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Our Story Begins: The Magic Words

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Our Story Begins:
The Magic Words

A colleague and I tend to poke fun at the “study-du-jour” that comes out, seemingly, on a bi-daily basis. You may think it’s mean or silly, but working in media I’ve seen grant money and tax dollars go to everything from why plastic wrappers on candy makes a crackling noise to a study saying grief can be painful.

Your tax dollars at work.

The study making the rounds this week: Narcissistic Kid? Blame the Parents, Study Says!”

In case you didn’t get that hammer-to-the-head description in the LA Times headline up there, a study in the Netherlands basically says that if you tell your kids they’re better and smarter than everyone they’re going to become raging egomaniacs.

Okay, maybe not a raging egomaniac, but they’ll become entitled, spoiled, and expect the world on a platter because, let’s face it, they’re special.

I didn’t need a study to tell me that your kids are influenced by how you raise them, not born “entitled.”

Where I live is a fairly wealthy area, not at all representative of my family. However, my high-schooler sees kids at the age of 16 driving brand new Mercedes convertibles and BMW’s to school. They have the newest iPhones and iPads (yes, both) and they are wearing designer jeans that cost more than my suit. Some could very well be that raging narcissist they mention in the article.

I, however, can only do what I can for my kids and that’s by the example I was given. My first car was a 1977 Buick Skylark and I didn’t deserve that. I was, being honest, kind of a moody jerk sometimes and I don’t know how my parents put up with me. I wish I’d been far better. It wasn’t their fault, I just . . . didn’t get it.

But I turned out okay and came out of the hormonal stupidity, I suppose, and a lot of that is how I was raised. It’s not what you give your kids or how you spoil them or the “stuff” you give them. It all comes down to a few key things.

Related: Tales from a Twin Mom: One on One Time with Your Multiples

My house is filled with sarcasm. When my kids ask why I became a parent I tell them “so I didn’t have to do the dishes any more.” I give them my share of ribbing and they give it straight back. It’s a loving kind of give-and-take. Still, there are two big things I say to them on a regular basis, and it was influenced by my own upbringing.

“Please” and “Thank you”.

Yep. Three little words.

When I ask my son to do the dishes it’s always “can you unload the dishwasher, please” and when his brother says he scrubbed the dishes I say “thank you, little man!”

You may not think that’s a big deal, but do you do it? When you want your kids to do something do you just bark it out or ask? I always believe my kids are just little people. They give respect as much as they get and I respect them. They are great little people. I have to guide them, train them and push them in the right directions but in the end, it’s the daily habits we show them that are the real lessons. I compliment good work and critique bad. I don’t do their homework but I look it over when they ask.

Related: Our Story Begins: Responsibility

The best way I know it’s going okay is when I’ve made breakfast on the weekend and they simply say “Thank you, Dad!”

How in the world can you be a narcissist if you’re using those three magic words?

What about you? Do you order, over-indulge, or tell your kids to do things without those words? Do you talk with or at your kids?

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