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Character Building Strategies for my Future Children

February 11, 2011

Calvin and Hobbes

A few weeks ago I offered up seven things I, an unmarried lass, have learned about marriage through the years. Today, I thought I’d share a few parenting tips I plan on implementing when I have rugrats of my own. Feel free to use some of these with your own offspring.

Everyone wants to learn patience, but then hates to discover that patience only comes from actually being put in situations that call for it. I plan on orchestrating these moments on gift-giving holidays and birthdays. My children will rip off the wrapping paper, only to find that the gift has been encased in heavy-duty plastic packaging that is usually reserved for electronics. Sure, it will take three hours to open four gifts, but just think about how much more they’ll appreciate that pair of argyle socks because they really had to work for it.

Every once in a while when a staff member did something stupid at summer camp, the other staff members would gather around them, point, and say “You, you, you, you, you…” over and over until their stupidity had fully sunk in. This is awesome. Whenever my child disobeys me or harasses their sibling, we’ll gather as a family to remind them of their mistake. The bonus lesson will be an all-encompassing fear of being the center of attention.

You know how frustrating it is when you can’t find your favorite sweatshirt or your car keys? Then you find the lost object and you are all the more grateful for it. What better way to teach gratitude than to randomly steal my child’s favorite toys, have them freak out, and then replace the lost toy in due time. Afterward, we can all gather round and talk about our feelings of frustration and how we’ll never find happiness in things like blankies or Barbie dolls. I’d say a lesson in not becoming attached to material possessions is a good lesson to start teaching at two years old. That’s not too young is it? Too old?

Work Ethic:
Kids these days lack a good work ethic. Or so I’ve heard. I don’t really have any idea, but I’m guessing their lives are too full of texting to have time to do chores. In order to teach my children that they have to work for what they need and want, I’ll just hide their food around the house. You want Spaghettios for lunch? Go find a can of it hidden around the house. It’s like modern-day harvesting. You have to work for the food to get the food. You want pancakes instead of cold cereal? Go find the bottle of Maple syrup I hid among the trees in the back yard.

Any more tips to add to this already stellar list?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Daniel Strayer permalink
    February 11, 2011 9:41 pm

    Why not gift wrap (Gifts) wild game and let your kids kill their food (work ethic)? I bet they would be rather gracious after all of that (Gratitude). Even if they didn’t kill said wild game, you as the parents could star the chorus of chanting while your little one starved (Discipline).

    • dtdorrin permalink*
      February 12, 2011 2:25 am

      Good call! I’m making a note of this to implement when my kids are older. Giving them a live, wrapped animal to hunt might have to wait until they’re a pre-teen.

  2. Lala permalink
    February 12, 2011 6:47 am

    Wow hope you never have kids. I love how people with NO kids like to dole out advice.

    • February 12, 2011 10:44 am

      I love how people with no tact or any desire to be constructive like to dole out criticism.

    • Heather Coates permalink
      February 12, 2011 12:37 pm

      You DID see the tag where it said ‘Just Kidding!’ and ‘Nonsense’, right?

  3. Heather Coates permalink
    February 12, 2011 12:38 pm

    You know what else would work? Self-sustainability goes hand in hand with gratefulness when they ask for those $7,000 designer jeans and you hand them a spool of thread and some knitting needles. They can learn to make things for themselves AND be happy about it!

    • dtdorrin permalink*
      February 12, 2011 1:13 pm

      Good call! And being able to make your own clothes always comes in handy so they can also alter store-bought clothes to fit better. 🙂

  4. 10Kan permalink
    February 14, 2011 10:51 am

    We need a whole new category for this kind of bold, forward-thinking parenting. It makes being a Tiger Mom look wimpy. You can be a Dragon Mom or something.

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