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QUESTION: My Daughters Don’t Appreciate All of the Things We Buy for Them and I Don’t Know What to Do: Advice?
“My daughters don’t take care of anything that belongs to them, and I don’t know what to do. My daughters are 7 and 8. This past Christmas, my husband and I spent thousands on gifts for them. Hoverboards, a dollhouse, bikes, the HUGE packs of Lol Omg dolls, a basketball hoop, and just so much more.
We’ve never been able to do anything that big for Christmas before, and we were so excited to see their faces Christmas morning. We just wanted to make it special because we’ve all been locked up for a year because of COVID. We just wanted them to have options here at home to stay active and not be bored out of their minds all the time.
But they don’t take care of any of it. I’ve found LOL doll’s heads lying around. One broke a tablet she got for Christmas, and the stuff just isn’t taken care of. I mean, we worked so hard and sacrificed A LOT to make that Christmas happen – we were more than happy to. But now their birthdays are coming up on the 16th and 26th of this month. But I’m really to the point I don’t want to buy them anything other than an outfit and a pair of shoes or something.
I’ve tried talking to my daughters about why it’s important to take care of their things, I’ve tried threatening to throw things away, I’ve even taken stuff away and put it in my closet and told them that if they want it back, they have to start taking care of all this stuff. I told them I wouldn’t be getting them anything for their birthdays because of this behavior, and they sobbed. I don’t want to raise kids that become brats and spoiled. But I feel like we’re making a B Line in that direction? What would you guys do in this situation?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“Take them out on their birthdays and Xmas to deliver presents to homeless people instead… see a different side of life.”
“Take them out for a birthday dinner and say ‘Happy Birthday’ then explain why this is all they are getting this year.”
“Take it all away and make them earn it back. If they don’t learn now they will have to learn when they hit rock bottom and u arent around to save them.”
“Don’t give them birthday gifts. Tell them to pick a shelter, charity, etc of their choice and have them donate to it. Whether that be raising money or donating their own toys and clothes. Tell them this year their gift is learning what selflessness and gratitude is. This is a teachable moment, take advantage of it!”
“I’m old school so if they don’t appreciate what they have, take all the extras away and leave them with only necessities. If you don’t nip it in the bud now it will only get worse when they’re older.”
“They’re 7 and 8, I’d give them a little leeway. Just don’t replace it if it breaks and make sure you provide adequate protective coverings for electronics. Get them the usual for their birthday or maybe get second hand stuff (because at that age, they couldn’t care less if it’s actually new and you’ll feel better if it’s broken). Life is hard enough and sometimes kids break stuff. Don’t use their first birthday after a mess up to teach them a lesson.”
“Stop making threats and follow through! When my oldest continued to treat his stuff poorly at around the same age I literally took EVERYTHING away. Every toy, every book, every game, every movie, etc. ALL OF IT. He was left with not a single material thing except his bed and clothes. The rule then became he had to earn them back one item at a time. If he messed up and disrespected his property again, he lost it ALL again…
… It took a little over a year for him to finally earn everything back but he learned quickly to treat his property with respect. We have 4 golden rules in this family and breaking a single one has consequences. But they grow up better people for it. Rule number 1. Respect yourself. Rule number 2. Respect others. Rule number 3. Respect property. Rule number 4. Be kind.”
“I have found that my kids (similar ages) get overwhelmed and don’t have the capability of taking care of too many things at once. We have started only buying a few things for holidays and birthdays. Less clutter in the house means more imagination and kids that are capable of taking care of the things that they have. Instead of wasting money on tons of things my husband and I take them to do stuff outside. We horseback ride, hike, sled, rollerskate, Ice skate, swim, all Depends on the season.”
“I’m glad you can afford such nice things for your kids but I honestly stopped reading after the massive list of Christmas gifts. Growing up we always got one big ticket item we always wanted and then smaller things we wanted/needed, Barbies, clothes, etc. I can imagine if my parents bought me all this stuff for one Christmas I would probably have been an ungrateful nightmare. To each their own though.”
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