I Put Money in a 'Therapy Jar' Every Time I Do Something to 'Screw Up' My Kids

money jarBetter put another five bucks in her therapy jar is a common phrase in our house. It refers to any time we do something to our children that might come out on a counselor’s couch in a decade or so. “My mother forced me to eat green vegetables, and now I have nightmares of Brussels sprouts chasing me through the streets,” they might say.

It’s pretty much another way of saying, “Get over it.”


We try our best to make good parenting decisions, but wonder who our kids will be when they grow up, and the part we will have played in that. The good news is that researchers say that outside of an abusive environment, it’s pretty hard to mess up a kid. Feed, water, and hug them, and they’re pretty much good to go. That provides some peace of mind, but still there’s that occasional nagging question of, "Am I doing the right thing?"

Rather than dwell on that question too much, I just metaphorically add a few bucks to their therapy jar and figure that if they need it someday during adolescence, I’ll gladly pay for it. Here are some of the things that I hope won’t put my kids in therapy someday, because after all this childrearing, I’d prefer to spend the money on a vacation to Fiji.

Posting potentially embarrassing photos online. Can I help it if I think your meltdowns are adorable? Or your squishy baby thighs? Or when you laugh at inappropriate things?

Making them do something ‘evil’ like eat broccoli. They’ll obviously grow up with a fear of veggies and become obese and diabetic as adults. It will all be traced back to the force-feeding that occurred at the dining room table as a kid.

Holding their hands in public. This one obviously is the cause of future codependency. I mean, if they aren’t trusted not to run into traffic at age 5, how will they ever be independent at 25?

Refusing to buy popular and expensive, trendy toys/clothes/electronics. Yeah, I really don’t care if Jimmy has an iPad 3. Jimmy’s daddy is a patent attorney and Jimmy is a spoiled brat. You can tell your therapist someday about how I denied you the ‘simple’ pleasures of childhood.

Licking a finger to wipe their faces. They’ll probably never be able to have normal sex. Or they’ll become a germaphobe. But definitely one or the other.

Taking them to church -- even though it’s boring. Is it possible for children to attend boring family-style worship services and still grow up to love Jesus? I guess we’re going to find out ...

Making them perform for family and friends. Hey kid! Those voice lessons were expensive. Now put your mouth where my money is. Hmm. Actually, I can kind of see this one being legit if the parade is endless. Let the kid be a kid, people.

What kinds of things do you do to your kids that they might someday blame their problems on?

Image via © iStock.com/Nousha

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