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Tit for Tat – I Don’t Want my Kids Thinking Like That

Tit for tat is usually a term referring to exchanging blows in a fight.

While my boys are certainly becoming experts in that regard (giant eye-roll), I’m using the term tit for tat in a more you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours kind of a way. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as my husband questions why I’m going out of my way for people in my life that have never, and probably will never, return the favor. I’m not going to give specifics, as my goal is not to call anyone out via blog post; but I’m sure many of you can relate.

tit for tat feature

We all have our reasons for going out of our way for friends or family. The number one reason for me is LOVE. I have a lot of love for my close friends and family and I like to show that through cooking, offering to help, and sometimes even buying little surprises. Now, my husband might say “why’d you bake that for so-and-so, who’s never brought you food,” and the truth is because I love that person. I also realize that we all have unique ways of showing that we care.

For me, or anyone, to expect that another person is going to be able to match the efforts that we make, is unreasonable. There are times when this tit for tat mentality is just not fair.

tit for tat flowers giving

Another huge reason I like to do nice things for the people I love is because I want to model this behavior for my children. Hopefully, my kids will see how I make myself available to help others, the small tokens of affection, or the other ways I express that I care, and they will take my actions to heart. Kids already tend to love unconditionally, and I’d like to prolong that.

tit for tat giving

Cousins

Rather than teaching kids that everything is tit for tat, I would prefer to focus on what they are doing for others; specifically how they are spreading joy and love. There is a wonderful book that was introduced by my son’s teacher called, “How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids” that focuses on spreading positivity to those around you. This book teaches kids that when you are kind or do nice things for others, you are putting drops into their metaphorical bucket and making them feel good. Another important lesson in this book is that when you fill up someone else’s bucket, you are also filling up your own. I may have to read this to my husband so he can understand that I have a selfish reason for giving to others- it makes me feel good too!

tit for tat sharing

Mud pie, anyone?

Navigating relationships is hard, especially if you focus on tit-for-tat, and allow it to influence what and when you do things for those people who are important to you.

Instead of keeping a tab, I think it is important to show friends and family how much they mean to you, no matter what. It is also crucial to recognize that life gets in the way (don’t hold your breath for that thank you note!) and there are certain times when people may need us more than we need them (like during an illness, or welcoming a new baby). Focus on filling the buckets of those you hold dear to you, and I believe that your bucket will always be more than half-full.

tit for tat kind

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One Response to Tit for Tat – I Don’t Want my Kids Thinking Like That

  1. Mom Watson April 28, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

    Certainly our children learn from us, which is so very important in today’s world. Hopefully, those are always good things, too. I’ve always tried to give more than I receive, and while I’ve never regretted being kind and loving I’ve also gotten hurt. Perhaps it’s not how your husband asks you why you do those kind things but more that he doesn’t want anyone to take advantage of your kindness. There might be a chance that what he’s saying isn’t exactly what he’s feeling. Again, as I know how kind hearted you are I do applaud you for being your wonderful self!! Never stop being you…….

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