When my mom was a young child, it cost 15 cents to see the movie and 10 cents to get popcorn. She was given 25 cents a week for allowance so it worked out perfectly for her and her brothers.
Ahh, the blissful and simple life of a child in the late fifties/early sixties.
But then the movie price went up to 25 cents and my mom could no longer afford to see the show AND get popcorn. She and her brothers asked their dad if they could have a ten cent increase in their weekly allowance. Rather than compromise and say, “Nope, you can go see the movie and not worry about popcorn” or “If you really want popcorn that badly, you can save up your allowance for two weeks and then go to the show” the gravy train ended. My Grandpa said, “You complain about the amount you get, you get nothing, nice doing business with you.” (paraphrasing)
When my mom was a little older – a young teenager perhaps – she dared to complain to her mother about the bad ironing job she was doing. She told her mom she ironed too quickly and sometimes ironed wrinkles back into the shirts. Her mom did NOT say, “Oh, I’m sorry honey, I’ll be more careful,” she said, “You don’t like the way I iron then you get to do your own ironing!”
On to the next generation…
When I was ten years old, I complained to my mom about the lunches she was packing me for school. I told her I didn’t like the stuff she giving me, no doubt influenced by all the amazing little treasures I saw in my classmates’ lunch boxes (fruit by the foot, so-da-licious, Capri sun juicers). My complaints did not have the desired effect because she did not say, “Oh ok, tell me what you’d like me to pack,” she said, “If you don’t like what I pack in your lunch, then you get to pack your own lunch from now on!”
And again, on to the next generation…
This morning, RJ complained that we had forgotten to put his library books back into his folder. He whined about how we always forget his books up in his bedroom and then he doesn’t have them at school when his class goes to the library.
Jason was the recipient of the complaints this morning and he did not say, “Oh I’m sorry, I’ll try to remember to pack your books from now on.” He said, “Well, it looks like you’re in charge of being responsible for your own books now!”
It’s simple. (Generally speaking) Parents work hard to meet the needs and desires of their children. If you’re old enough to complain that your parents are doing it wrong, you’re old enough to do it yourself.
You better believe that the second my kids complain about the laundry being done wrong, they’ll be in charge of their own damn clothes!
What do you do if your kids complain about YOU doing something WRONG?
Granted, asking for an increase in your allowance, isn’t exactly complaining that your parents are doing something wrong. But my grandparents wouldn’t have seen in that way. They worked hard and did not have a lot of money and they would’ve expected their children to be grateful for what they had and not asked for more.