Curing The Gimmee’s

curing the gimmees

Before I reached the checkout counter, I knew what was going to happen. Picking up a few items for dinner at our local market on a Sunday afternoon, I noticed a five-year-old boy with his grandmother, both of them looking a little worse for wear.

The boy sported a Red Power Ranger suit with inflatable triangles along the top of the arm. Our little Power Ranger wore the dazed look of someone who has watched too much television, eaten too many candy bars and stayed up too late for too many nights in a row.

It was an unmistakable case of the Too-Too’s.

The grocery cart held a bakery package of jack-o-lantern brownies along with two large bottles of orange soda.   At the check out counter, Mr. Power Ranger spied the bubblegum machine.

‘Grandma, I want some bubblegum.’

“No, sweetheart. No gum. You’ve had enough sweets. Plus we have these brownies you wanted.”

Not a good thing to say to a Power Ranger with the Too-Too’s. Instantaneous meltdown was inevitable.


Grandma, much to her credit, finished paying and led her Power Ranger out by the hand.

With each opening of the automatic door, “BUT GRANDMA I WANT BUBBLEGUM” echoed through the store as this lad refused to get into the car.

I would not wish this for anyone.

As the holiday season for gift giving approaches, catalogs, commercials, and store displays compete for our children’s attention. The I-Wanna’s and the Gimme’s can make unexpected appearances.

To avoid situations where your child becomes a poster child for the Too-Too’s, I-Wanna’s or Gimme’s, take the following precautions. Need I remind you that these conditions are highly contagious?

Monitor your child’s environment.

Limit television viewing that includes excessive commercials for toys and other goodies. Avoid taking your children shopping if possible. If your child is tired or hungry, be careful to avoid situations that your child might be able to handle. With holiday schedules and activities, try to maintain a regular meal, snack and bed times. Provide non-sugary snacks, such as pretzels, veggies or holiday cookie cutter peanut butter sandwiches.

Understand the limits of your role as a parent.

Desiring or wishing for things is not necessarily a bad thing. Desire is the seed of motivation.

It is our job as parents to help our children learn how to become independent and have the skills to fulfill their own needs and wants. We can indirectly prepare our children for handling their desires by helping them understand our role as parents.

Our job is not to give our children everything that they express a desire in having.

Our job is to teach our children to fulfill their own wishes and needs. We need to teach our children to choose carefully and understand they do have choices, and the responsibility for those choices.

Cultivate a family tradition of giving.

When we help our children to think of others needs, we help them learn that there are more blessings in giving than receiving. Involve your three-year-olds and up in thinking of ideas for gifts for family members. Ask, “What do you think Granddad would like for his birthday? What is Aunt Suzie’s favorite color? What does Uncle Bob like to eat? What is your brother’s favorite activity?” Let your youngsters select cans of food for the food bank. Help your children purchase gifts for those in need. Bake cookies to take to neighbors.

Avoid or cure the gimme’s by keeping life as uncomplicated as possible, by understanding that your role as a parent is to develop independence, and by helping your child learn to give to others.

Problem Solving Tools To Use With Children

4 Responses to “Curing The Gimmee’s”

  1. Susan ploplys

    Might we put the cultivation of the family tradition of giving in the discussion first and preparation of a trip to the store (for gifts or supplies to make gifts) to give to family and friends. Sitting together to make a list using the questions you asked about Aunt Suzie etc. and the going to the store with only the purpose of purchasing (on a budget) for others and nothing for self.

    Maybe it would be good to add a time for snack or small meal out together after the shopping. That might help the child deal with every tempting thing the ads and store displays throw their way.

    Encouragement to step back and think about others before going to the store might give the child a different focus and help him develop skills to deal with shopping. Always before going to a store, a brief discussion of the purpose and limits is good. Also a discussion of what might be there that the child will see and might desire, so she can recognize that the adult understands but is communicating limits.

    I love the cultivation of giving. Also it is important for children to have heartfelt gratitude when receiving gifts and use words taking time to express it. That is also a gift we give even as we receive. Thank you for your timely and thought provoking subjects.

    We adults also must consider desires and needs . We can share ideas on that with the children, authentic discussions of our own personal struggles with buying, limiting our buying, spending money on purchases or donations for someone more in need and giving up something we could have afforded, but didn’t really need.

    My daughter and I used to purchase for a family at the local women’s center, shopping for and wrapping gifts from their gift lists and thinking about that family on Christmas morning opening what we gave. That was fun togetherness in giving and became a mother daughter tradition. Oh I do ramble on! Thank you!

    • Susan,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.

      Teaching our children to be givers and doers is not an easy task.

      It’s so worth it, though. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. Nancy Theuring

    The “I WANT BUBBLEGUM. GIVE ME SOME MONEY, NOW” sounds like something a parent would say “I WANT YOU TO COME HERE, NOW!” Children copy the phrases and attitudes of adults. We need to be very careful what we say to our children and how we say it, because we will hear it back.


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