Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Want? Need! Have. Lessons from the four letter words.

My three-year-old is going through a phase.  At least I hope its a phase.  Everything is about how he "needs" something.  He needs cereal for breakfast.  He needs to go watch tv.  He needs to go outside.

He doesn't "need" it... he wants it.  He doesn't understand the difference, yet, between the two concepts.  Fortunately, he is learning that telling me he needs something won't get it for him... but asking me, nicely, for something usually gets a much better response.

Usually, what he "needs" isn't something that he can have right then.  Although sometimes he will be able to get it later, other times its something that he can't have at all... or that he already has the equivalent of what he is asking for.

But I realize that he is learning this from me, on some level.  I will sometimes tell him that he "needs" to do something, when I really should be asking him to do something because I want him to.  I ask myself if I need something, or if I just want it, and do I already have something that will do the same thing?  If I consider getting something new, is it because it is better than what I have?  And do I need the improvements it gives me?  Or do I just want something new?

And, to add another four letter word to the mix, what is the cost in terms of time or money or health or any other measure?  What is the cost to me or to others?

When he "needs" to watch tv - what is the cost?  And how do I help teach him to figure out what that cost might be?