Teaching Generosity to a Child Who Wants Everything 

This week I am so excited to have a special guest blogger on Chasing Supermom. Her name is Lindsey Bell, and she is the author of the blogs, www.lindsey-bell.com and www.livingwholeagain.blogspot.com. (I highly suggest you check out her work!) I have found healing and comfort in her Living Whole Again blog, where she writes about life after a miscarriage. I love that more moms are willing to share their story. She also writes an all-encompassing “mom” blog over at her Lindsey Bell blog….lots of good stuff to share with you! Today she is writing about teaching children generosity…especially when they want EVERYTHING. This post is perfectly timed with the upcoming holidays! Thanks so much to Lindsey for writing for us this week!!

A few weeks ago, I asked my almost three-year-old son what he wanted for Christmas. His response: “A candy cane, Mommy. I want a candy cane.” I should have left it at that.

But naïve mother that I am, I pressured him for more. “No, Rylan, what toys do you want? Like, do you want a bicycle? Or some new cars? Or a Thomas the Train? What toys do you want for Christmas?” My suggestions must have sparked his imagination, because from that day forward, his Christmas list grew.

His most recent one included a set of golf clubs, an Ipad and an Iphone. Yep, my three-year-old son wants a phone. His ever-growing Christmas list got me thinking, What can I do to teach him about generosity? When he thinks he needs a phone (an expensive phone, at that), how can I teach him about the joy of giving?

Here are a few suggestions I’ve come up with:

1. Learn to say no. As parents, if we give in to our child’s every desire, we’re teaching him that life revolves around him. Of course we want to supply him with everything his little heart desires. But sometimes, it’s better to say no than to create a selfish child who feels entitled to every new toy that sits on the shelf.

2. Make sure your kids see you giving to others. After all, where will they learn to give if you’re not teaching them?

3. Help your child split his money three ways: savings, spending, and giving. For more information about teaching your child to budget, I recommend
Dave Ramsey’s website.

4. Encourage your child to give away something. Nothing better than practice, right?

5. Teach your children to say “thank you” and write thank you cards.

6. Read books and watch movies about generosity. One great book is
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. My son also loves the Boz the Bear books.

7. Don’t reward selfishness. When your child throws a fit because he can’t have something, don’t give in.

8. Praise your children when they give to others, especially when they do so without your leading.

9. Spend time daily thanking the Lord for what he has given you. Every night as you tuck your child into bed, ask him to share at least one thing for which he is thankful.

10. Serve those who are less fortunate. Help at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Support a child through Compassion International. Participate in Operation Christmas Child. Ask a local school if you could provide anonymous Christmas presents to a low-income family.

Children can be selfish, sure, but they can also be generous. Sometimes they just need a little coaching from us. Or maybe, as in my case, they just need Mom to stop pressuring them to develop a Christmas list.

Biographical Information:

Lindsey Bell is a non-fiction author, stay-at-home mother to two wonderful little boys, wife, and blogger. You can find her online at any of the following locations:

Her blogs: www.lindsey-bell.com and www.livingwholeagain.blogspot.com

Twitter: LindseyMBell

Facebook: Lindsey Bell

P.S. I’m holding a giveaway at my blog. Skip on over there before December 12th for a chance to enter!