"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." -- Cicero
Today I was struck face first by the fact that my children are brats. Yep, I said it! They are ungrateful brats; always complaining about something. It doesn't matter what I do to please them, it's just never good enough.
For example: At lunch time today, my middle boy (L) wasn't happy in the least bit. First, he began by complaining about his sandwich bread. Apparently it wasn't to his liking. Next, he began whining because he decided he didn't like peanut butter and jelly (he'll like it again tomorrow). Then, he got angry because I put his sandwich on a paper towel instead of his beloved Santa plate that his grandparents bought him. (I refuse to unnecessarily dirty dishes.) After that, he started crying because I told him he either eats what I make him or he doesn't eat. I left his sandwich on the counter.... he wanted me to carry it to the table for him. After 20 minutes of screaming, L finally settled at the table with his sandwich. Right before he took his first bite, he noticed that his glass was empty and preceded to demand more. By then, I'd had enough. I took his food and sent him to his room.
I've noticed a definite increase in their behavior over the last month... not in a good way.
My heart is broken... where did I go wrong?
What have I done to deserve such rude and ungrateful boys? My husband and I don't allow this attitude; it's just not tolerated. The boys know this. We have taught them how to use their manners and we are always looking for opportunities to teach them how blessed they are. We don't shower them in materialistic stuff or give them everything they want. They have to earn the things they want with good behavior. My oldest has also started receiving a small weekly allowance for doing chores.
So... where is this coming from?
I can't say that I am totally shocked... there are some people in my childrens' lives that allow the behavior to happen without punishment when they are with them. I would have thought though that the lessons we have tried to instill in them would act like a buffer. I know they will most certainly try to get away with it at times (they are kids after all), but I never thought they would push full force... especially at home. I never thought it would be like this. I feel like I've failed as a parent in raising them to be kind, well-mannered boys. I desperately want them to grow to be good men. When I think about the kind of men I want my boys to be, Andy Griffith from the little town of Mayberry pops into my head.
Brats or not... they are my boys and I love them. I take full responsibility for them. I pray though that we will be able to move past this really, really soon.
.... that this too shall pass.
Peanut butter and jelly photo via Shutterstock.
More from parenting