Holidays And Values: What Is Your Parental Message To Your Kids?

Most of our values, manners, and style are learned from our parents at an early age.  Holidays and birthdays are impactful.  Christmas and Hannukkah are particularly potent.  Parental behavior, modeling, tells a child what a holiday is all about by imprinting a certain way of being in celebration.   This affects a child all through life unless s/he consciously chooses a different modus operandi later in life.

A colleague of mine, Dr. Rick Blue, has written on this topic.  He counsels parents to be aware of buying an abundance of gifts for children.  He says this “helps kids feel entitled to always get what they want.  Before you know it you have the spoiled child syndrome.”  This spoiled child is not prepared for the “real world”. Mental toughness and resiliency are needed for the arduous journey of life.  Dr. Blue continues:“This sense of entitlement and self-centeredness leads to problems with giving and sharing later in life.  The narcissistic personality forms in early childhood when kids learn they’re special and have their needsmet whenever they want.”

Dr. Blue suggests the importance of teaching kids the joy of giving, of service to others.  Opportunities for such service would include volunteering at shelters, hospitals, and animal clinics.  Parents certainly can come up with other ways of giving and sharing.

To change the style of holiday celebrations involves knowing your values and having the courage to impart them.  Such a change may face challenges of being ridiculed or rejected.  Kids may argue and conflict may result.  Can you handle your children’s disappointment, anger, rejection?  Some parents have such strong needs to always be liked by their kids that they do not teach and stand up for the values that ultimately they wish the kids would have. Only strong parents who are sure of their values and committed to develop this attribute in their children can take on such a challenge.

What will you choose to do during these holidays?  May you make the right choice for you and your family; one that truly represents your spirit and values at this unique time of the year.  Happy Holiday!


“The unexamined life is not worth living”       Socrates


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