Not all kids are the same, and neither should they be categorized the same.
It is hard for some parents to talk about one of their children and not the others without feeling guilty. I was one of those parents and I still struggle at times, but believe me...I’m getting better at it! It’s kind of like getting away from the ‘everybody’s a winner’ in youth activities. Maybe everybody did a great job, but some do better, and there will be a winner!
My middle boy has been phenomenal. He has a big heart that he doesn’t wear on his sleeves, but he will share it with those whom he loves. I remember when he got his first job. He spent nearly his whole check buying me a Mother’s Day gift. I didn’t want to say, “You shouldn’t have spent all of your money!” Although I did say it eventually, but I rephrased it. “Thank you for caring enough to want to spend your money on me.” We must be careful of what we say and how we say it. It said the wrong way, they could think that they’re wasting money when buying someone they love something. Even worse, they could grow up with expecting everything for themselves and what they care about. The best way to teach a child is to let them learn about reciprocating. We shouldn’t give to get, but that’s part of the reaping what you sow method. It’s healthy for them to learn that way. We teach them our value and they will teach others what they value, and the cycle continues.
Kids don’t understand how much time and effort go into being a good parent for at least 18 years and beyond! A good parent doesn’t grow out of parenting. They don’t understand the sacrifices, the money, the tears, the worry, the going without sometimes and everything else that can’t be listed - just to raise them. If they are in extracurricular activities, they will never be able to quantify what went into those years. That’s why I truly honor great parents, because I know what it takes to be one.
Once they are older, it is then when you get to see how much they really appreciate you as a parent. My kids are great about remembering special occasions and birthdays, but my middle one will make sure his dad doesn’t have a fighting chance to forget when it comes to me. Those are the things that says, “Thank you Mom. Thank you Dad.” He’s the same with his siblings. My youngest (my daughter) buys things that you never knew she paid attention to. For Mother’s Day she had a package of Lifesaver Gummies and Ghirardelli chocolate stapled to her brother’s college acceptance letter! That was amazing! My husband said I was more excited about those things than the North Face outfit he bought. Lmbo. I told him he was jealous (jokingly), but trust me, I let him know I was grateful. We don’t blow off someone’s gifts. Not here! My oldest was always good about picking out cards that fit the occasion perfectly.
Whatever you do, young parents...remember your parents. You will never know the value of what they did for you until you’re old enough to have your own older children; and sometimes your parents are already gone by then. Teach your children to love and to show love. They don’t owe you, but gifting isn’t paying. Talk is cheap and isn’t sold in any stores! Neither is love, but there are ways to say that I love you through special efforts!