Parenting for Lazy People: Acknowledge Wants, Parent for Needs

Parenting for Lazy People: Acknowledge Wants, Parent for Needs @

Look past the want to see the need!  photo credit: Lauren Bingham


Every child gives his or her parents multiple opportunities per day to practice wants vs. needs parenting:

I want a popsicle!

I want to take Prunella’s toy!

I want to stay up!

I want to go to the dance!

I want an iPad!

Wise parents hear these wants and send them through their Needs Filter:

I want a popsicle! —————> Needs Filter: dinner in 30 minutes, healthy-food-appetite-training —————> Wise Response: I know your tummy feels empty. You may have a drink of water right now, and then we will have dinner pretty soon. No popsicles so close to dinner time.

I want Prunella’s toy! —————> Needs Filter: You need to learn fair treatment of others, appropriate sharing, ownership, and self-control. —————> Wise Response: You can’t always have what you want as soon as you want it. You need to wait until Prunella is finished with it. Maybe you could ask her, “Prunella, after you have played with your toy for awhile, I would like a turn to play with it.”

I want to stay up! —————> Needs Filter: rest vital; Mommy and Daddy grownup time vital —————> Wise Response: I know you’d like to stay up, but it’s bedtime. Go choose a book for us to read while I help your brother.

I want to go to the dance! —————> Needs Filter: lascivious atmosphere; you need to learn to stand for righteousness —————> Wise Response: I know you want to be with your friends and have fun and I want that for you, too, but sinful things happen at dances in a far more concentrated amount than in many other situations. Let’s talk about that and some alternatives…

I want an iPad! —————> Needs Filter: working for luxuries = good; need discernment re discretionary money and to appreciate belongings —————> Wise Response: If you want an expensive item like that, we can talk together about ways you might go about earning the money for it. Do you want to think first about whether it will be worth it to you to work so hard for it?

Does this kind of thought/filtering and answering take a lot of time? I am sorry to have to break it to you but, yes, it does.

Two truths:

The wise way is rarely the easy way.

Wise parenting = investment parenting

Every little thing you do and say as a parent is an investment in the future — for good or bad. Think about that for a minute. Everything, really and truly. It kind of makes you want to make an appointment to be sterilized right away, doesn’t it? Just kidding. Sort of.

Thankfully all of the work and investment of parenting doesn’t happen in one day, but here’s the thing that’s easy to miss: the work and investment of parenting does happen every day. Every day matters, every decision matters. Every choice gets added to all of the other choices and snowballs into a path of life, a character, a trajectory.

But here’s the really cool thing: even though the wise way is not the “easy way,” in the end it turns out to be far easier than the “easy way.” So, the hard way turns out to be the easy way and the easy way turns out to be the hard way. Crazy, I know. It’s sowing and reaping, suffering and glory, investing and dividends.

It’s acknowledging wants, but parenting for needs.

For more parenting posts, see the Parenting Practice page.

What about you? Do you find it challenging to look past wants and parent for needs? What strategies to you use to parent as wisely as you can? Please share in the comments!


This entry was posted in Parenting for Lazy People, Parenting Practice, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Your comment is the best part of this blog! Share what’s on your mind here.


  1. Heather B.
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink


    • Posted October 27, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      You are such a great mom, Heather. I’m sure many are watching and learning from your example of mothering. Thank you for the agreement.

  2. Melanie Jonas
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Great article, Lori! You are so right about wise parenting, investing in our children being an everyday event. Thank you for your wisdom and being willing to write so others can learn from your experience.

  • Your comment is the best part of this blog! Share what’s on your mind here.

  • In My Kitchen, In My Life is a place where women (and the odd male) can be encouraged, nudged, and occasionally kicked in the pants toward living their lives on a higher plane. Oh, and readers get plenty of chances to laugh at the author's foibles, which is always worth a click.

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