Parenting Tip: Want vs Need

Each week I contemplate the subject matter (the theme) that I feel is the most relevant and helpful to the parents reading my blogs.  This is a sensitive subject; it’s one that I see parents struggle with.  Parents of children at any/all ages.

Let’s Start Here

If I ask you “what do you want” what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Now, take a minute and answer this question “do you need it?”  Likely you don’t, it’s something you “want” but you don’t “need” it.  Ultimately, we all NEED:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Water
  • Shelter

Parents today feel challenged to make sure their kids have everything they want; from the time they’re old enough to ask to (sadly) an age they are too old to be asking!  What I hear most commonly is this “I want my kids to have more or better than I did.”  That’s okay, I understand that, but be wise with your approach.  By giving them more and better and failing to teach them how to earn, achieve and accomplish you will create entitlement.

I’m giving you permission to stop!

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

The epidemic of 24-year-old’s living in their parent’s basement playing video games or doing nothing at all are a direct result of this.  They don’t “want” to work.  Would you agree they “need” to?  It’s not uncommon for a parent to call me to make an appointment for their grown son.  Why is that, because he didn’t “want to!”  I tell that parent “he needs to,” especially if he’s 18+ years of age, it’s his responsibility!

Giving a child everything, he wants versus focusing on providing what he needs (food, water, clothing and shelter) sets him up for a very tumultuous adulthood.   There is a distinct difference between the two and it’s beneficial to you, and your child, that you begin to ask yourself “is this a want or a need!”

Stop!  Reevaluate!

My challenge to every parent reading this is to stop and reevaluate and remember when you have a child you have a responsibility to raise that child to become an adult, one that can contribute and thrive as he exits your home (an exit plan) into the world on his own.  Versus depending and relying on you or others for the rest of his life.  I know that isn’t your goal.

I think this goes without saying, there are always times when you’re giving your child something he wants.  Special occasions are a perfect example of that.  What I am addressing here is this, every day you should understand your responsibility as a parent is to mentor and raise your child to be an accountable and healthy adult.  Those lessons are learned by teaching what is needed in life and working toward getting what you want is a bonus.