Do I spoil my Children?

This has been on my mind for a while and I suppose came to ahead last week after a tough day with the girls (read about it here). Firstly, I want to clarify that my girls are really good, we very rarely have to shout or punish them but the last few months I have been pondering with the question, am I spoiling our girls?

Now, when I think of a spoilt child the image of a child stamping their feet and demanding things comes into my head, this is not my girls at all. They are polite, courteous and kind. However, they have a room full of toys which they rarely play with and they often get bought new stuff, nothing big but maybe a book, a small doll or sweets on a weekly basis. We are not well off at all but we can afford, whilst they are young, to buy them generally what they want. Don’t get me wrong, any big toys they have to wait for birthdays but then we will get it for them. At Christmas they get a lot, not just from us but from Grandparents, Aunties, friends, etc. Like most families, if something new comes out on the pictures we take them to see it, we get them tickets for shows like Disney on Ice because we know they will love it. The list goes on.

As a family we do so much, we are always out and about visiting places and experiencing new things and I love this.  I want their life to be filled with adventures and fun however sometimes I feel that our girls are taking it for granted, it is just a given that we will be going somewhere fun every weekend and they will get a treat. I try to explain how lucky they are, that a lot of children don’t spend their weekends at beaches or parks or fairs or trying new foods but obviously they are only young. I wrote a recent post about our disappointing trip to the zoo, where they were miserable and petulant and, whilst the majority of the time they are happy and grateful, I would never want to make them spoilt and indulgent.

It is hard to get the balance right, you love them and you want to give them whatever they want, whatever makes them happy, however you don’t want to make them spoilt. I guess they also need to be taught that they can’t always get what they want – as they get older things will be out of your control – friends, boyfriends, clubs.

I suppose the one thing we are quite firm on is discipline, we can be quite strict. If they are naughty we do punish them, if they are hard work when we are out then they don’t get a treat.

I do think some changes need to be made, I have already decided that tickets to shows need to be a Christmas or Birthday treat and, if they want a toy from these shows, they need to save some Christmas money. I have also thought about a charity jar so when they start receiving pocket money they will be encouraged to put some in their charity jar to make them realise that it is important to give to those less fortunate.

Do you worry you spoil your Child?

One Messy Mama

48 thoughts on “Do I spoil my Children?

  1. This is definitely us too, I think it is so easy when they are little to do this as they don’t really understand what it all means. But, then suddenly I have a preschooler and she is starting to get it! I have started to give less and also they save up the money that has been given to them and then take them to the shop and they can choose something. I have found this really helps, as when Alice now sees anything she would like I can say save up your money and she understands. x #BloggerClubUK

    1. I know mine don’t understand, if Meme has money she has to spend it straight away (a bit like me!) but I know as she gets older she will start to get it a bit more. Thanks for your comment x

  2. You raise such a good point – it’s very easy when they are little to buy little inexpensive things but it sounds like you’re parenting so well! It does get a little easier as they get older as they start to appreciate the value of money. One of my daughters babysits and she is really good at saving her money so I have a deal with her that if she wants something like new trainers that she doesn’t need then I’ll put half to it – it really encourages her to save up to buy the things she wants. It sounds like you’re doing a grand job though! #BloggerClubUk

  3. I’d say, don’t overthink it. You sound like you’re an amazing parent and at the end of the day, life is short, so why not spoil your little ones. At the same time, teach them the value of what they have and then they will appreciate everything. You are clearly a brilliant mummy so enjoy making your little ones happy xx #BloggerClubUK

  4. I am always very honest about the fact that yes, we DO spoil our children. But they are always grateful, their manners are impeccable and they are not bratty or spoilt as you describe above, having tantrums and stamping their feet. We waited for a long time for this family of ours and if we can spoil them then why not? #sharewithme

    1. Yes why not – I say this to my husband, if we can afford it then why not, one day we might not be able to. I think it is just about getting the right balance. Thanks for your comment lovely x

  5. It’s a difficult one, isn’t it? I feel the same – I want Max to have fun days out as a family which is what my childhood was filled with. But with things like Annual Passes, you end up making these visits such a regular thing that you can’t help but wonder if he’ll come to expect it and not fully appreciate it as a treat. And of course he has the same mountain of presents at Christmas and birthdays! It sounds like you’re getting the right balance though – and if your girls are well behaved and polite then I think that being grateful for what you have just comes naturally as they get older, it’s a difficult concept for little ones to grasp I think. #bloggerclubuk

  6. This is a really hard one to call as I don’t think there’s a right and wrong answer. It depends on the family, the child and their particular circumstances. Like you, we encourage the Tubblet to save up for the things she wants, are honest about what we can and can’t afford and set boundaries on treats etc.

