Reflect back on your growing up years. I’m sure you remember the battle for control and power with your parents. The times when you had to have that special toy or desire for one on one time with your favorite relative in your preferred hobby or activity. At what point did you relax and realize that you could have more fun when you trusted adults, accepted boundaries and structure and didn’t let the little things in life get to you, learning that life didn’t necessarily revolve solely around you?
I propose that until we are fully happy with ourselves, we will struggle with our place in the world- and probably angle for our own selfish needs at the expense of others.
Without going into super detail, let’s just say that we had an extensive discussion with our daughters over the weekend of expectations when they would be shopping early in the week with grandparents. They know what we approve and disapprove of. Usually if there is a questionable purchase, one or both will call us and discover if it’s worthwhile or the item will be confiscated upon entering the home.
My first clue that something was up should have been the pleasant moods on both children a half hour before weekly therapy. The good mood continued even afterward, until they spoke with my wife in person about their purchases. First guilt, then shame, then anger all came to a head. They let their impulses overpower our rules. They proudly showed their purchases- never expecting a stern response.
I explained to my wife that at least the children are consistent when given free reign with shopping with new people for the first time. No matter what we’ve said, they ignore the rules and go for their long-desired instinctive purchases (be it tight jeans, fake nails, or makeup). She wonders why they do it in the first place- I explain that we wouldn’t have it any other way. We always attract in our lives what we most desire. If both of our daughters are told not to purchase something- it doesn’t matter the logical reasons behind it, their emotions hear the no as a yes- a sign of sticking it to us and asserting their individual freedom.
In the grand scheme of things as pre-teens and teens, they could be squandering their money on worse purchases. We only wonder if they will grow into a mindset of thoughtful purchases versus impulsively acting out when given extra luxury money in their lives.
I gave both of my daughters extra hugs today. I let them know that I still love them and in the end, they didn’t make the best decisions with their purchases today. I want them to realize though that the next time, the rules may be written down in black and white- so it’s better to play within the confines of what you can do rather than always trying to make your own way through the maze of life. I hope for happiness, confidence and the ability to gain self-reliance.
I guess I had an internal voice checking in with me, worrying if my parents would like or dislike my thought process when it came to my purchasing power. I wonder when that voice will carry on through my children. Probably when their heads and hearts are full- when they weigh the consequences with the outcomes- and when they have a better understanding of themselves.