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Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:51

Spoiled Children?

Interestingly, Circle of Moms just recently published this article on how to tell if a child is spoiled. 

It gives ten 'signs', including frequent tantrums, being unsatisfied, unhelpful and ungrateful, attempting to control adults and embarrass parents in public, an inability to share, disobedience unless bribed, ignoring parents, and an inability to play alone.  

I love when websites come out with lists like these, because they are always followed up with about a billion angry comments from parents saying 'What??? You can't expect a 2-year-old to know how to share!!! That doesn't mean they're spoiled - my kid isn't spoiled!!!".  I always kind of assume that parents who are so defensive of something like this are probably the parents who are actually just trying to convince themselves... but maybe not.  

Anyway, the article says very clearly that they are all 'possible' signs, and gives an appropriate age and frequency for all of these so I don't see the need to be offended.  And of course, everyone needs to realize that all of these things can be part of normal child development, and when we see children behaving this way in public, it is completely unfair of anyone to assume 'spoiled' or to judge the parents in any way.

It gets me thinking, though - because I, of course, don't want to raise 'spoiled' children. But what are spoiled children, really? 

I was a spoiled child - and the comment above about 'embarrassing parents in public' (assuming deliberately) is interesting to me, because I've never heard this before, and because I did this to my Dad all the time.  I didn't realize that I was trying to do it for attention, but it's likely that attention is exactly what I was looking for. 

I was 'spoiled' because I grew up being given everything I wanted in life without having to work for it - which means that I have a little bit of an entitlement problem, and it stresses me out sometimes when I can't buy things I 'want' whenever I want them. I also wasn't expected to help out at home with chores (until I was older, but by then I think it was too little too late), and I struggle with keeping my own house in order because I'm seriously not good at disciplining myself to do something I don't 'want' to do. I desperately do not want to pass along these same struggles to my children. 

We don't give Clara everything she wants, but we do give her a lot, and rarely do we leave the house without getting her some kind of treat - and she's perpetually in need of new clothes, and my clothes-buying money-saving method means I spend $10-20 dollars on sale items each and every time I go to the mall to spread out the cost over time, and to make sure I don't over-purchase items until I really know she needs them.  Is seeing us come home with bags of clothes for her seemingly constantly going to hurt her somehow in the long run? Is it ok?

I'm inclined to think that yes, this will be ok, provided she learns the value of working for things as she grows - which may be more difficult if she seems to be getting a lot of 'stuff', but not impossible. And so far, she really is a good shopper - we don't have temper tantrums or begging fits in the mall.  She will ask for things, by saying 'I buy this?' or 'Is this mine?', and she is totally ok with being told 'No'. She stays with us and doesn't run off if we let her walk down the mall beside us instead of being in a stroller, and is actually quite patient when we shop for something 'boring' for a toddler.

When I was a child, I remember seeing the giant pink teddy bear that a friend's Dad had bought her for Valentine's Day.  I was so impressed because I didn't get any kind of gifts for the 'minor' holidays except candy and chocolates. Maybe it was simply my spoiled-child-syndrome that wanted another opportunity to get more 'stuff' (this is likely, actually), but I've carried that with me as a good idea. I also liked how this family had taken Valentine's Day from being simply a holiday for lovers, and had made it a holiday for anyone you loved. As I grew older, I liked the idea of giving something that wasn't always candy to kids...

We get fliers from Build-a-Bear in the mail, and recently I saw this bear. I love him, because he looks a little bit like the bear I loved growing up, and thought it would be a cool Valentine's Day gift for Clara.  It also occurred to me that I probably didn't want to get her a new bear for every holiday, but the beautiful thing about Build-a-Bear is that they carry a ton of accessories for bears and I thought that after buying her this bear- we could buy it a t-shirt or accessory for each holiday instead of getting her candy or a larger gift... Thoughts? Is this too materialist? I really am a fan of minimalism, but I also like toys - like teddy bears and dolls - that you can play with in many ways, and dress up, etc.  so it kind of feels like just one toy still. 

Am I on the road to raising a spoiled child? 

Read 1846 times Last modified on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 23:41

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