In other articles I have often discussed how important it is for parents to examine their values and to transmit those values to their children by setting limits for them. Many parents begin with good intentions in this regard, only to find that children of today are very clever at negotiating, manipulating and wheedling their way out of those very limits. In the end, the children wind up behaving in the way they'd like, and the parents wind up bewildered and helpless, at a loss to explain how they ended up "giving in" once again.
From marbles to baseball cards, from Beanie Babies to Pokemon cards, children have historically found collecting and trading objects appealing. If your child's interests lie in collecting leaves in the fall, or rocks in Central Park, you probably haven't given much thought to their collections, other than that they may be dirty and clutter up their rooms.
Creating a blueprint for your family to follow means engaging in a series of family discussions where your values, morals and beliefs are put into words. These words become the substance of the blueprint, which then serves as a guideline for each family member's behavior, choices, and treatment of one another. Because each member of the family subscribes to the plan, they stop operating as individuals with a "me first" mentality and instead operate as a whole.
Every day we and our children walk by the homeless on the street. When our children are very young we feel especially protective because their instinct is towards empathy: they ask us why that person doesn't have a home, where does that person sleep, and can't we give them some money? And we teach our children from an early age, when these questions first arise, to be careful and make a wide berth in case the person is dangerous.
As New York begins to spread its finery like a proud peacock in preparation for the holidays, and people bustle through the streets making private preparations for Hanukkah and Christmas, many parents watch with dismay as their loving, appreciative children are slowly transformed into greedy, insatiable monsters.