It’s a balance: treating your kids without spoiling them. I love doing all kinds of special things for my children. In saying that, I DO NOT want my children to become spoilt brats. Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind when I think of the words spoilt brat. You know the song: “I want today, I want tomorrow; it’s my bar of chocolate, give it to me now.”
A Veruca Salt is not what I hope for my children but, oh, I do love lavishing all kinds of good things on my kids. So, how do I find the balance? Not sure but I’ve jotted some thinkings down.
1. Don’t Ask Me
This is a conversation I have with my children: Mum and Dad love buying you things and we are always looking for ways to give you a good time. When we are out at the shop, or anywhere else, I don’t want you to ask for lollies, toys or food. Firstly, this takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the giving for Mum and Dad. Secondly, if we don’t buy you things there’s a good reason.
Note: This is a general rule about shopping, outings and such. It’s not a blanket never-ask-for-anything rule.
2. Show me
When we are out and about, the children often show me things they love — I like that. It helps me understand them a little more when they share with me what they love. My nine year old will say, “Oh look Mum, that’s just my style.” There’s a difference between showing and asking.
3. Money doesn’t grow on trees
It’s a cliché and there is a good point to it. I want my children to understand that money needs to be earned and taken care of; yet not loved. I would rather teach them to make their own bricks than lay down the road for them.
4. A grateful heart
Just today, I went out with my sister and our children for morning tea. I didn’t want to be out late in the afternoon because I had to organise for school tomorrow. Now, our children got scheming, as cousins do. My kids were desperate to go back to their cousins house to have a swim. I said that I had a busy afternoon and we probably couldn’t fit it in. The “Yes Mum” attitude prompted me to put the effort in to drop by my sisters house on the way home to give the children a 30 minute swim. I’m always looking for a grateful heart in my children (and Mums can’t be fooled; it has to be real). When it is real, all kinds of wonderful things happen.
When things don’t happen the way my children want or expect, it can be disappointing. I acknowledge things can be sad and I don’t discourage the emotion. What I do discourage is the “It’s not fair” and “Mum doesn’t care” attitude. Be disappointed, yes; be ungrateful, no.
6. Too much honey
That last piece of chocolate never tastes quite as good as the first, does it? Too many special activities or food makes the special things not so special anymore — and that’s sad.
7. Go all out
When I can spoil the kids without thought of balance — I do! On special occasions like Christmas, family holidays and birthdays I go all out and just spoil the kids rotten.
Much effort goes into loving the children and this includes giving them a wonderful childhood filled with all kinds of goodness. In weak moments, the loving goodness can turn into a reactive pacify-the-child mentality. That’s when I go back to the drawing board and reestablish the act of loving but not spoiling.
What do you think about spoiling and finding the balance?