We all want our kids to feel secure and be happy, but do we want to spoil them? Well, there is a difference between spoiling them and spoiling them rotten. Why Modern Moms are Raising Victims (And How to Stop)
Grandparents ain’t the only ones who want to give their little loved ones every good thing.
I constantly find myself wanting to do/buy over the top things for my children.
I don’t want to do it because I think material things make for a better childhood, as cheesy as it sounds, I want to do it because my heart swells with some overwhelming emotion where I want to make them the happiest children in the world.
And, that’s okay.
There’s a difference between spoiled and spoiled rotten.
But because I also know disciplined children are by far happier than undisciplined ones, I try to temper my spoiling with character building.
If their attitude moves towards stink on the rotten scale, I examine my recent efforts at discipline and make a change.
How do you know your kids are over-ripe-headed towards-rotten? Ask yourself these questions.
- Do they expect something special every time you go to the store?
- Do they say thank you when you do something special for them or complain it wasn’t what they wanted?
- Do they pout/give you the silent treatment/chuck a tantrum if you say no?
- Are they willing to share their toys with their siblings and friends?
You get where I’m going with this. It is actually a disservice to your children to spoil them in a way that leaves them feeling entitled. Better they know the world doesn’t revolve around them now than find it out the hard way with a future spouse or boss.
There are some things you can do to help your kids receive all your special treatment without developing a VIP attitude. And, it must be said, all children will struggle with gratitude.
Just like adults.
It’s consistency we’re aiming for, not perfection.
The Difference between Spoiling and Spoiling Rotten
Let’s not leave the spoiling only to the grandparents, but let’s do it wisely without raising foolish children.
1. Make spoils special
Aside from birthdays and Christmas don’t make a habit of giving gifts every time you go to the store or out in public. If a gift becomes expected or they have a “where’s my present?” attitude then dial down the giving.
When they act appreciative that’s a sign they are not spoiled rotten.
2. You can tell your kids no
You will seriously regret giving your child everything they believe they want when they want it.
Do they get to decide what they eat at every meal?
Do they determine when meal time, nap times or play times start and finish?
Are your instructions carried out?
When you ask them to do something do they comply or do they ignore you or procrastinate?
Currently, I’d class my kids as being spoiled rotten. Yes, I would. This past pregnancy was tough on me and things slid where I normally wouldn’t let them go.
I’m currently working hard to tell them no without being a mean mom.
3. Guide their actions and habits
Whereas an adult acts based on what they believe, a child simply acts. After they have acted for a while they will then develop their beliefs around your positive or negative reinforcements.
Discipline helps children understand what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, and just plain not okay.
But remember, childishness is not bad behavior.
They will rise or lower themselves to your expectations and so you should be looking out for their actions and how you may build their character through this. In short, character building is the name of the game.
Give them all the love, attention and time you have, but know when enough is enough.
4. Spoil with love not things
You can’t ever give your children enough love, acceptance, and time.
A heartfelt conversation at bedtime will go further than a new toy. A trip to do something special together will make memories that last longer than the toy they’ll throw under their bed.
If you know one of your children is feeling left out or lonely, think of a way you can give them of yourself (being a present parent is a good way to start) not just give them something.
5. Notice how they treat things
If your children take care of their things and seem to value them, you know they aren’t taking your gifts for granted. If they get something and immediately throw it to the side, perhaps a gift fast is in order.
While it’s normal for children to lose interest in things fairly quickly, we don’t want to encourage an attitude of privilege or entitlement.
Read: How to Raise Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
Basically… let’s give the kids ourselves.
They’ll remember that more than any toy.
What an awesome post, really! “Discipline helps children understand what is right and wrong…” Couldn’t have said it better myself! Children need guidance, and that what parents are for. If we don’t teach them, the world will teach them differently. It’s more than ok to say no, at times, it’s actually required. I have two boys under 4 and They are in the spoiled rotten category right now too ? I’ve got work to do! Thanks for such an honest and inspirational post. :)
Rachel Norman says
Naomi, ha, all of parenting is a big learning curve isn’t it :)
Great article, Rachel. I have guilt, but then I think, man, am I saying no too much?! Just being aware helps. I did however, do something I don’t normally do because I felt he needed it. I pulled him out of school early, so we could go jump at the trampoline park together and I didn’t feel guilty! We both needed it and I knew we were making memories (and my body needed that workout!) No joke, I almost cried when we were about to leave and that Kenny Chesney song, “There Goes My Life” came on! :)
Rachel Norman says
Ha, great fun idea in my opinion ;)
I guess I’m not spoiled rotten then… just plain spoiled. I do have a lot of clothing, but I appreciate them.