Are you a parent, grandparent, teacher, coach or employer who is dismayed at the sense of entitlement many of our young children have? And that is not all they have. They have clothes enough to outfit a small orphanage, toys enough for a play land and an excuse for every chore they are asked to do.

If so, you will certainly agree with Fred G. Gossman, author of Spoiled Rotten, Todays Children and How to Change Them.

He asks: "how can we take back our kids, restoring respect, excellence, civility, and decent values, not to mention self-esteem? For these children of plenty are not happy. In a survey of students listed in Who's Who in American High Schools, an incredible 28 percent said they had considered suicide. And these are some of the best.

Our kids need discipline, direction, love and the gift of our time. Nothing more, nothing less. The battle has not been lost; their lives can be turned around. But the excessive gifts and toys must end, the unreasonable concern for their every thought and feeling must end, and the acceptance of their mediocrity must end.

We must make crystal clear what our standards are, and clearly communicate and vigorously enforce consequences when they are breached. It is time to remind our children that they are, alas, just children; and although they are exceedingly important, the earth still resolves around the sun."

When Too Much is Too Much

A few years ago at a family Christmas gathering, the adults looked at the mounds of packages under the tree and shuddered. It was obscene in the over abundance of material possessions. One uncle mentioned that the Christ Child had only three gifts, so perhaps we should follow suit.

We carefully went through the packages, selecting every third one to put in a box. The mounds hardly looked smaller. Then this time around, we substituted an envelope for the present. In the envelope was a promise for time; Uninterrupted, alone time with an adult that loved them. The next pass through was to exchange a present for a big envelope promising the gift to be delivered in two weeks time, if the child still wanted it.

The pile of presents looked more realistic and surprisingly only a few of the children complained and wanted more. When we explained that we had been confused when we bought so many toys and trinkets and had forgotten what the real gift was; our love and respect for one another.

We promised them a Christmas this year they would never forget like they had forgotten the toys from last year. The adults turned off the televised games, put down the newspapers and we all went for a long walk and outside games.

No to Presents, Yes to Presence

We spent time with each child and they heard something that we had all forgotten how to say. No.

It was a precious gift to give our children the knowledge that you can't always have everything you want. Sometimes in life you will be disappointed. Live with it. Understand that toys, clothes, trinkets and the latest thing advertised will eventually break or go out of style.

True Happiness is Never Given, it is Shared.

Electronics will never compare with a Grandpa who reads to you, or an Aunt who bakes chocolate chip cookies with you. It is time not trinkets that make happy children and families.

If you are concerned that your children and grandchild seem to be spoiled and selfish, I know how you feel, I felt that way too. Now we have found that the children look for less under the tree and more meaningful time spent with the adults in their lives.

Author's Bio: 

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