The other night this came up; are we spoiling our children? It was a great subject to get our teeth into. Strong opinions and evidence based arguments were thrown around. Majority of us felt no, but these days’ children do have so much, but is it a case of keeping up with Jones’ rather than actually spoiling them?
From the beginning we want the best; the best buggy, the best nursery furniture, the best clothes but when does having the best things for them stop? Does our desire for wanting the best things for them rub off on them? It then becomes not just about materialistic things it also becomes about the things we do with them like walking, lunches, cake, dinners, activities; these things we can take for granted because we are able to do them with our children, but not all have that luxury. A walk through woods climbing trees is free but for some families is never done. Feeding the ducks or visiting the playground again is free and so easy but for so many children this isn’t something they do.
Our children often grumble at being dragged to another country park, not another walk echoes round the car. But once we arrive, all is forgotten and they are off. Is this because they know no different? They do not realise some children do not have these adventures. Is this being spoilt or just what they are used to?
It’s a difficult one, our weekends consist of breakfast and sometimes dinner out, walks and other little adventures which we don’t want to stop, but how do we teach them that we are lucky to be able to do these things? Breakfast is easily over 20 quid for us all. For us growing up, meals out were a treat, something we used to get so excited about, even down to the colouring books and crayons you got at some places. For our children though the worry is it’s taken for granted cause its done so often. Is giving more leading children to expect more?
Lets talk about pocket money. The weekly pocket-money in our day was a pound and it stayed about that much until we were teenagers, it certainly didn’t go up with inflation. The average amount children aged 10 upwards receive now is £9.50. £9.50!!! Then on top of their weekly pocket-money they get paid for chores, 50p for hanging out washing, £1 for walking the dog etc. quite quickly that £9.50 could turn into £15. So is this teaching them finance skills and work ethic or just spoiling them?
Let’s be honest, we look at other people and want what they have. Sadly it’s the era that we live in and we are made constantly aware of how people live even more so with social media. If someone has a big house, we want a bigger house, if someone has a nice car, we need a new car, if someone has lots of clothes we want to go shopping. Do we then never appreciate what we have or are we just constantly striving for more, not recognising that we are doing pretty well already. Are we potentially doing the same for our children? Yes, they do chores and eventually will get little jobs, but as they see the pile of money growing, the list of things they want will grow with it. Will they really learn the value of money?
We both work as well as our husbands. We want to be able to give our children nice things, we ourselves want nice things, experiences, holidays and the odd meal out. Does money ultimately define if a child is spoilt or is it us keeping up with the people around us?
spoilt – having the character or disposition harmed by pampering or over solicitous attention; “a spoiled child”
Throughout this blog, we have not mentioned our children’s behavior. From the definition above, how they behave is the give away for being spoilt. We have brought up well-rounded children who yes throw tantrums when they don’t get something- normal, but as parents we stick to our decisions. We try not give in to their noisy and dramatic demands, however hard or embarrassing the display is or feel guilty after. We give our children quality time, therefore not spoiling them with gifts to over compensate. You can’t spoil a child with too much love, surely?
This was a juicy subject and makes you have a think about how you raise your little ones. Should we stop comparing ourselves to other families YES (easier said than done). Are we guilty of presents here and there YES. Bribery and tactical purchases YES (sometimes this is a must). But are we also fair and consistent (as much as sleep deprived, tired parents can be) persevering in bringing up polite, well-behaved, grateful children who have wonderful memories with their parents. ‘Presence not presents’.
We can only do our best right? If taking our children out for dinners from time to time and annual holidays is classed as spoiling them, then we are guilty over here. We do these things not just for them but for us. Yes sometimes we may think to ourselves “Why do we do this, when they don’t appreciate it”. Before we know it our children will grow up and they will become to cool to holiday with their old parents and too busy to make time for dinners or days out. So for us we are embracing the few years we get to be able to do these things, to be able to SPOIL them while we can.