The demand for instant gratification is destructive. This pattern, if not stopped, will result in a life dominated by the desire for immediate gratification. Immediate gratification is the gateway to a life of destructive, abusive relationships, pornography, substance abuse, abusive behavior.
If you hear your child frequently complain or grumble, you are hearing a child who is becoming a slave to his own desires.
Sin feeds on the desire for immediate happiness. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. One moment everything is fine. Then he sees his brother with a toy that he wants and he immediately erupts with a howl that sounds like he is being tortured. Why? Because he doesn’t have what he wants, what he thinks he deserves.
Complaining and grumbling are not compatible with a life of praise. The Bible teaches that God is a faithful God. He does no wrong, he is always to be praised. (Deuteronomy 32:3-5; Philippians 2:14-15) If God is always faithful, there is no room for grumbling and complaining.
Complaining is the opposite of praise. Praise is being aware of and motivated by God’s constant goodness and grace. Merely telling a child to stop complaining will not stop the advance of this corrosive sin. Only praise and gratitude to God for his faithfulness can do that. If complaining is not replaced with genuine praise your child remains vulnerable to a life dominated by self-pity and abuse.
Praise is a constant theme throughout the Psalms and the epistles. We are commanded to praise because if we do not praise we revert to our natural desires, we become self-absorbed.
Just as you teach your child not to yell or to put others first or to come quickly when called or not to steal or to be quiet or to share or not to lie, you must also teach them to praise. None of these actions are natural for your children. They all require the life-changing power of Christ.
You do not know when God will work in your child’s heart to turn his obedience to you as parents, into the genuine obedience that comes from a new heart. That is not up to you. In faithfulness you must lovingly encourage all that God has commanded, trusting that he will use these confrontations to bring your child to Christ.
Praise is the attitude that must replace complaining. Ask God to work that first in you and then in your children.
“I want it” is about pleasing self. Praising God is about dying to self.