” Then they list all their siblings, or whoever and write what they would like to give them. When they’re small it might take some reminding, but I have 10 kids now and they’ve never had a wish list and now they get WAYYYY more excited about what they’re giving than they do about what they’re getting.

  • Michelle: We found an online community where people in need were encouraged to post needs. I found a family who was local that had a girl my daughter's age. All of a sudden we were shopping constantly for this little girl, and those toys that my daughter no longer played with but also couldn't part with... She was so quick to say "She would LOVE this!" And all of a sudden my daughter was wanting to give everything to this little girl. It made me so proud!

  • Samantha: I think The Giving Manger is a great tool. I’m getting one for next year.

  • Abby: The way our culture "does Christmas" makes it extremely difficult for young children to focus on anything other than receiving gifts. Each one of us has a naturally selfish nature, and holiday consumerism feeds into that. So, for a five-year-old to naturally have a heart of generosity and to deny his own desires is nearly impossible. It all comes down to the heart, and we all know that a change of heart takes lots of time and lots of the "right stuff" being poured in. My advice is to decide with your husband what you proactively want to teach your children and--without expecting immediate results--teach these principles to your children directly and indirectly, with consistency, and by example. Though it can be frustrating to see selfishness in our children, it is just an opportunity presenting itself to us as parents to guide them. Kudos to you for seeing that, and I am praying that God will give you specific wisdom in parenting through it.

  • Joylyn: Often I think we hold kids to standards that we don’t meet ourselves as adults because we are scared they are going to be mean, or rude or selfish. But they are human.

    My oldest had an AWFUL morning. He woke in the worst mood and was angry at almost everything that happened. And instead of hounding him to make his lunch (like I normally would have) I helped and offered him a unique option. Instead of reminding him to put the milk away, I did it myself. Because, man, there are plenty of days when I am angry, but not at him, and just need a little help and cooperation. And if I can’t be that for him when he’s struggling then how can I expect him to be that for others?

    So, what I’m getting at is keep modeling what you want for him and it will eventually click. My husband takes my oldest to pick out gifts for the drive that his work does every year and my son can’t wait to go and pour over the aisles for things that other kids can get a lot of play out of. At 5, he would have cried because we weren’t buying it all for him (6-yr-old still does). You’ve got this, Momma!!!

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I couldn’t have said this any better myself. My 4-year-old is completely obsessed with unicorns these days. (WHY?!?!?!!!) But I was relieved to find that with all of our conversations about giving, kindness, and Jesus’ birthday, she also wants to give Baby Jesus a unicorn. You can’t make this stuff up. The only thing we can do is keep modeling and communicating our hopes and desires for our kids, families, and ourselves consistently.

Thanks to Cherise and all of the amazing moms who shared their wisdom. We’re doing it, you guys. We are. Here’s to hoping your next couple weeks are as peaceful, joyous, and fun as possible!

And if you need any encouragement, you know where to find it! Plus, subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss a thing!

Lisa GraftComment