If You Give a Kid a Cookie, He'll Want a Lego

While I was reading Parenting with Love and Logic, my seven-year-old pored over his Lego magazine.  "Hey," he shouted, "this Lego is only eighty dollars."

Really? "Only eighty dollars," I repeated.  Understanding but undeterred, minutes later he shouted "Hey!  This one is only forty dollars and that's cheaper."  Understanding but undeterred, I followed Love and Logic advice:  validate his vision.

"Wow," I said, "that is a neat battering ram."  I smiled.  I didn't squelch his dream with something like "Are you kidding mister?  When I was your age I got a hand-me-down Barbie with one go-go-boot and no arms so don't come crying to me with your Lego troubles."

That said, I went for the Love and Logic kill.  "Son," I smiled, "how do you want to earn that Lego?"  He stared as if I was speaking Swahili.  Translating, I enlightened him on a few economic factors; a day job, three months of piano lessons, etc.  In reply, he pulled out a cookie recipe, two eggs, and expensive vanilla.  With the self-made cookies and a neighbor partner he went door-to-door while I walked inconspicuously behind.  After 45 minutes they were sold out with six dollars in change.  He and his friend subtracted one dollar for ingredients and, through serious negotiations, split the remainder.

Past generations feared illnesses such as chicken pox and influenza because it caused physical death.  In our current gimme-now generation-not parents of course-children suffer an ethereal illness; namely, irresponsibility, which brings motivational death.

Authors Cline and Fay state "to help children gain responsibility, we must offer that child opportunities to be responsible."  Unwittingly, we as loving parents who experienced sacrifice, now sacrifice not the money but the opportunity, the growth gained from desperately wanting and determinedly doing.

This is not child labor or throwing kids in a pool and yelling swim.  To wit, we equally matched my son's earnings and accompanied him on the next cookie outing-five of us on the four-wheeler, inconspicuously. No matter the form, a parent's contribution says, "I believe you will succeed."

Giving back the responsibility takes follow-through and selectivity; not every item is buy-it-yourself.  You'll know a special item when it's all they talk about, think about, and whine about.  They don't whine about bagels.  Involve them by asking responsibility-giving questions:  what can you make/do/sell to earn the money?  Talk it through, enthusiastically, and why not?  This is your possible future retirement at stake.

In a confusing move, my son used his cookie money to buy our family pizza.  He said it made him happy.  And that he wanted mom and dad to have more money to buy him a bike.  Possible future retirement.



More at www.conniesokol.com






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