It was a long line at the coffee shop, amidst the banter of coffee lovers a distinct voice could be heard “If you behave yourself, I will give you a chocolate cookie”. Ahh, the benefit of gifting kids, they give you exactly what you want immediately.
Gifts are useful; it is a way to show appreciation, reward high performers and good behaviour. Nevertheless, gifts, like most things in life, must be given in moderation, especially for kids.
In this, fast-paced world parents seldom have time to effectively discipline their children or establish healthy lines of communication. This lack often results in parents not getting what they want from their children – such as good grades, no embarrassing tantrums in public or some simple peace and quiet. Therefore, some parents choose the easiest way for immediate results – gifting with a purpose. “If you do this… then I will give you that…”
Gifts are given in an “if… then” format teaches our kids two things
- Gifts are given when pleasing acts are performed.
- Every time you do perform a pleasing act you will receive a gift.
This lesson often results in kids doing things for external rewards (gifts) rather than personal satisfaction. Furthermore, this form of gift giving is detrimental, as kids begin to judge their own self-worth and that of others based on materialistic possessions. This form of gifting will turn kids in materialistic brats.
But fair warning, do not use gift taking as a form of punishment. Do not take away your kids favourite toy or game for bad behaviour. Removing a “thing” from their environment, as a form of punishment, places focus on the “thing” – it emphasizes material possess. This removes focus from the behaviour and emphasizes the toy or game. Remember it was the act that upset you, not your kid’s toy or their game.