Let's just focus on the Tooth Fairy for the sake of argument. One year I actually received a note from one of my children saying, "Dear Thooth Fairy, I can't wait to see what you are going to give me. Thank you for giving me the mony and candy. I hope this time you wold leve me a toy to go with the candy and mony. Love, (name of guilty child here.) P.S. I hope you give me a toy." (Actual transcript of note.) Apparently the money and candy were not enough. One friend told me that her daughter said, "But I wanted a crisp, new $20 bill!" Very endearing, indeed.
All right, enough of the negatives. What I really wanted to share with you is the wonderful fruit of going a different route. With seven kids, fairly spread out, we have learned a lot over the years, and are constantly changing the way we do things. One of these was that we'd always tell the truth to the kids, because we wanted them to believe us when we taught them about God (oops, sorry--that's a whole other post.) At first , we were afraid that the younger kids would be deprived of all the fun that the older ones had gotten, but we went ahead with what we believed to be right. I would now like to share with you the results in one child, and in regards to the Tooth Fairy specifically.
My four-year-old was quite saddened by all the older kids receiving special treats from the Tooth Fairy under their pillow, and none for him. Having to wait two years for any possibility of this special visit was almost too much for him to take. Well, one day he knocked a heavy patio stone on his toe. It was very painful; the nail turned purple, and eventually fell off. I told him that maybe the "Toenail Fairy" would come if he put his toenail under his pillow. Eagerly he did so, and woke up to a wonderful surprise. When he asked if there really was a "Toe Fairy," we told him that no, it was just his mom. Well, his eyes lit up as he got a brilliant idea...the next morning, I had a treat under my pillow! Oh, was he excited to be the cause of such a surprise. Soon he was surprising other members of the family with treats under their pillows as well! Oh, the pure joy those secret acts of giving gave him! He was learning how to give joyfully to others without thinking only of himself! What a blessing, and great gift that has been to him! Now, we just never know who will be the recipient of a secret gift from that sneaky fairy in the night.. ..and there's never any doubt as to who that fairy is...it's the one who is grinning from ear to ear!
So, don't deprive your child of the joy of giving to others, especially in secret. Consider letting them know that the gifts they receive at Christmas, Easter, and Tooth Fairy time are from you, because you love them, and it gives you joy. Encourage giving, especially in secret, all year long. It just may stop the miserable, selfish feeling of entitlement in its tracks, and replace it with joy.