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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Being grateful

I had an argument the other day with M.  "You don't understand what it's like to have to share everything!" she yelled at me.  She's right.  I don't.  "We're the only ones in our class who haven't been to Paris!"  Well, that's tough for you, isn't it?  Since when does an 11 year old have a right to expect things like a trip to Paris, an iPad or any other electronic or a big ass house?  I left that conversation mad at her and mad at me.  Clearly, I am failing in this area as a parent.  Overall, I think I do a good job.  But this kid does not understand how to be GRATEFUL for what she has.  i don't get it.

My friends tell me this is just the beginning of puberty hitting.  After getting so freaking mad at her, she has changed her tune a bit.  She doesn't like me mad, that's for sure.  I am pretty open with my kids about things - I can't buy what I want when I want because I have to be responsible and make sure things like the mortgage and utilities get paid.  School activities, their hobbies, clothes - it all costs money.  But the reality is everything they need, they have.  Ninety percent of what they want, they get.  It might not be on their time frame but they get them.

I thought we had instilled these values pretty early on.  They've only been allowed to ask Santa for three gifts.  That's it.  It has forced them to really think about what they want - not waste their wishes on silly things they won't use.  It's been good.  Until now.  I don't know if it's peer pressure or pre-teen crap or what but this stage is making me nuts.

Maybe it's time for self reflection.  Assuming that their dad and I are still their primary influences (and that's a big assumption), they must be learning something here from us.  Or maybe rebelling against what we've taught them?  Or may they're just tired of being very middle class and seen as a pair when they really are quite individual.  Maybe they're just testing their limits.  Maybe they're just trying to make me nuts.

It's back to the drawing board for teaching gratitude.  First stop, a homeless shelter.  Maybe seeing and helping others who are not as fortunate as them will help.  Maybe it will just make me feel better.  Maybe, maybe, maybe....

I'm encouraged by the knowledge that other people's twin girls have lived past age 11.  So I know we'll get through it all.

5 comments:

  1. Ouch. I'm an only child and have no children, but I feel for you! I think a homeless shelter is a GREAT idea. Do you ever watch 'Secret Millionaire'? ;-)

    Hang in there!

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  2. No. What's Secret Millionaire?

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  3. Your post reminded me of this post - http://www.blogher.com/ungrateful-kids-make-them-volunteer-homeless-shelter-vacation A mom takes her kids to NYC for a vacation and they get a little too entitled so they take a detour to a homeless shelter.

    Mine haven't hit this stage yet, but I distinctly remember being this age myself and suddenly being VERY aware of what others had that I didn't (and I had a lot actually). I would step up the trips to shelters or other outwardly facing pursuits and try not engage to much in the rest of the complaints and requests - it will only make you crazy. You are raising really good girls, this is just a phase.

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  4. Thanks. They are good girls - and I've since found out that I'm not the only one facing this. This is apparently normal - I just don't remember going through this myself. Maybe my mom was dragging me to volunteer things before it really started. Hopefully this phase will pass soon and others will get to benefit from it :).

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