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Thinking Out Loud About The Spoiled Versus The Driven

Why Some People Have Drive and Some People Don’t

"A man's mind will very gradually refuse to make itself up until it is driven and compelled by emergency."  Anthony Trollope

Calling on my own experiences when I was a child, things weren’t given to me easily.  I strongly feel that kids who grew up in a household where they didn’t have to work hard to get what they wanted, end up lacking important qualities such as drive, determination, and perseverance.  I’ve seen it all too often and it hits close to home for me.

Take a look at some of the most successful and driven people around.  Do you think the majority of them grew up getting every thing their little hearts desired?  Oprah Winfrey for example, known as one of the most successful women in America. Do you think she grew up with everything she desired? She was very poor, was moved around a lot as child, and during the time she lived with her father, he would send her to bed without dinner unless she learned five new vocabulary words.  Obviously this is to the extreme, but you get my point.

Do you think they were able to coast through school with their parents buying them the clothes and cars they longed for?  Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely exceptions to the rule.  For example a good friend of mind in high school received almost anything she desired.  She was driving around a brand new cool car as soon as she turned 16.  She was able to shop for clothing that she wanted in an unlimited fashion.  She was handed nearly anything she truly desired.  I remember being very envious of all the material things she was able to get anytime she chose.  The nice clothes and the nice cars.  Despite all the goods she received, she was still a fighter.  She exercised really hard, played competitive sports, and did her due diligence with researching healthier foods to keep her weight down. While all her friends were able to eat what they wanted and didn’t gain a pound, she chose to work harder.   Other than her as the main exception in my life, most of the people I know today that are very driven and successful, didn't get everything they desired. 
Why spoiling kids now, will hurt them later

Let's not confuse this with spoiling your kids with love and affection.  Spoiling your kids with material things and giving them their way all the time, can take away so many aspects of what life has to offer.  When a child doesn’t have to work hard for something it doesn’t give them a sense of accomplishment.  When a child doesn’t achieve the sense of being proud such as “I earned that” it’s very easy to lose confidence, which can turn in to insecurities leading to depression.  

Here’s another exception to the rule of kids who received an abundance of material items. The children that were heavily involved and encouraged to learning new skills, such as sports and music, were able to develop the self confidence. This accomplishment gave them proud feelings as they improved, showed off their hard work with developing a skill set.  The kids that were given an abundance of gifts, taken on fancy vacations, were not encouraged to develop a skill set.  As they grow up the sense of urgency doesn't seem to be there.  The drive to strive above and beyond is.  Basically the “fight” in them never got developed.  Why would it become developed?  They never needed to work for anything in their life.  Everything came easy to them.  The parents are thinking they are doing their kids such a favor by buying their love with gifting them all their wants and desires.  They think they are being great parents by making their kids happy with instant gratification. But in fact it teaches your child to grow up not ever having to work for their wants.  Not ever having to strive for something and save up to finally be rewarded for their hard work.  When a child receives everything so easily there is no reason to be proud and appreciate it, since it’s easy to replace in their eyes. Things lose value and nothing excites them anymore.  In fact, kids who were overly spoiled tend to have more emotional and depression issues in life.  If you think you may be spoiling your kid a little bit too much here is a great website called Pediatric Advisor, that discusses all about spoil prevention.  

Finding the fine line of tough love

As a mother of 2 precious little girls I want nothing more than to give them the best.  When my sweet little girl see’s a beautiful dress in a store or wants a piece of candy in the check out line, chances are I’m going to say “no”.  Some parents will say “no” because they simply don’t have the money for it.  If I had all the money in the world, I would still say “no” much of the time.  However, balance is key, and I don’t want them to feel completely deprived, so on occasion, I will say yes. When I do say “yes”, they are happy and most of all truly appreciate it, since they know "yes" isn't always going to be the answer.  Of course I want to see them happy all the time, but if I give them what they want, they will turn in to unmotivated demanding spoiled little brats.   I'm trying to teach them the value of money, the value of hard work, and the value of life.  That’s why a parent this day and age needs to learn what tough love is all about!  These days many kids just don’t seem as appreciative.  It makes me sick to see such spoiled kids that walk around with such a sense of entitlement.   Years ago, kids had maybe a few toys to play with. Now kids have rooms full of toys to play with, I’m definitely guilty of my kids having way too many toys!   Even with all the toys and things to do, I’ll still hear sometimes “mommy I’m bored”.  My good friend Tracey tells her child to pick out 5 toys and put it in a bag to donate for someone who needs it, when she hears those words.  I have definitely started using this and the "I'm bored" words stop immediately!

Going back to what drives people.  Is it just innate in our biological self?  I’m sure some people think, regardless of their up bringing, you either have it in you or you don’t.  I beg to differ.  I do agree that some people have more tendencies to be more driven than others, however, their upbringing can really shape how they apply it as they get older.  Just ask your most successful and driven influences in your life, what it took to get where they are today.  Most of them grew up with a sense of hard work and things that didn't come easy to them.  Parents, if you want your kids to start having a value system and not the “I’m entitled to everything” attitude, stop spoiling them.  Start practicing the "no" word from time to time. Or let’s earn the trip to Disney Land after you clean your room for a month.  It starts now! I never thought I’d say this, but thank you mom and dad for not spoiling me and making me understand the value of life.  It’s the best thing you could have possibly done for me.  During the time it sucked, but it gave me drive and perseverance to fight for what I truly want.

You are who you surround yourself with

"The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person ... who is worthy of emulation."

If you spend a lot of time with drug users or unmotivated people, chances are you will pick up their tendencies.  We as humans feed off one another and become who we surround ourselves with.  That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people you respect and have good qualities you admire and can relate to.  Your kids are even more impressionable. Having your kids play on a regular basis with other kids that like to cause trouble and constantly misbehave, chances are it will rub off on your child and he or she will pick up some of those bad behaviors.  As a parent you definitely can’t control everything your child does, especially as they get older, but you can do your best to encourage your child to engage with positive people and reward them for accomplishing new skills.  

As an adult I have had my share of many different kinds of friends.  Anywhere from successful over achievers to the unmotivated lazy couch potato friend.  Finding the balance and knowing when to put the breaks on certain people have been key for my own life.  The ones who call you and every single time they are ranting about how negative the world is and how horrible life is, saying poor me, will eventually just bring you down.  Let’s not mistake this for me not wanting to listen to my friends when they are going through a rough time.  I love being there for my friends in time of need.  I’m the first one to help a friend out when something serious is going on or they are having trouble with a relationship.  In fact, I love being a sounding board, being comforting, and enjoy giving helpful advice.  It’s just part of who I am.   But those who are constantly the victim in every situation day after day, you finally have to realize, that person is never going to change.  They will always be the victim.  I truly don’t want to live my life trying to be a victim in every situation that goes wrong. Life is very unpredictable but don’t just sit back and relax and let life smack you in the face thinking it’s all going to work out perfectly.  Taking charge of your own life by taking the wheel to guide you through your own destiny.  Sure you will hit bumps in the road, major forks that call for some quick decision making, and unknown shocking paths that you are forced to painfully ride on.  It’s up to you how you handle it, learn from it, and how you come out of it.   In closing, life’s an adventure, it’s a bit of a game (like my restorative yoga teacher referred to), if you play your cards right in this big game we call LIFE, you can and will come out a winner!  


Donna Crabtree said…
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