The brat is fast becoming a material kid, and no one is to blame but me. Therefore when this email bulletin came in from Parent Center, I read through it avidly. I'm so in agreement of what it says, and I've realised I do follow most of the tips it recommends.
The brat is encouraged to give. Every couple of months, I sit with him and churn out the clothes and books he has outgrown, the toys he no longer plays with or which he has broken in some way, but are still usable, or crayons, sketchpens, pencils which are half used and which he does not use for whatever reason and sort them into sections. One part goes to the maid's son, because the child needs it. Some of the clothes and books and go to the pavement school children. He accompanies mamma to mamma's pavement schools and meets the children, he knows their names and he does feel awful that they sit on the road to study, even in the rains at times. And asks me why they dont have school bags and bring their books in plastic bags, and has graciously offered to have two of his old school bags given away. And he knows that for every new thing he buys, one old thing will be given away by Cruella de Ville mamma, and he has to tell me what needs to be given away before he can expect something new.
He is also on a budget. A new impulse buy toy is only within Rs 100. And he only gets one at a time. And therefore going shopping with Mamma is so not a prospect to be looked forward to. Pappa is a better opportunity to be milked. Pappa can be guilt tripped very easily. Beneath that gruff exterior lies a spendthrift of the worst order, whose reflex to empty out his wallet is easily triggered by spawn of his sperm gathering unto himself half the toyshelves and looking weepy and mournful at the thought of abandoning any of his spoils. He does know that he gets his choice of toys and clothes only during his birthday.
He also does know that if mamma tells him something is expensive and she cannot buy it for him, it is no use pushing the issue. He can roll on the floor all he wants, he can pound his chest, throw hopping tantrums but nothing will come of it. He now walks into small toy shops and asks the salespersons "Hundred rupees mein kya hain?" And knows that this is a treat he has to earn by either doing his classwork well, polishing his plate without dwaddling on it till lifeforms start sprouting on the contents, or being well behaved, the ways of which are multifarious and the decision to award a prize for good behavious resting with the jurisdiction of the mamma. Its hard work for him to convince mamma he's deserving of a good behaviour prize. And that not swatting a friend who refuses to play Power Rangers with him is not exactly grounds for a good behaviour prize.
He knows now that he cannot have a toy just like that. And treats are rare. He has to learn to look forward to them. A Happy Meal is probably once a month now. And eating out at a place of his choice is once in a couple of weeks.
Areas mamma really needs to work on are reduction of television viewing.The commercials are what are working on the child's mind making him believe that one more game of tumbling monkeys are just what is required to make his life perfect.
Mamma needs him to get to use his Power Ranger piggy bank for purposes other than storing dinky cars. Mamma really needs to work on him saving money and collecting enough to buy himself what he wants so he can value it. And working to earn the money he can drop into the piggy bank.
And most of all, Mamma needs to rein in her own spendthrift nature and remember that she really doesnt need one more pair of shoes, or another handbag, no matter how darling it is. Unless she sets a good example herself, how can she expect the brat to follow suit.
What the brat does get from mamma and pappa is lot of time and attention. Surely, that should be worth more than all the material possessions they could ever give him.
Mamma also tries hard to point out to him the luxuries he takes for granted, the cars, the school, the food on his plate. The brat has often been generous enough to offer the veggies on his plate to the hypothetical poor and starving. That doesnt cut any ice with Cruella de Ville Mamma. He is told that he has to clean his plate or be denied whatever treat he is expecting in terms of dessert. Throwing away food is not a good idea in the house of this mamma. Never mind if some adults within the house believe in junking left overs. Mamma, when she can, doggy bags them and hands them out at traffic signals to the beggars. The brat knows that there are people who are hungry and dont have the luxury of choice, either in food or clothes, toys being a far cry. Mamma is trying hard to encourage sensitivity towards the poor and deprived in the brat, but knows she has miles to go before that happens.
How do you inculcate thrift and value for things in your children? Do let me know. I could do with some simple and effective tips.