All of the credit goes to my wife who has always put on the brakes at any activity that desensitizes the tender mind of a young one.
We don’t go to fast food often to begin with, but the times we’ve gone, we’ve always shared adult combos with our children in a way that’s more economical than everyone having their own individual Happy Meal. The benefits we have derived from this, in no particular order are:
- They’ve learned (or been forced) to share at a moment when the selfish motives are often the strongest (any time food is involved)
- They’ve saved the family a lot of money over the years
- We’ve managed to curb the tendencies (at least a little) to be individualistic
- Has made ordering for a family a lot simpler (only one parent can order for everyone), rather than asking each individual what it is they would like
- Finally, my favourite one, we’re able to use a Happy Meal as a very significant reward for a job well done
I know of a lot of families that struggle with motivating young ones, especially in a generation where they have all of their wishes and desires catered to them on a silver platter. In the western world, there’s no shortage of material blessings, even to those relatively poor. In the early years, there are thrift shops that provide endless toys, often for pennies a piece. The abundance of used items on classified listings such as Kijiji makes almost anything accessible to any economic group (in developed countries, anyway).
The net result, however, appears to be having an effect of promoting attitudes of entitlement. Working hard for a specific goal becomes something that they just can’t be bothered with.
I’m being challenged and continue to learn every day about how to parent better, but today I found encouragement in my wife’s noble “desensitization avoidance” tactics, and my eight-year-old managed to complete a very challenging task in record time as the reward would be a Happy Meal. That wouldn’t have worked if a Happy Meal were a regular occurrence.