When I had Sophia, I was (and still is) very intentional about not spoiling her because when she grows up, I figured I’m the one who will have a hard (and expensive) time anyway. I cannot imagine catering to her every whim! Did you know kids outgrow their clothes in like, months? Did you know there are as many toys are there are kids (probably)? Did you know it is very easy to supersize kids, with all the fast food restaurants available in every corner, made even more accessible via delivery?
I am sure had I chosen the other road, I would find a way to manage, but I am glad I made the decision to be tough on Sophia. I want her to realize early in life that she could not always have her way. I would not be too hard set on this if I have not experienced how difficult it is to one day find out that no matter how hard I cry, my philosophy professor would not change my oral exams marks. And no matter how hard I cry, my mother would not (could not) come and cook and do my laundry for me.
Spoiling is not about how much love and time and attention you give your kids. You can’t spoil your children by giving them too much of yourself. In the same way, you can’t spoil a baby by holding her too much or responding to her needs each time she expresses them. We now know better. Responding to and soothing a child does not spoil her – but not responding to or soothing her creates a child who is insecurely attached and anxious. Nurturing your relationship with your child and giving her the consistent experiences that form the basis of her accurate belief that she’s entitled to your love and affection is exactly what we should be doing. In other words, we want to let our kids know that they can count on getting their needs met.
Spoiling, on the other hand, occurs when parents create their child’s world in such a way that the child feels a sense of entitlement about getting her way, about getting what she wants exactly when she wants it, and that everything should come easily to her and be done for her. We want our kids to expect that their needs can be understood and consistently met. But we don’t want our kids to expect that their desires and whims will always be met.
The dictionary definition of “spoil” is “to ruin or do harm to the character or attitude by overindulge or excessive praise.” Spoiling can of course occur when we give our kids too much stuff, spend too much money on them, or say yes all the time. But it also occurs when we give children the sense that the world and people around them will serve their whims.
The problem appears when parents indulge their children by giving them more and more stuff, and sheltering them from struggles and sadness, instead of lavishly offering what their kids really need, and what really matters – their love and connection and attention and time – as their children struggle and face the frustrations that life inevitably brings.Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. And Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. – No Drama Discipline
My mother and I have not been totally in sync about how I raise my daughter. She has always told me (and I totally agree with her) I am too firm on Sophia. When she was a baby, I refused to always pick her up when she cried. Which, according to science, is not spoiling at all, but connecting with a child when he or she is upset. It was refreshing to know that one cannot spoil a child by giving him or her too much emotional connection, attention, physical affection, or love.
I am grateful to Mommy for all she (and Daddy) has done for my daughter. Being a single mother has not been easy, but my parents made it a lot more bearable. Just knowing that they are there for Sophia gives me more strength. And since I raise her alone, and most of the times I wear my bad cop hat, seeing them dote on her sort of balances it out.
Mommy, I am sorry for not listening to you. But now that I know better, I promise I will be there for your beloved granddaughter every time she needs me. Thanks to you and Daddy for spoiling me when I was young. My experience may not have taught me resilience and independence, but like you (and my brothers) would always say, let Sophia be a kid. I have had a relatively happy, worry-free childhood.
I am sorry that we are not together to celebrate your birthday today. Let us try next year if the situation allows. We love you, Mommy!
How does one strike the balance between spoiling and disciplining?
#ToABetterSarah #RaisingSophia #FromZeroToHero