What to do when you feel like you can't do enough for your children?
Please tell me some of you have felt bad when your children wanted to do or get things that are out of your budget! I'm having a horrible day because normally the week of my birthday we take our children on vacation. That isn't an option this year and I feel horrible because my children are upset. What do you do to both reassure the children and help the feeling of thinking I'm failing my children?
We went through some very lean and hard times when the kids were young. I was shocked to learn that, looking back, they never felt we were "poor." We managed to do a lot of fun things, spend a lot of family times together, just on a daily basis. We made up a lot of games and toys, etc. And most importantly, we always gave what we could, even if just a coin or two, to a homeless person; this helped the kids realize that there is always someone less fortunate and to feel grateful for what we had.
I never liked to withhold treats from the kids if I could afford it. So when I showed them my wallet and that there was nothing left. They would stop asking for something. Oh, well. Next time.
When you open your family finances to the kids, they see the reality and feel like a part of the family team. When they know you feel badly about not being able to provide something, they rally around. "Don't worry, mom. We don't need that." They might want to chip in. "We can save bottles and cans."
I'd tap their creativity and ingenuity to see if they can come up with fun alternative "stay-cations" (vacation at home). Where would they have liked to go? Italy? Learn a few words in Italian. Cook up some authentic Italian foods. Make their own pizzas. Play Italian music. Show them Italy on a map. Watch a foreign film with subtitles. See a travelogue.
Go camping in the backyard. Drive up a mountain or hillside to see the stars. Have friends spend the night. Host a barbecue with games or a talent contest.
You aren't failing your children because you can't go on a vacation this year. You might be failing them if you don't allow them to expand their perspective on life. Believe me, vacations are a privilege. If they only knew what most children around the world must endure, they would feel grateful for living in a safe place of abundance where they have clean water and food...and a mother's love.
Thank you. I guess we've just had a rough year and I feel not being able to take them is adding "insult to injury". It's hard to make them understand what other parts of the world go through.
Carefully choose some foreign films. That helped my kids get exposed to other cultures. There was one in particular that was helpful. A Korean film called, "The Way Home." I highly recommend it. But there are lots of others. My kids loved them.
I have thought my kids to not put too much emphasis on "possessions". There is times when we cannot afford "things", but if they get what they want, there will always be something more. Teach them to work hard and that when you work hard, nothing is out of their reach.
I haven't been on vacation in 5 years. My kids have everything they "need" and some things they "Want". But at any age it is good for them to learn that you provide for them, have made your life around them and sacrifice many things gladly for them to put food on the table. If they understand, then they will get it. Don't ever feel bad about these "Things"! Let them know that if they want extra's it's very important to work for those things and start saving some pennies Make it fun and make it a goal. Then they are learning, they will understand, you are teaching, bonding and parenting too
Possessions haven't been much of a big deal, but they wait all year for this trip. In this year I have definitely started teaching the oldest to about savings. Important lesson. Thank you.
Well, I work my butt off, am over educated, own a house but have no cable or cell phone and shop around for deals, but I seriously have never had a family vacation with my wife and kids. It builds character for them to see that sometimes, it happens.
Ah, this feeling is tough.
At the end of the day, you are and can do enough for them. They're so lucky to have you but just don't realise it, one day, they will, but, chances are, you won't be around at that time, it depends how good they are at realising things.
Your children don't need holidays to know you love them with all your hearts, they know you do even though a holiday would be nice, they need to face the fact they can't have everything. Mothers do everything they can and that's enough for children.
peeples.....First of all, I wish you a very "Happy Birthday!"
Oh brother, can I ever relate to this. So much so, young Mom, it still gives me an ache in my heart, decades later.
Well, THAT and a whole lot of other things I dealt with while raising my sons.....but we won't go there now.
One unpleasant issue at a time. The reality is that parents are human & not almighty, immortal nor infallible. But YES, we damned sure try to be....and beat up on ourselves when we can't perform those miracles for the most precious people in our life.
The thing is (and PLEASE believe me on this!)....it is a bona-fide fact that what children want most of all, at all times.....is 1) Mom & Dad 2) their attention & love 3.) being with "family" having fun, enjoying activity, laughter, hugs and special moments. 4) feeling understood, validated and safe.
All of these things are not only free, but can be given so naturally. Because you and your husband are young, energetic and imaginative, there are any number of scenarios you can create to have a special happy & memorable "vacation week" as a family w/o the heavy expense of all that is involved with traveling away from home.
