Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You can have your cake and eat it, too!



As you know, I can't say no to my children - for the most part. I do try. I swear, I do. And they do listen to me, and they are usually well-behaved. They are as well behaved as can be expected for children their age when we are out visiting friends, or at a restaurant. They are loving, sweet, and they melt my heart. And? I spoil them.

I wanted to do some research to show the positive side of spoiling a child, and I could not find anything. It's all negative. But I wanted you to know, from my first-hand experience, it's okay to spoil a child sometimes. And I'm not talking about just buying them everything their little hearts desire, (but I tend to do that anyway, more so because I just love to shop for them) or letting them get away with terribly bad behaviour, but there are some things we can lighten up on as parents.

First of all, children will be children. They'll have their moments. Moments where they really test your patience. Moments you want to yell at them, to tell them to go to their room, and to apologize. My boys test my patience everyday - like when Dimitry writes on the couch with a marker, or when Christos runs around the house emptying the shredded cheese package all over the floor - yikes! My reaction? "Christos... go get the vacuum." I'm not going to fight with him, or tell him to go to his room - I just deal with the situation and move on.

A perfect example of testing a parent's patience would be my sister, who was spoiled growing up. She turned out to be a wonderful person. No damage done. Even though my mom would do everything for her. For instance, she would make her breakfast every single day. Until the day she got married and moved out. Seriously. Maybe it's just a Greek mom thing, I don't know.

So, one day, my sister came downstairs. She was very young, a mere child.

My mom said: "Good Morning, Gina, what would you like for breakfast? I can make you bacon and eggs, toast and jam, pancakes... what would you want?"

"I want waffles."

"Oh, sweetie, we don't have any...."

"WELL GO GET SOME THEN!"

And before I could turn to my mom to see what her response would be, she was in her car, driving to the store to buy some waffles.

Now, after reading this you probably think my sister is horrible. Or that I was neglected. (Don't worry, I was spoiled too!) But, truth be told, she's not horrible. Sure, as a kid, she had her MOMENTS, like, um, what I described above. But she was excellent in school, not just with her marks, but with her people skills - always friendly, always happy, just a ray of sunshine. She is very personable, to this day - she has tons of friends, she's never in a bad mood, she always see the good in people, and I'm sure even MY friends like her more then they like me. Seriously. She is that nice. I tend to bitch and complain a lot. She does not. She's also not a mother yet, so...

She was a handful as a child. She would throw those tantrums you only read about or perhaps have had first-hand experience with. However, in the long run, despite the fact that she was spoiled - she's a great person. My boys love her, and she is a wonderful aunt who comes over almost every day.

Sometimes, you just have to give in a little more. It's not going to hurt them in the long run. It's really not. As long as you do your job and love them, teach them right from wrong, and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Talk to them about the real world, explore with them, read to them. Spoil them in love and attention. Try not to get mad or upset over the little things they do wrong. They're just children, after all!

If they want to stay up an extra half hour, let them. If they want to eat chocolate for breakfast every so often, indulge them. Have fun with them! I'm not one to live by too many rules with my boys - and they're happy, thriving, smart. And they do test my patience, and they do things that make me shake my head, but I'm not going to stress over the little things, you know?

Life is precious, and our children grow up too fast. Try not to let the little things bother you so much. Enjoy the present, and spoil your children.

17 comments:

Mom on the Go said...

I spoil, too, but have little patience for rudeness. In your example, I'd require a nicely phrased "please go buy waffles" but I'd probably get in the car and go to the store. I'm okay with treating a kid, especially when it's a "treat" and they know to appreciate the rarity.

Jessica said...

I wonder if people think I spoil Hollis. I never get mad at him or upset when he throws a tantrum or breaks something. LOTS of people would deem me a spoiler. To me, it's just being kind.

As with you and your boys, I see it as being kind. And loving.

Now, your little sister hahaha that'd be a tough pill to swallow (for me)! Obviously, though, she had a lot of other wonderful "reality check" type things in her life to allow her to grow up into a well rounded human being. Incidentally, my little sister got everything, too, and she's also sweeter than pie.

I always think of those kids who are just so out of hand on "My Sweet Sixteen" on MTV. They're so rude and entitled and just down right AWFUL to their parents and friends and I see them (who are spoiled in ways beyond my imagination) as being adults who are never happy and always want the next big thing (like they got when they were little).

Chantal said...

I am more concerned with consistency than spoiling. If you are consistent with your kids then they always know what to expect and it is easier for them to behave.

Carrie Lauth said...

I don't know if I agree with everything you've said here, but I have to say this: I believe that as parents, we shape about 20% of our kid's behavior.

In other words, genetics and them just being born who they are (and as moms we know they come into the world so unique!) represent most of who they grow up to be.

So if you're going to be an ass, you'll be an ass no matter how great your parents are. And if you're a good person, you'll be a good person even if you have (god forbid) neglectful or abusive parents.

Lady Mama said...

I agree, I like to spoil my boys and I try not to live by the rules all the time. Sometimes we eat cake for breakfast - not often, but I figure if it's every once in a while, so be it.

