Treat Your Kids Without Spoiling Them

treat your kids without spoiling them

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.

5. Emotions

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?

Be A Fun Mum Links

Siblings: Friends for Life

Parenting Siblings: Is it Fair?

Childishness or Foolishness

Choose Which Hill to Die On: The Terrible Twos

I Have Three Crushes

Three Gates: Words of Wisdom

Hands Behind Back

Personality: Heads and Tails

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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Comments

  1. says

    I am just learning the emotional component this year, and it feels so nice to let them know it’s okay to be angry/sad, but certain behaviors such as hitting/speaking meanly are not okay. (For so long I found myself trying to squash the “bad” emotions. Turns out they are all okay, and just part of us and part of life)

    I’m learning the whole “expressing my emotions in a healthy way” thing this year, and I am really looking forward to passing on what I learn to my little ones.

    As for the rest of the post, you are right on target, as usual!

    • says

      It took me a while to learn (or I should say learning) the emotional component. I have found though, that when I acknowledge my children’s feelings, they get over it much quicker. And I think too, it helps to avoid resentment.

  2. says

    From what you’ve said here, Kelly, it’s obvious you are raising kids who are not just easy to live with (something I think is very important!), but who are also learning to develop their own inner resources (probably most important of all.) If we give in constantly, they learn to manipulate by whining. If we’re inflexible and watch and punish their every move, they repress their feelings until they’re away from us, and then they cut loose in inappropriate ways. By acknowledging their feelings and making our own standards clear, I think we’re doing our kids a very big favour.

    Great post!

    • says

      I just can’t get over how you can sum things up so beautifully with words BC.

      “By acknowledging their feelings and making our own standards clear, I think we’re doing our kids a very big favour. ” In a nutshell.

  3. says

    I love your parenting philosophy!! I enjoy being able to spoil my children on special occassions and giving surprise treats every now and then. I think this teaches them the value of ‘money not growing on trees’. I also give my children pocket money which they need to save up for things they want to buy in between. How would they be as adults if they just kept expecting things to come easy or having a sense of entitlement?

    The section on a ‘grateful heart’ speaks my language! My husband and I have a goal of taking our children to underprivileged areas/countries every few years, so they can be aware of the rest of the world’s plight and also thankful for where they are.

    Great post!

  4. Anna says

    Another sensible and thoughtful post Kelly. It’s such a great resource you’re providing for parents.

    I suggested your blog to my office today ( I work at Child Safety) as a support resource for parents that we work with.

    Keep up the excellent work!

  5. says

    Loved this!
    We struggle a lot with the ‘not fair’s or the ‘I never get what I want’ and it drives me batty, but when I stop and think about it I have to confess that they probably learnt this from me…. so I know I need to be a better role model too!

    • says

      Thanks Kate. I too often catch myself thinking “I WISH the kids wouldn’t do this or that”. And then I suddenly realise that I’m the worst offender. I have to change my own behaviour before I work on my kids’. Along the lines of what my Dad said, “Teach your kids and if necessary, use words.”

  6. says

    I love this too.

    Re: the emotional component, I love your summary: be disappointed – yes, be ungrateful – no. I will remember that one.

  7. says

    Totally true. I’m always struggling with the “can I have’s” when we go shopping and it drives me insane. But the days when they don’t ask are the ones when I actually buy them a treat. I’m taking your lead and will be more forceful about the don’t ask rule now. :)

  8. says

    This is exactly the balance we try to achieve. You’ve explained it so well. There’s nothing like the joy of lavishing special treats on our children, but you don’t want to make it so commonplace that they come to expect it and that it loses it’s specialness.

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