Your child may say: “More!” after they have already received five birthday gifts. They may want to continue playing video games and resist taking a bath or go to bed after they have already played for a long time. They may want another ice cream after they have already had plenty. Perhaps you recognize this behavior from your child, and you experience it as ungrateful, greedy or just plain frustrating.
What your child is trying to express is: “I got so many nice gifts and it gave me such a nice feeling, I would like to experience that feeling a little bit longer.” In other words: The more gifts I receive, the longer I feel pleasant inside. The child simply communicates about this wish.
These situations often go wrong between parents and children if the parent interprets this wish as:
- “She means that I am a bad parent who doesn’t provide her with enough gifts.”
- “I am trying so hard, but for this spoiled child it never seems enough!”
- “When will this child ever be grateful for what he has and what we do for him!”
This is not about you, don’t take it personally. This is about a good feeling and a wish of your child. It is much more effective if you listen and acknowledge the feeling, wishes and desires:
- “All those gifts feel so good, don’t they!" / “That ice cream is so delicious!” / "you seriously love playing Fortnite together with your friends!”
- “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could unwrap another 100 more gifts” / “you could eat the whole jar of ice-cream” / "play Fortnite all day every day."
- "I wish I could give it to you, and I am not willing to extend screen time."
- "I sure wish I could give you all the ice-cream in the world however I am not buying another ice cream right now."
- "It's a bummer I don't have the time and energy to play longer. I feel tired and need to get other stuff done. I am choosing not to play anymore now. I’ll play more with you tomorrow evening."
Easier said then done? Let us help! Sign up for Parent Effectiveness Training!