I have to admit I was pretty spoiled as a child. But I also grew up in the most wonderfully caring and close family and I treasure that. I will probably spoil our boys a little too much as my parents spoiled me but I'm okay with that. Like you said, generally people (that were spoiled as kids) do tend to grow up to be kind, responsible adults so why worry?

I especially like the point you make about having fun. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we should or shouldn't be doing as parents that we forget to simply enjoy life.

Maria @BOREDmommy said...

I'm a spoiler too I will admit. I spend a ton on my kids for things they need and things that they really don't but if it makes them happy, what could be better. And no I don't worry about spoiling them too much, because I remind them CONSTANTLY that they are very lucky to have the things they have, and that there are many people that are less fortunate. I am also a STICKLER for manners and being polite, so they know that I won't put up with them getting rude or entitled. It won't happen, or I shall put my scary foot down and they don't want to see that.
Don't ever let anyone tell you how to raise your children. People are absolutely entitled to their opinions and if they want to share their experiences, great. But it is up to you to decide whats best for your boys, and your family.
Now for your sister (which I hate to admit sounds much like my little sister in many ways) - the waffle incident was rude, no question. But it was your mom who CHOSE to go ahead and go out to buy that waffle. Old school Greek moms would go out of their way to make their kids happy back in the day - this isn't the craziest thing I've ever heard. Although truth be told my mother would have laughed at her and then told her to go eat her feet for breakfast instead.
Your sister is so going to kick your ass for putting that in your post!!

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

When I had 1 and 2, I spoiled, with 4, you just can't. we do do special days for them but we just can't. One of the bummers of having lots of siblings I guess :(

anya said...

This is a very interesting topic! I am especially impressed that you are doing what you feel is right for you and your kids, rather than what is "expected". You are still teaching them right from wrong, but without all the yelling and power struggles. Kudos to you! I'm going to try this method, too. Thanks!

ModernMom said...

I am a rule enforcer...spoiler on the side. Of course I don't know how I can say this as I watch a little fluff ball of a kitten that I swore up and down that I would never get...run around my family room in circles. Guess we just all do the best we can!

Scattered Mom said...

Jake is an only child, so we hear a lot about the "spoiled only child" stereotype. I don't believe that he's spoiled at all, but some may think so.

There are some things I'll do, but I have limits. Running out to buy waffles would be a no, but I'd get them the next time I shopped, if I was asked. Some things, totally negotiable. Others, no WAY. I do make pretty elaborate lunches for him to take to school-but it's because I acutally enjoy the job, and it makes me happy to know that he's eating healthy.

Jake has always been the kind of kid that needs really firm limits and boundaries, and he actually thrives more when he has them. For instance, there's no way I'd let him have chocolate for breakfast, but he knows that if he gets me in a Chapters I'll easily hand over $25 to buy books.

Maybe spoiling is kinda subjective. What I may think is just having fun (ie taking Jake out for sushi at the end of the school year) someone else might view as 'spoiling' him.

Christy said...

I love your philosophy - it's just like mine. :-)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

We all get to choose our parenting style, right? That is the best thing about it all. Me? Tend to spoil too!

Suzanne said...

Spoiled or not, you are by far one of the best moms I know. Your boys are truly thriving and happy, and you're absolutely amazing with them!

Loukia said...

Thanks everyone, I truly appreciate your comments on this post.

Mom on the Go - I agree, spoiling is okay, but being rude is not so cool...

Jessica, like you said, I agree, it's being kind - and loving.

And Chantal, yes, consistency is key. I have to work on this a bit more!

Carrie - good point.

Lady Mama - and see how wonderful you turned out? :)

Maria - Yup, I tell my kids they are lucky, too, and I know they are appreciative of what they have, etc. We give away what we can, etc., support CHEO several times a year, etc.

Lisa - even though I only have 2 boys, the second doesn't have as many 'new' things as his brother, simply because, well, he can use his brothers trucks, books, crayons, etc...

Thank YOU Anya!

ModernMom - haha... true!

ScatteredMom - Thank you for your comments on this!

Christy and Sara - :) Thanks girls!

Suz... love you!

Chelle said...

I, too, spoil my little girl :) But not in such a way that she'll always expect it. She has rules and they, too, are followed...but I don't see the problem if she wants ice cream after dinner. Why not? Or if she wants a new book.

Someday she'll be all moved out, grown up with her own family...I want her growing up experience to be filled with love, happiness and good memories.

At the same time, though, I make sure she won't expect it...I do have to say no to her occassionally which is probably the hardest thing I have to do... :( But I know in my heart it's the best thing sometime. My husband on the other hand? He has no problem saying no...ha :)

Mama Karebare said...

I soo relate to your post im super close to my mom Love the story

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said...

What a great sentiment! I have recently realized that I need to ease up on enforcing rules. I think sometimes, for a toddler, too many rules can be too much, which leads to meltdowns.

You're obviously a fantastic mom. Your boys are so lucky to have you. :-)

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