This little word ‘spoiled’ is a very loaded one; one with more than one meaning for parents. There are many versions of spoiling a child – a nagging adult accusing you of spoiling your child, a kind grandparent who spoiled you as a young child by indulging, or a rude unruly kid you might have seen in an aisle of a grocery store throwing a fit. Here, we are looking at spoiled in the situation where a child, not the parent, is in control.
We all spoil our kids at one time or other. Even at daycare, our teachers do occasionally spoil them with an extra serving of dessert or an extra story during story time. We do sometimes go through times when we have a hard time setting limits, allow more emotional leeway than necessary, buy kids too much of everything – all amounting to a path we choose with the least resistance. This has never hurt a child so long as it happens occasionally. Ask yourself this: has the occasionally become more often than usually? If spoiling your kids with a treat has become a daily pattern, it is probably a good time to start setting limits and start assuming some control. Remember, you can still show your love to your child without having to buy him things.
A mother of our daycare child once asked if there was a way to spoil your child emotionally. Isn’t one main mantra of successful parenting to love your child as much as possible? There is a fine line though between being loving parents and always wanting to give your child happiness and contentment. Effective parenting is not linking the feeling of being loved to an ongoing feeling of happiness. Effective parenting says that loving parents will allow their child to experience anger, frustration and sadness as well. Only then will they know the true joy of feeling happy and knowing how to appreciate happy moments. Over indulging a child emotionally does not equate to loving them.
Kids at our daycare do experience frustration and sadness when play time is over and study time begins. But if we don’t allow them to experience this, how will we appreciate their 100 watt grin when it is time to play after study time?