    We also talk to her about the fact we’re very blessed as both of us are earning and are able to afford everything we need, plus most of what we want. Apart from the completely fantastic stuff like a sports car! She knows that not everyone’s in the same position because we’re involved in the local foodbank.

    Good luck with figuring out what works for you, but it sounds like you’ve got the issue well in hand.

    1. Thanks lovely, it is good that you are involved in the local foodbank. I think maybe we need to do something like this to make them more aware that others aren’t as lucky as us. x

  7. Yes, I do think I spoil them too much, especially my oldest. I was spoiled as child myself because I was the only child but I need to keep it down a bit. The problem is that daddy likes spoiling them. #sharewithme

  8. It’s a really difficult call. I’m like you in the fact that my children get treats on a weekly basis and I’m forever picking stuff up for them and we do lots with them and they get everything they ask for at Christmas and birthdays. But my little girl never expects it. She isn’t a demanding child. I never have to bribe her with the treats that she gets. I am in the mind frame that we luckily can afford to do so, therefore we do it. I wouldn’t feel at all guilty though if I couldn’t afford to do it, it’s just life. I say so long as your children are happy and grateful and it makes you happy treating them then go for it. Life is too short and they are only little for such a short time xxx #sharewithme

  9. This is something I worry about all of the time. Like you we aren’t “rich” but we can afford to get small treats. For example if we are out somewhere we will often get the girls a drink and cake, they have one each and Mr C and I will do without. We also make sacrifices so that oldest can attend her three after school clubs and youngest can attend her club. I do worry that they take this granted and that they don’t appreciate the sacrifices we have had to make for it. On the other hand they are polite and we are always very firm with them. It is a tricky one isn’t it! #bloggerclubuk

    1. We are the same,not just with money I rush home from work (at times having to leave meetings or deadlines) to make sure she can attend the ballet class she want to go and sometimes I am not sure she appreciates it, but she is only young and I guess our parents were the same It is only now I realise how much they must of sacrificed for us. Thanks for your comment x

  10. My little girl is only 4 months old and I’m already getting comments about her being “spoiled”. The way I see it is that if you can give them everything, why not? They will appreciate it and have so many stories to tell as they get older. I understand the worry to a point, but if the manners are there and you’re not just giving in to their every demand, what’s the harm? #bloggerclubuk

  11. I love it when points like this are raised because I think it is so important to keep tabs on things like this. I would hate my children to expect to have things as they get older. I know they won’t be brattish, but I don’t want them to have expectations and demands. The most important things in life can’t be bought anyway, and I want them to be pleased by simple things xx

  12. This a fabulous post and raises such an important question that I am sure many people worry about (including me!) You sound like you are doing an amazing job and striking a great balance. I love the idea of a charity jar – that’s so lovely. Life is so short, you mustn’t feel bad for making the most of it and providing your little ones with wonderful memories. They sound like wonderful children. And all children will have their moments (as we do as adults) so carry on doing what you are doing 🙂 x

  13. I could have written this myself, agree with all your points! My son is 3 and he is very polite, kind and well behaved. We’re not well off but I can’t resist buying him little treats if he’s been good whether thats a magazine or some sweets or a small toy. A friend of mine commented that I spoiled him as she only bought her son things on his birthday/christmas and it made me wonder whether I was spoiling him or whether she was just being a mean mum lol!! #sharewithme x

    1. Thank you for your comment, it is a hard one to get right but I do think if they are nice little people then you don’t mind buying them things and taking them places.

  14. I have two boys and have often pondered these things myself. My boys are great kids and I rarely have to yell or punish them but when they were younger (they are now 9 and 14), I often questioned whether or not I was spoiling them. I think many parents question this. I have learned through my schooling however, that if they are acting a bit selfish, remember that it’s completely normal for them to act this way. Developmentally speaking it’s not that they are spoiled but that their small world literally revolves around them but I love that you are seeing this and are trying to take steps to prevent them from being spoiled in the future. I do the same with my boys and I love the idea of a charity jar! That is such a good idea! I hope you find this helpful:) Popping over from #momsterlink

  15. My thoughts exactly… it’s a point I raise with my husband ever so often. My 2.5 year old is a good boy (barring the occasional tantrum!) but he, like your girls, is lucky to have a roomful of toys, fun outings every weekend and occasional small gifts. My hubby often buys him things he likes, may be just a book or a Hot Wheels car, but my point is not the size of the gift but the EXPECTATION of it. It is indeed a tough balance to strike. We love seeing how happy he gets with his newest possession but we don’t want him to take it all for granted. i guess as they get a bit older and understand the concept of money, and saving, we can reason with them? You’re doing the right thing; great parenting and great post!
    (On that note I always tell my toddler that daddy and mummy go to work to earn money so that we can buy you things like food and clothes and toys, so you must appreciate it).
    PS: I love the idea of the charity jar…
    #momsterslink

