Children are notorious for using "need" and "want" interchangeably: "Mom, I neeeeeeeeeeeed this American Girl doll/new baseball mitt/to see Deadpool/fill in the blank!" But they're not alone. Parents are just as guilty of blurring this line, especially when it comes to what we think our children need.
As parents, we're often so filled with love and pride for our children we want to give them the world. Our hearts break at their disappointment and soar with their joy. We want to meet their heart's every desire, often before their hearts even have a chance to desire what we're offering.
As well-intended as we may be, however, there are plenty of things kids want that they just don't need. While most aren't harmful in and of themselves, it's the expectations we set that can set them up for disappointment — and worse — later in life, when things don't always go their way, when there's not a special treat or brightly covered surprise around every bend. When our efforts to give our children everything go too far, we may actually do more harm than good. Studies have shown that overvalued children are more likely to develop narcissistic traits, which can lead to aggression and other issues.
Not only that, but we stress ourselves out trying to always do more and more for them, to anticipate their needs and make every event Facebook-post perfect, when really less would be best. All that hovering and smothering — even though fueled by love — leaves us exhausted and them with just too much in so many ways. While the line isn't always black and white, and there's no harm in giving our children some of these things sometimes, here are 35 things kids definitely don't need.
1. A snack after every soccer game
2. A snack every single time they get in the car
3. An Elf on the Shelf
4. A trophy just for showing up
5. Constant praise for every little thing they do
6. Sandwiches cut into intricate shapes and handmade, organic cheese from the milk of the cow you're grass-feeding in your backyard
7. Their own bedroom
8. A reward for every visit to the doctor, good grade or time they help out around the house
9. A balloon at the bank
10. A cookie at the grocery store
11. To have you always take their side even when they're wrong
12. A Pottery-Barn-esque playroom full of toys
13. The newest electronic gadgets
14. Elaborate birthday parties
15. Constant play dates and a slew of activities
16. Fancy, designer clothing
17. A bath or shower every day
18. Hand sanitizer every three seconds
19. Your attention every single time you're on the phone or in the restroom
20. A TV in their room
21. Goodie bags at parties
22. For someone to tell them what a "boy" toy or "girl" toy is
23. To win every game they play with you
24. For you to do their homework and projects for them
25. For you to speak for them when they're perfectly capable of doing so themselves
26. Pressure to run with the cool kids
27. Private sports coaches and travel teams that consume every minute of their free time
28. Elaborate vacations
29. To celebrate their half-birthdays
30. Total privacy (especially when it comes to their social media)
31. Pinterest-perfect holidays
32. An answer for everything
33. Pressure to always be the best
34. Perfect parents
35. Everything they want
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