It happens a lot, children get spoiled and by grandparents especially, they are the big culprits. I am personally not a fan of spoiling. Apart from the odd matchbox car I put in the trolley during the occasional grocery shop, gifts are given on special occasions.I was prompted to write this post after having a conversation with someone who felt that ‘spoiling’ was OK and that she did it with her kids and they turned out fine. Perhaps she was lucky?
To me, spoiling children is not only showering them with gifts, especially when they haven’t asked for it, but it’s also letting them ‘get away with murder’ so to speak. I’m sure we are all guilty of simply not having the energy and give in to a tantrum throwing child every now and then, but letting children make the rules and letting them get what they want is also a form of spoiling.
You Don’t Always Get What You Want
The problem with spoiling children from my point of view is that it really doesn’t set them up for the real world, you don’t always get what you want in the real world unless you work hard for it and have patience. Children must understand that inputs determine outcomes. I don’t want to raise a child who expects to be given everything by his parents when he is an adult and can work for it himself. I’m not saying I won’t help out when he needs it, but there’s a difference.
Spoil Intrinsically not Extrinsically
By all means, spoil your children with encouraging words and love, intrinsic things that instill values, a sense of achievement and pride, but limit extrinsically motivated behaviour by giving toys, rewarding with money and so on.
I recall having a discussion with a friend of mine whose son is in primary school and who is going through the stage of coming home requesting particular gadgets because ‘the boy at schools parents bought him one’. Unfortunately these days this seems to be happening too often with new technologies about, it’s all want, want, want. I think it’s really important to teach children that you don’t just get these things. Firstly, they cost money and secondly, to get something as valuable as this, you must work for it. It’s about teaching kids that if they want nice things, they must set goals in order to get them. Parents should also be responsible for helping set the goals too and start small, take baby steps. But remember, they should be the child’s goals and not the parents goals.