When The Love Bucket Has A Hole

Originally written in August of 2012
leaky-bucket_1024x768_570651

Have you had the experience of a child who wants, wants WANTS  EVERYTHING, yet nothing seems to satisfy their wanton desires?
Me too…..
The child who has had NOTHING, now wants EVERYTHING and SOME is just not enough,  is a child who has a whole in their love bucket.   It is a tricky task to plug up the hole in that love bucket and bring it to overflowing.

The first time I experienced this with Sweetie 1, she was just 5 years old.  I took her shopping but we didn’t really find anything that she was that excited about.  I am really picky about buying things, because I don’t like to buy just to buy.

When she realized we were going to leave the store without a shirt or dress or sweater, she started to grab anything she could see and sobbed, “Can’t you get me this?”  “What about this?”   She was in SHEER PANIC, and then full tantrum mode.

Of course, we left the store and I was perplexed with her behavior.   It wasn’t the typical little kid wanting something she couldn’t get.  It was a very insecure and love starved child wanting to fulfill a need in all the wrong places.

She didn’t realize that a sweater she didn’t need or even like would not calm the insecurity  she held in her heart.  She didn’t understand that what she really REALLY wanted, she already had.  She was FINALLY being loved and accepted. She had the family and stability she never had before, but she didn’t recognize it.

We have had this type of attitude in 2 of our girls.  Both of them came from tragic poverty, and neglect…. into stability, NOT WEALTH, but NOT POOR…..  and then, they didn’t recognize what   a valuable treasure they had been given;  a loving family that truly cared about them.

So how do you get over that hump and teach them that love is not found in things, presents, food, clothing,  etc?

VERY CAREFULLY…..

The first thing is to be very careful not to shame them.  Shame is part of the problem, and they are trying to COVER it with things.  It will not fulfill the hole in the heart.

To gently talk to a very mad child about the importance of love, above things, especially when they have had neglect, is tricky.

“You know sweetie, I want to buy you something that is just perfect for you! When we see a sweater like that, it will be my joy to get it for you!”   But honestly,  a sweater will not bring you joy or happiness.  Those things come from inside your heart!  And it seems that your heart is very sad and empty.    Come and let mommy rock you and sing to you. We need to fill your love cup up, cuz it has a crack!”  🙂

It will take time to settle the inward struggle of trying to fulfill emotional needs with everything other than relationship.  Relationships are TOUGH….. things don’t have discussions and bring immediate pleasure.

But things wear off and relationships stand the test of time.  They have to grow and develop.

The stage when our girls were like this had more to do with not having developed a deep relationship with us yet.

As time went on, and we didn’t cave into the stuff mart demands, relationship began to take shape and the love bucket began to heal.

It IS important to note that they DO need to have some of that desire met.  We took them out for a special meal, or ice cream.  We would take them to purchase clothing when NEEDED….. but not with a demanding heart.    We can’t break them of this type of need cold turkey, it would be too hard.  It is more like weaning them from stuff to relationship.   But we have to be a part of a DESIRED relationship and not a constant threat to their security…. especially with OLDER kids.

Now, can we tell a child…. “Sweetie, what you really want is US!” “AREN’T WE WONDERFUL???” LOL
100_0604
No, we can’t be so blatant as that.  Even though THEY are. 🙂