  16. I feel that my children sometimes feel they are being left out of big days out. We try our best, but sometimes we just can’t afford things (hence our many days out in the woods). Don’t get me wrong they still get treats, but I have told them that they can’t expect sweets etc all the time. I love spoiling them, but have learnt that it’s not always necessary. Sarah #FabFridayPost

  17. You are so right about the delicate balance of good old love, and spoiled rotten brats.None of us want the latter. Thanks for this post. It reminds me how we are not alone walking the ropes and others have ideas and useful suggestions! #FabFridayPost

  18. You raise a very good point and one which I have been considering for sometime. I think I am probably spoiling monkey in a similar way. Not so much with toys more with days out and shows! Which he now asks for because we haven’t been doing much as I have got into late pregnancy. Its become something that he expects and so something we will need to address to. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again this week x

  19. We are just like this and I always like to make this distinction: there’s a difference between spoiled and spoilt in my mind – spoiled is when they get lots of things – material, experiences and emotional. But as long as they don’t act spoilt (like you say – feet stamping, petulance etc) then I’ll continue to do it. They only get one childhood and I don’t want to deprive them unnecessarily 🙂 #marvmondays

  20. You hit the nail on the head, it’s so difficult to create that balance! We want them to be so happy, have what they want and experience so much, but of course, with that can come kids that don’t really appreciate that. I know I’m just completely winging it and hoping my son does grow up appreciative but it’s a tough one! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  21. I think its only natural if the kids are being good and you have the pennies to buy them things here and there and everywhere. It’s hard not to spoil them but looking at the bigger picture is important and at a very young age I don’t think it is a problem but now as my kids get older I think about spoiling them and them expecting everything to always be handed to them. We started making them choose what toys they want to give to charity if they don’t play with them and saving their birthday or christmas money for big things they want and we also have what’s call family contributions where they have to help out around the house but not chores because they shouldn’t get paid for putting in their effort and share of helping the family out so like setting the table helping with dishes or laundry anything extra they get an allowance but those things I think is imporant for them to know when they move out a house doesn’t run its self nor pay you for it when you move out. lol But you sound like you are on the perfect track of balance between a lovely happy life and a non spoiled one lovely. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  22. I agree with you…I want my kids to have the best childhood that I can possibly give them. I want them to have a better experience than I did. I think as parents that’s what all of us want for our children. So sometimes this also means spoiling them. But we also need to teach them how to be humble. I have thought about taking mine with me to volunteer somewhere for the less fortunate. Like a soup kitchen. They need to understand that they are very lucky to have the life they have…and I myself can be reminded of that too. Thanks so much for linking up with #momsterslink! Hope to see you again this week.

  23. Me and my other half talk about this all the time with our 12 yo, he’s incredibly well mannered and very polite but sometimes it feels like we’re treating him a lot! But the lovely thing is that he doesn’t expect it at all and would think nothing of it if he didn’t get the treats – but I agree that finding the balance can be so tricky. x #bloggerclubuk

  24. This has made me think as the way you describe your children’s lifestyle is similar how our daughter is treated. I am so keen for her to experience as much as possible and love seeing her happy but I haven’t thought much about whether this is spoiling her. I know me and particularly my husband will be firm as she grows up about learning the value of money and that you have to work hard to get rewards but perhaps treating her a lot now is building a foundation where she will grow to expect rewards regardless of her behaviour. I think as soon as she gains better understanding and capability we will get her to do ‘work’ at home and choose from a couple of options of what she would like to do for fun. x #maternitymondays

  25. I definitely worry about this and think it is so hard to strike a balance. But yours don’t sound spoilt at all, just like normal children. I hope that because we worry about spoiling them that we won’t as a result, if that makes sense! Xx

  26. We all want to do lovely things for our children, to make them feel loved and special and ensure they are happy. A little gift or treat here and there makes their day and you feel good about it too. We can not afford many days out or tons of toys but the odd special thing here and there is always appreciated by our children. The fact that you are thinking about what you are doing, what you are teaching them and what you can do to make them realise others are less fortunate, I’d say you are doing a pretty damn good job. Finding a balance can be hard on topic like this but it is you seem to have got it right for you. #maternitymondays

  27. My eldest is definitely spoilt and he is sometime the stamping feet kind of spoilt too. It is hard to find a balance, I do tell him all the time that he is lucky he gets so much but I do also say no sometimes..he needs to learn sometimes we don’t always get what we want and that things cost money which we don’t have loads of. Your girls sound lovely though so try not to worry too much xx #dreamteam

  28. I think this is a very natural worry. But as long as they are well-behaved I don’t see the harm in it. Teaching them about less fortunate people and the wisdom as they get older will bring out their sympathetic side that helps others. It’s a very large concept for small kids, but one they eventually understand. #GlobalBlogging

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