As a mom of two, I try to provide everything my kids need and want. I became a mother at the age of 18 and we struggled for years to make ends meet—so when I finally was able to afford things for my oldest, I overdid it. Whatever it he wanted, I provided it to him in order to make up for the things I was unable to purchase him when he was smaller.
But doing that came with a price.
My son is now 16 and is an ungrateful child. He has gotten out of the practice of saying please and thank you. He expects certain things instead of working towards a specific goal to obtain a reward. And I feel that I am not blameless in this—I created a monster of epic proportions and now it is biting me in the back.
It is easier said than done to say you would know what to do if you were in my shoes. But it is a lot more complex than that. When I don’t get something that he wants, I feel guilty. Again, something that is MY problem and not his. I need to lead by example and let him follow my lead. And I’ve learned it’s not too late for me to put my foot down.
I spoke to a family counselor recently, and she gave me these “Mom” rules that I have been told to follow if I want to change his behavior of ungratefulness.
- Do not reward negative behavior
- Say no and mean it and follow up with action, no matter how much I am worn down
- Set goals and once it is achieved, give a reasonable reward
- Do not show my frustration. Instead, speak calmly and rationally so that my son won’t mimic my behavior
- Do not try to give everything my son wants. There must be a limit set
- Realize it’s not too late to change this behavior
- Remain positive even in un-positive situations
- Do not try to buy love
Those are the guidelines my family counselor recently set forth me in accordance for my son. I wanted to share these goals with you because there may be someone else out there is going through the same exact thing that I am going through right now.
Dealing with an ungrateful child is not easy, but it’s also a two-way street. I will work to help repair this situation—before it is really too late.