Don’t Confuse Your Wants and Needs By Katherine Young

I was grocery shopping, running my errands, minding my own business when I overheard a mother and teen daughter talking nearby the aisle I was perusing. “Mom! I NEED this foundation! I must have it!” shrieks the teen daughter. Her mom looked at her with slight irritation, and tells her that she does not “need” the foundation make-up. Unsure if the young girl’s mother bought the foundation, I briefly reflected upon the multiple times I informed my own mother what I “needed” as a teenager, and was thankful that I did not receive everything that I wanted.

I have conversed with many parents who lay claim that they don’t want their kids to struggle and to not “want for anything.” Initially, when I first viewed the idea of parenting when my first child was a baby, I thought the same way. But that idea quickly disappeared. Want to know why?

If your child never struggles, how will he or she learn perseverance? How will they learn to problem solve and critically evaluate scenarios in order to decide the best outcome? How will they learn patience, kindness, grit, teamwork, consistency, as well as follow-through?

Parents, if we do everything for our child we will sorely regret the outcome if they become inept adults. As an educator working with teenagers in a high school setting, I have witnessed countless times how parents have given up in rearing and guiding their child to be a responsible young adult, thereby young teenagers are forced to try to be both the parent and the child, thus creating such chaos and havoc in their lives, they never reach their full potential.

If you have time to help guide your children to understand the difference between their wants and their needs, and to even challenge them to take initiative to work diligently for some of their wants, they will be better off in valuing what they do receive and what they work for in life.