A few days ago, I was grudgingly driving back to the office after lunch. It was a beautiful, sunny, mild day. I had the windows down and the radio up. I slowed for a yellow light, trying to buy a little more time outside. Soon, a young woman pulled up beside me. I glanced over and noticed that she had pulled a baby rattle up from somewhere and was shaking the rattle back and forth for her baby in the back seat. The young mother was giving a big grin and was undoubtedly making goo goo gaga sounds for her baby. Although I could not see the baby, I made the assumption that it may have been a bit upset.
At that moment, I realized something. I realized that even today, as my children are 7, 9 and 12, that far too often, I’m still shaking the rattle for them. Now, the form of the rattle has changed. For the girls, it’s the new outfit, the doll, the “whatever is on their mind at the moment” item. For my son, it’s the new video game or the new gadget. I realize that there is nothing wrong with gifts for my children, but it does become a potential problem when the gift has taken the place of the rattle. If I’m solely buying something or purchasing the ticket for the event for the purpose of appeasing, pleasing, stopping the nagging or some other self-serving act, I’ve missed it.
Face it. If your kids get used to the routine of their rant being cured by the rattle, they’ll expect it of others when they are no longer under your control. Adults that require rattles are called…spoiled. People do not like to be around them or have relationships with them.
Rattles can be dangerous. Use them sparingly and with caution.
Note: As I began to write this post, I got my daily email notifying me of a new post on the Epic Parent.tv blog called, “Parents, Please Slow Down!” The topic is very similar to this post and is right on, in my opinion. Check it out here: http://www.epicparent.tv/parents-please-slow-down/