It’s the day after Halloween. Do you hide the bowl of candy (to avoid tantrums), or do you keep it within your child’s view (and set limits on when and how much candy may be eaten)?
Is it kind or cruel to expose your child to something that he can’t have (or must wait to have)? Do you consider the temptations of life to be teachers or torturers? This is a profound question that resonates in various forms throughout life. The things that tempt and entice a child, also give parents the opportunity to teach their children about the delay of gratification and the value and satisfaction of working toward a goal. How? Through the use of strong emotional parent-child attachment, firm limits for negative behavior, and opportunities for achieving goals through “Yes-When” deals with proper support and encouragement.
If your child is “indulged” and not required to earn privileges, he learns to be demanding, impulsive, entitled, and “spoiled.” But if your child achieves his goal and earns the privilege, if he resists and therefore does not get “his way,” or if he is kindly educated about why something is not allowed, then both the child and his parents “win” and have learned something of value. Did you ever realize what a great teacher a bowl of candy could be?