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How to Avoid Spoiling Your Children

When you didn't have a good childhood, the reaction can be to do more for your children. But how do you do more without doing too much? What is the middle ground?

Remember, we are trying to raise contributing members of society. We don't want to overcompensate for what we didn't get and create a spoiled, entitled child. Children need structure, guidance, and boundaries. While as parents we want to protect our children, we also have to teach them how to handle situations on their own.

Here are some guidelines I have developed for myself:

You Mean More Than Things

You may have the urge to get your child everything they want because you had to go without when you were a child. I assure you that your child would much rather have you and your time than any toy. Show up for them and teach them about life. Be a person they can count on and show them how much you love them. Don't go overboard on the material things. Experiences are what they will remember later in life.

Communication is Key

Keep an open line of communication with your child as they grow. Children ask a lot of questions, and it can sometimes become overwhelming, but we have to remember they are new to the world, and they are experiencing life for the first time. Of course, there are going to be questions, I still have questions at my age, we have to realize they are asking questions, so they know how things work. If you don't know the answer to their questions, tell them you don't know, and look them up together when you get a chance. You could create a list of questions to look up together later. YouTube and Google are great resources for finding answers to questions.

As we answer questions and give advice, we are teaching our children how to handle situations in the future. We are creating an answer bank of what to do when situations happen. Every time we explain the why to our children, we are developing their critical thinking skills. If we don't explain the why and just expect them to do as we say, they are not developing critical thinking skills to use later in life. For example; if we explain to our children that they must look both ways before crossing the street to make sure cars are not coming so that they won't be hit by a car, we are explaining to them why it is important to look both ways. If we look both ways for them and just tell them to come with us, we are not giving them the skills they need to safely cross the street by themselves. This is a very simple example, but the same logic can be used for everything in life. If we do it for them, or just tell them what to do, without explaining, they will not know what to do once they are on their own.


Have genuine conversations with your child. Listen to them to learn, not to answer. Ask your child about their day, ask them what they are interested in, and really listen to their answers. When you are listening to your child, don't think about what you are going to say in response to what they are saying. When you listen to respond, you are not fully engaged in the conversation. Ask questions, show an interest in their interests, it will mean so much to your child and they will continue to come to you for advice.


Trust that your child is soaking up what you are teaching them. Let your child handle situations on their own. Allow them to make mistakes so they learn from their mistakes. Resist the urge to jump in and handle it yourself. When my daughter was being bullied at school, she came to me for advice on how to handle the bully. I gave her advice and asked if she wanted me to talk to her teacher. She said that she wanted to try to handle it on her own first. I respected her decision and trusted that she would come to me if things got worse. Since she handled the situation on her own, she knew how to handle the next bully that she encountered. If what she did before didn't work, she would come back for more advice. Together, we were able to put an end to the bullying, and she taught other friends how to handle the situation. If I would have gone to the teacher, it could have made things worse, and my daughter wouldn't have trusted me when she needed additional help. As long as your child is not in any danger, encourage them to handle situations on their own. It will give them the knowledge and confidence to handle similar situations in the future.


Be honest with your child. Keep answers age appropriate, but don't try to "protect them" by lying to them. I have been honest with my daughter about my childhood and the things I faced, age appropriate, of course. I will continue to be honest with her as she gets older. You child needs to know the real world and not a made up version. Please see my post on Talking to Children About the Hard Things for more guidance on this topic.

Parenting is hard, especially when you didn't have a great role model. Take it one day and one step at a time. Focus on loving and being there for your child and everything else will fall into place. Don't work the extra shift to get them a toy they wanted, spend time with them instead. I know it can be hard and overwhelming but know that you are not alone.

2 комментария

08 авг. 2023 г.

Awesome post

Jacquelyn Luby
Jacquelyn Luby
08 авг. 2023 г.
Ответ пользователю

Thank you! I appreciate the support.


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