Table of contents:
- You give more often - you love more
- A surrogate instead of emotions
- Debt good turn deserves another
- In another language
Video: Commodity-money Love - Blogs
As a rule, successful business people come to me for consultations, with whom we discuss issues of their business, goals, meanings and self-efficacy. But lately, the conversation is increasingly concerned with the problems associated with raising children. Parents are worried that their grown-up sons and daughters behave towards them coldly, arrogantly and selfishly, keep them "at a distance", and when asked "How are you?" the answer is short and dry: "Normal."
A typical example. Dad, a businessman, returned from another long business trip. His 14-year-old daughter, casting a quick glance at her father and not seeing bright packages with gifts in his hands, quickly lost interest in him - she threw a barely audible “Hello!”, Went into her room and closed the door. After some time she turned to her father: “Well, maybe let's go to the store? Buy me new jeans and sneakers. " In the car, the girl put on headphones, turned on the player and did not say a word the whole way. In the store, she silently chose new clothes, and when the purchases were paid, she finally took out the headphones and kissed her dad. Their eyes met, but this contact lasted only a few seconds.
On the way back, there was the same picture: the girl again “went into herself” and was silent all the way. And the father remembered that for several years now he has received an interested look, kiss or attention from his daughter only when he buys something for her. There is no other communication between them for a long time: "It seems that, apart from money, she does not need anything from me."
What is happening to our children and what can we do to make a difference?
Children, accustomed to receiving material compensation for the lack of parental attention, grow up indifferent, rude, calculating
You give more often - you love more
Working parents, as a rule, are always busy, it is difficult for them to carve out the cherished minute to communicate with children. They reassure themselves with the thought that they are working for their future, for their happiness and well-being, and they diligently smooth over their constant absence and non-participation in the child's life, compensate with all kinds of gifts. The stronger the remorse, the more actively the parents "pay off" so that no one, including the child himself, could reproach them for inattention and insufficient love for him.
A typical case is children from divorced families, whose favor each parent is trying to win. Often it turns into a real competition between moms and dads. All the child's wishes are instantly fulfilled out of fear that the former partner might "score more points." By competing in manifestations of love - whose gift is better, cooler, more expensive - adults, in fact, buy the love of children. And gradually the child learns: the one who gives more, loves more. Dad came home without a chocolate bar, without a toy, which means "he doesn't love me today." If one grandmother gave five toys, and the other only three, this is because my mother's mother loves me more than my father's.
Money does not correct the injustices of nature, but deepens them
A surrogate instead of emotions
Any real relationship requires from us mental strength, attention, energy, and it is impossible to predict the result: it can be joy and mutual understanding, or there can be resentments, tears, irritation, discontent, conflicts. And often we choose the easiest way: we communicate with children "indirectly", putting forward a material object instead of ourselves - a gift. There is a kind of substitution - a "surrogate" instead of living emotions, warm human feelings. Material aspects come to the fore, and real interpersonal relations are replaced by "commodity-money".
The child quickly becomes accustomed to the fact that gifts and purchases are the only means of expressing parental love, and begins to demand more and more. It is both difficult and unpleasant to refuse him - whether it is a toddler throwing a tantrum in the store because of a typewriter, or a schoolgirl daughter who says that she will not survive if the "coolest" jeans are not bought for her. And is it worth it to ruin the relationship because of nonsense?
Gifts are always good, they are positive, smiles, and a holiday. The only "stumbling block" that you can stumble over is dissatisfaction - "you bought the wrong thing." It's easy to deal with this: if you don't like the gift, we will change it, buy another, even better.
But when relationships are built only around gifts, neither adults nor children gain experience and skills in daily communication, they have no common topics of conversation. The opportunity to be together “just like that” - to walk, chat, read, play - is not even considered. In the best case, we arrange some kind of general "event" - a visit to a restaurant, theater, cinema, and finally shopping. But even here there is no direct communication, something comes up again between us and the child - a play, a film, another thing, etc.
“Money cannot buy love, but it’s possible to improve bargaining positions.”
Debt good turn deserves another
As a rule, children who are accustomed to receiving material compensation for the lack of parental attention grow up indifferent, emotionally cold, stubborn, rude, and calculating. Their attitude towards us, parents, is frankly consumerist. When money, gifts, services become an “indicator” of love for a child, he does not learn to express his emotions, his affection in other ways than material. And his ideas about life, about human relationships are far from reality.
A person does not know how to do what no one has ever taught him. If we do not teach children to talk about their feelings, show interest, care and attention, later they will have big problems in relationships - with us, and with other adults, and with peers.
Any real relationship requires from us mental strength, attention, energy. But often we communicate with children "indirectly" - through gifts
Children from an early age mirror our behavior, adopt our intonations, views, manners, ways of interacting with others. When pragmatism and materialism reign in the house, when the emotional side of communication is devalued, when there is no real intimacy, when children are dismissed or paid off, they feel rejected, unnecessary and eventually begin to reject their parents.
They copy our attitude to "waste of time" and also do not want to be with us "just like that." When asked to come, the grown-up son replies: “Are you missing something? Do you need to buy something and you want me to bring it? No? Then do not distract me, I am busy … "And he will express his love for us" exclusively by work "- he will hire a nurse, buy medicines, that is, he will repay his" filial debt "with the same things that he received in childhood - things, money and paid services. Now it is our turn to experience bitterness, resentment and disappointment, because we expected something completely different - warmth, sympathy, care, intimacy.
The only luxury I know of is the luxury of human communication
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
In another language
To translate commodity-money relations into real ones, one must be ready to change the very principle of communication with children - to learn how to spend not money on children, but time and emotions.
Before giving the child another gift, let's think about what drives us: do we buy out of habit, compensate for our inattention, hope in this way to improve relations, to “cover up” the emerging crack? Or is this thing really needed now by our child? What gift and when did we last buy?
It seems to me that it is important to ask yourself this question: what do we want to receive in return when we give a child a gift? Confirmation of love? Obedience? It's one thing when we just want to bring him joy, and quite another when we hope to get something from him with our gift. After all, any gift is a kind of message.
We live in the material world, and there is nothing wrong with the fact that we have material desires: we are pleased to buy our children something new, interesting, to give them beautiful things. But children expect from us not only and not so many gifts: they need loving mom and dad - always, every day, and no toys and gadgets can replace them.
The main need of a child - both small and older, and a teenager - is for emotional warmth, for emotional closeness. We must literally pump him up with our love, fill his “emotional reservoir” so that it will last for a lifetime. And then he will have something to give - both to us, parents, and to the people around him.
Love can be expressed in different ways, and this does not have to be associated with material encouragement, with gifts. It can be words of love and support, affectionate touch, our attention, help, joint leisure, one-on-one conversations. Sometimes we can't even imagine what fantastic opportunities we miss to communicate and express our love for a child.
Dealing with children purposefully, spending more time with them, can completely transform our relationships even without "material support." Of course, at first you need to be prepared for outbursts of anger, for irritation, for discontent, for aggression on the part of the child: when the habitual scheme “you are for me - I am for you” changes, conflicts and quarrels are possible at first.
You can start changing relationships only when you are firmly convinced that we are ready to act “on an ongoing basis,” and not occasionally - to talk a couple of times, and then disappear again for six months. Here, as in everything else, we must be consistent and understand that the later we begin to correct the situation, the harder we will have.