Monday, November 28, 2011

I Ration My Son, Do You?

We are not super rich people. But we are still pretty much blessed materially.

One issue I have been battling with inside is rationing my son.

He likes doodling, so I provide scratch paper. I even make a visit to my former office to ask for a bound set of scratch paper which we use for drawing, doodling, painting, and making paper planes with. Even cutting. I'd seldom give him a clean sheet... even if we can afford to buy reams of paper.

And I also give him, say, 2 pages to paint on at a time.

For his coloring books... I rip a page and get him to color that page, not let him have his way with the entire coloring book. If I did, I knew he'd just swipe his crayons on each page... and then refuse to color that page again in the future.

When he's painting, I use a palette and we put paints there, and that's it for his painting session. I made the mistake before of buying the cheapie sets where every color is in the container and he'd only pour water on all the colors. So, I bought the more expensive tubed paints and just give him enough for a painting session (around 5 colors max at a time).

I don't put out all the toys given to him nor do I let him open everything. I actually feel I should work on this more because he still has over 20 toys out right now, and that's way too many toys for a child to really appreciate. He has over 24 tubs of play dough, but he can only play with 5-6 colors at a time... so the rest are still unopened, waiting their turn. And when he doesn't pack his toys away or are scattering them, they are put on timeout.

Makes one think sometimes, what's the purpose of a toy if it cannot be played with, right? But, how else do I teach him about treating things right and valuing the gift/love/work that was behind the toy?

And then let's go to food.

Do you know, I sometimes have to kick the hubs (lightly) to remind him not to give our son his share of Oreo? And that I only buy the single-serve packs... or that one roll which we have to stretch for at least two days? Yes, we do allow Yakee sometimes to have 3 cookies while we only get 1 or 2 each... but I insist that he really only has 3. Even if we can afford to let him have that entire roll. Not healthy though, and I don't mean physically.

When we have pizza, Yakee also only likes the pineapples and we do give him most of our share... but I also remind everyone not to give him all, or worse, let him eat up all the pineapples. I also insist that he eat an entire pizza, not just the pineapples. I remind him others also want the pineapples. Or the shrimps. Or the eggs.

Sometimes, I think I am mean. I've had a lifetime of 30+ years to eat pineapples... why not give all of mine to my son? Hubs thinks the same and it literally hurts him to deny his child 'more' of any food.

But... I have this great fear. I don't want to raise kids with an unrealistic notion of entitlement. It's our job to provide for them, but I want them to grow with the idea that it's their job to be careful, prudent and appreciative of what we provide.

I don't want my son to think that he can get all the pineapples and that it's okay (unless it's his own pizza). I want him to learn to eat something he doesn't like so much to get something he likes a lot. I don't want to set him up for a limitless expectation of resources without understanding yet how much work goes into providing those things... I don't want him to grow up thinking that just because he can pay for something means he also need not think of the implications (like wasted paper and trees... wasted water and well, water... wasted food and starving kids elsewhere... broken toys and wasted time and energy his father spent working, away from us).

So, yeah. When we're in the mall and my son asks me to buy something... I MAY allow it if it's food or a book, but definitely not a toy. Even if he says, "pretty please." Even if we can afford it. Even if it's only P25. Even if it's really cute.

And he can only put a maximum of two treats in the grocery cart (I don't count yogurt milk and Yakult as treat since, though it's processed stuff, it helps him poop, hehe), which is usually cookies (Ben 10 or Oreo) and Yan-Yan. That's okay since we only grocery shop once a month.

I set limits. I ration. I have learned not to feel bad about it, even if I do wonder sometimes if I am right... but the more important thing is, my heart is in the right place.

An overabundance of material things never really did anyone good... and an abundance of love includes tough love.


I just thank God that Yakee has learned to accept most of his limits. He will test them at times but generally, he knows "enough" means "enough." I also like that he trusts us when we sya there's plenty for another day.


❤ Misty ❤ said...

This is fantastic & well said! I often feel "mean" for not giving in the way I see others do. I don't feel just because I can do it, means I should do it & I want my kids to know that too! Bravo to you for putting your kid first.

shinyhappy said...

i do the same, mec. it's our duty as parents to teach our kids, and rationing is a way to teach them self control, avoiding waste, it's teaching them to save, teaching them that sometimes delaying gratification is good especially if the reward is something they really, really want. it's teaching them not to be spoiled brats, spoiled people who think only of themselves and what they want. it's teaching kids to be considerate of others, reminding them that the world consists of other people who have feelings, just like them. glad you're still blogging, mec.

shinyhappy said...

btw i shared this entry on my fb. i can't get over how we ration the same things. like paper. and coloring books (i rip them too, one at a time...pag isang swipe lang, pinapagamit ko ulit, sayang eh) kids have dough but only the older one can play with it, and only if she uses it properly and remembers to put it away after playing (not smudge it on the carpet!) or the dough goes away for several months again. as for using palette paint, do the same thing because my older one did the same thing as yours when she was little. as for food, i will feed them until they're full but i will always insist that a piece or two is saved for whoever is not there yet (like dad), and i try to give food just one at a time, make sure they finish each bit first, before giving more. kasi otherwise sayang, andaming matatapon na food. anyway, don't publish this anymore kasi parang ang haba. LOL. naaliw lang ako sa post mo kasi andaming pareho sa practice ko.

DearSophiaMarie said...

Good read Mec. I haven't really decided on my parenting style but this is one I know I need to factor on. May I link this?

Mec said...

Donna.... you will learn as you go, because you will consider Sophia's personality, learning styles, etc.

But I swear talaga, I don't want to raise feeling-entitled kids who won't work for their keep... and I don't just mean materially.