If there is one word you do not want to hear as a parent about your child it’s “spoiled.” Recently, someone told me that my kids are spoiled and I wasn’t quite sure how to process that sentence. Does that make me a bad mother? Should I be changing something about myself or my parenting style? Am I ruining my children?
Spoiled has such a negative connotation. I have never heard someone use the word spoiled in a positive light, have you?
Spoiled apple, spoiled meat, spoiled time, spoiled brat.
Do I spoil my kids? Probably.
Let me explain.
I was raised by a single mom. I always had everything I needed but I was also expected to help out at home more than most kids my age, and I didn’t have any siblings to help divvy up the workload. I still, as an adult, dread washing dishes!
I used to buy everything my kids asked for, down to those crap-ass toys in the check-out line. I also used to pick up everything they left out. EVERYTHING. I wanted them to “enjoy” their childhood. Somehow in my brain, the correlation to enjoying their childhood is the lack of chores or responsibility. I should mention that by used to, I mean for the first 8 years of their lives.
As they got older their crap-ass toys cost more and more, and like the many toys before them, ended up in the trash can. The dirty socks that found themselves on, in, and under the couch could have easily been walked to the laundry room. It’s not like I’m asking them to wash the socks themselves! And it definitely wouldn’t kill them to put their dishes in the sink, even though you would believe they are dying by the sounds that come out of them when I ask.
I remember how it made me feel as a child, and I never want them to feel like they had to do too much or didn’t have enough.
I have since taken the time to reflect on my parenting style and the values I would like to instill in my children. I realized that asking my kids to do something isn’t going to kill them, or me.
Small things I’ve made an effort to change:
- Made them use their own money for things that they think are extremely necessary but I find frivolous. (this is almost everything that isn’t a book, toiletries, food, or clothes)
- Composed a simple chore list to help around the house.
- Instituted an allowance for said chores.
- Opened the floor for conversations about responsibility and why it is so important.
They are small steps but I realize there is a fine line between my childhood and theirs. A line that I am in control of. There is the finest line between children growing into independent productive adults and relying on your parents for everything because you were never given the opportunity to learn to take care of yourself.
Some days I’m the bad guy. I just hope I’m not too late.
Do your children have chores? Do you pay for chores?
There is no wrong answer. Parenting styles differ and whatever you choose for your family is OK!