By Jodie Lynn
What is a good way to teach my six-year-old daughter that regardless of what her dad buys her, she cannot have everything she asks from me? We are divorced and he is playing the poor little "no one loves me" ex-husband scenario. He says that buying her whatever she wants is his way of trying to be sure that she knows he loves her. I am a single mom who does not want a spoiled little diva on my hands.
ANSWER FROM READER:
My ex-husband did the same thing with buying way too much for our twin boys. Much of it was extra sport paraphernalia. At first, I thought it was cool, then, when he would go out of town for two to three weeks, they would actually miss that instant gratification of receiving something new and I just could not afford it. They couldn't accept that I couldn't get them every little thing that they wanted and it made for a lot of resentment towards me. Once they got older, they understood more about material things, especially after their dad remarried and their step-mom had two boys of her own. Now, they are both married with kids and work hard at not splurging on everything that comes out for the kids and try their best to keep things in check and surprise them for special occasions, like birthdays or holidays. Be consistent in your rules with your daughter and hopefully she will get it sooner or later as she matures. - Jessie R. in Baton Rouge, LA
Parents will sometimes go a little haywire in the spending and spoiling department pertaining to the kids after a divorce. There's tons of reasons to do so, at least in their minds. Frequently, it is the parent who has done something to cause the divorce in the first place and feels guilty about tearing the family unit apart. Buying material items for the kids is supposed to lessen the guilt that they may be consumed with and also ensues that their love for their children is emphasized and represented. This is especially commonplace if the parent travels. Try talking to your ex-husband about how he is creating a monster, not only for you, but also for himself. Remind him that things will get much more expensive as your daughter gets older. Although he may just blow you off, at least you can try to come to some type of agreement. On the other hand, while she is a tad young to try to go into too much detail about the situation, you'll just have to continue to be strong and patient while standing your ground. It won't be an easy task, but hopefully she'll appreciate all that you do for her once she is old enough to truly understand.
CAN YOU HELP?
Every year during the holiday season I run around like a mad person. I've tried to relax and not worry about things but it just doesn't work. What are some down-to-earth suggestions that can help me not be so uptight during the time when we're supposed to be happy and grateful?
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