Hundreds of ideas are going through my mind right now.....but I don't know your family preferences nor the ages of your kids.
One suggestion I will share though is that all of you have a family meeting to actually plan your week together. (It cannot hurt for you & Dad to explain to the kids that the finances are as they are & maybe even why...but it doesn't mean you aren't going to have a really special Fun Week together.)
Make a chart and plan each day.....eg. Beach/Swim Day......Picnic/Hike Day.......lunch & Movie or Miniature golf or Bowling ....you get the gist, Mom. In letting the kids help plan, they'll be even more excited.
I promise you, peeples, we parents "feel" much worse over things like this than our children do. We do this to ourselves...and I don't think we need to defend ourselves or apologize for feeling badly....We just need to take control and do the very best we can do when and how we can do it. Things always work out well when you're heart is in it. Have FUN!!
Thanks. I've excused myself twice today to go cry in the bathroom because I SO hate not being able to give them something they look so forward to. Bowling sounds fun.
I understand the crying.....and if it helps relieve your stress & frustration, it's OK to cry. Soon smiles will replace the tears. "This TOO, shall pass." Honest.
Maybe make it fun anyway. Tell them that you appreciate all they've been through this year with you and that you admire their strength and compassion. Then, maybe since you can't "travel travel". Get some good DVD's or watch some documentaries about places you'd like to visit someday. If you don't want the travel theme, let the kids pick movies and make a couple of batches of popcorn and make it a movie night where the whole family camps out on the living room floor together. Or, my kids and I enjoy simple things like board games together. There are things you can do that will still be fun, different and exciting. Not sure where you live, but maybe a day trip? I know a lot of the State and National parks are free to visit and they usually have picnic areas, camp grounds, hiking trails - You can make a day of it cheaply and it's still like a getaway. Take a frisbee or some of those huge bubble wands or whatever else you can think of to play games etc.
We love the state parks, but since there are 3 in a 20 minute radius we go very often just because of how cheap and fun it is. I am taking them to one tomorrow though and taking a picnic, hopefully that will ease some of their disappointment. Thanks!
Happy Birthday to you first of all.
Being open with the kids is a good way to start.
But instead of going on pricy vacation how about take a short road trip. Go hiking/camping or treat your kids to some activity that they like.
But bottomline there is always something out there that will be out of reach by your budget
You didn't say how old your children are, but children often take their cue from their parents. If you act like it's no big deal, they will too. If you mope around and feel guilty and miserable because of a situation you can't change, your kids will too.
Get your children together and plan some fun things you're going to do around home, or locally. Or even 20-50 miles away. Have a stay-cation. Visit some museums, and/or nearby theme parks, and/or learn a new skill. Visit a working dairy farm if there's one nearby and willing to guest your family. Be courageous and do something most, or all of you, have never done before. Be creative and think of cool things you can do right where you are. Do some or all of these different things and have a new adventure to look forward to every day.
You could end up having so much fun that everyone will want to make it an annual event. Most importantly, accept your situation with grace and make the best of it and your children will do the same. Then you will all have learned how to weather life's ups and downs a little bit better. That is a skill that will serve you and your children well all of your lives, because there are no guarantees in this world. Change is always just around the corner, and you never know for sure when and what it will bring until it's there. This is true for all living things.
Once you've made up your mind to make your stay-vacation a fun and interesting experience by planning cool things to do for an entire week (or 2) with your whole family, write an article about it so other people can benefit from your ingenuity, courage and creative ability. Let us know all the new and fantastic things you and your family did on your stay-cation instead of spending the time moping around. Look at it as research for a new hub and let the kids know they will be helping by trying all these new things and seeing what they think so you can report it all back to the rest of us hubbers -- and the world.
Parents always want to provide the best for their children. No matter, in which class they belong to . I can feel the bleeding of your heart as a mother. But I think it is you who can change the whole scenario of your home. You can make your children as happy as anything. I do not believe that money can buy happiness. So why don't you do something special for your children that will surprise them. Just arrange a candlelit dinner at home and tell the children to help you in preparing the food. Let them decorate the house for you. They can make a yummy cake for you. Make them feel that they can make your day special by doing such trivial things. These little efforts of your lit'l ones will make them proud of themselves. And don't forget to give them a big hug in return.
All the best wishes for you, Peeples.
My son is 9 years old and he is also very demanding. First I try to give him the things that he wanted. But, now his demands became much bigger and expensive too. Now, I don’t fulfill his demands and try to not to listen to his naggings. I do this purposely and also I am noticing a change in his behavior due to this.
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