Help! I Spoiled my Children

spoiled children, summer activitiesOkay, it’s about time I admit something to you guys; something I am deeply embarrassed about and have been in denial about for some time…my children are spoiled. Hi, my name is Debi and my children are more spoiled than expired milk left in a Sippy cup in your minivan for 2 years.

I don’t know when it happened and I didn’t even know that it happened. I still stand by my original comments that you cannot spoil a baby but let me tell you, you can definitely spoil a child who is age 2 and up because they are smart little people and they can fast bloom into master manipulators. Believe me, my 6-year-old has been a pro since she was about 4.

spoiled children

It started easy enough; my baby cried, I picked her up. Why let her cry when she didn’t have to. Then it became she wanted something else to eat than what I had intended to make and, no big deal, I switched her entrée. Then it became clothing, I’d lay out an outfit and she wanted to change one piece and it didn’t seem like a big deal and it was more of a hassle to argue about something so inconsequential, right? Wrong it had big consequences. Those girls were testing their boundaries and seeing how far I would bend for them. For the record, like most parents, I bent until they almost broke me; mentally, emotionally and financially.

spoiled

Here is why you don’t do it, now at 6 and 8-years-old, it feels like my girls argue every single point with me just because they think they can.  They have become entitled. I work my ass off, like all of you, to provide a good home life for my girls and pay for private school, ballet classes, gymnastics and swimming. I buy them nice clothes from high-end department stores because I never want them to feel singled out for having less than some other kids. I give them everything I never had because I know what it feels like to be a kid and go without while watching all of your friends have everything.

I pay for violin lessons and encourage them in everything they have an interest in. I take them to see the latest kids movies, I buy tickets to the theater, ballet and museums to keep them well rounded and cultured. I take them to the neighborhood pool and they have play dates. They go to amusement parks, zoos and aquariums. They travel. They have every toy a child could ever want and I feed them healthy food. We give them our time and attention and love. There is no shortage of kisses and cuddles. They want for NOTHING! We teach them how to ride their bikes, go for family walks and take them to ride their scooters and jump on the trampoline with them so they can get some exercise and still they always want more. MORE!MORE!MORE!! What more can I give?

play dates, spoiled, park, summer activities

I have nothing more to give. I have to work to pay for these things. I want to work because I love what I do. It keeps me sane. It makes me feel like I have a value as a woman aside from just being a mother.  But my girls are spoiled and they don’t care. From the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed, they want more of me. More than I can give because I already give them everything. The 1% that I have finally regained for myself, they are tugging at and pulling it away from me. I am holding on for dear life.

I don’t think any of this would be so bad, if they actually appreciated what they have and what their father and I do for them. Don’t get me wrong; they are polite and they don’t get into trouble and by all accounts they are great girls but this constant entitlement is driving me crazy. I’m afraid I have ruined them for adulthood.

summer activities, science central, spoiled

I need to stop this. I need to teach them that “things” are earned in life. The only thing they are entitled to is my unconditional love and their free will to dream and accomplish anything they set their little minds to, everything else has to be worked for and their wants and needs are no more important than mine, right?

I know this sounds selfish but I swear it is not. If I don’t stop this entitled, bratty behavior before they get older they are going to friendless, hated and let down by life when they realize that everything in life is not handed to you on a silver platter, you have to earn it. You have to have dreams, work your ass off at it and then relish in the success of achieving something on your own.

I know these are first world problems and I thank God every day for having such good children who are healthy. Now, I am praying for the strength to be a good parent and teach my girls responsibility. I have to take things away. I expect it to be rough. I love my daughters, they are amazing. In many ways, they are great kids but I can’t let this entitled behavior get out of control or I will have failed them as a mother.

Any advice on how to teach young children responsibility and change entitled behavior?

sppiled children, ballet, summer activites

My name is Debi and I spoiled my girls… but damn are they cute and lovable.

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17 Comments

  1. Kristen Daukas  /  2013/06/24, 12:49 pm Reply

    Props to you for recognizing it now.. trust me – you CAN turn the corner on this one. You just have to start saying “no” and meaning it. They can have designer labeled duds but you don’t have to pay full price for them. Teaching my oldest the beauty of consignment shopping was a great thing.. not just for me but for HER as well. I’m not sure if you saw my post about what the 8th grade girls “expected” for graduation but if you didn’t, go read it. Now. And realize that if you don’t learn to say no, that’s what you’ll be dealing with in a few years. You’re a great mom and it will not kill them to do without. And are they REALLY doing without?? Hardly.
    Kristen Daukas recently posted..Funtastical Summer: Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party

    • Deborah Cruz  /  2013/06/24, 1:21 pm Reply

      @Kristen,
      I know exactly what you mean. I HATE saying NO but I am seeing lots of disappointment in their life ahead if I do not.My girls do not expect designer clothes but that is what they have become accustomed too and I know that will be a problem later. We do go garage sale shopping and consignment shops. They are not really snobs about that but its more the,,I:m bored, entertain me. You don;t do anything with us shit that is driving us insane. I do more than I should and they are just not grateful they expect it and that is BAD parenting on my part. It;s the only area where we have issues so,I have to stop it now.
      I will read your post.
      Thanks for your kind words!! XO
      Hey are you going to BlogHer??

  2. Suzanne  /  2013/06/24, 2:25 pm Reply

    totally get what you are saying. I recently came to the realization that I was folding all the laundry and prepping snacks and getting ready while my kids played on their ipads- duh.. wish I could play on my ipad! I have made my kids a little more accountable and active. Turns out my 12 year old folds napkins and towels MUCH better than I do, and my 11 yo likes being needed and given simple chores. Having blocks of time on a summer day- computer time for all of us, quiet time for all, kitchen time, pool time has worked for my girls and I on Summer days. I realized with shock my 12 yo thought cleaning the sink and wiping off dishes was too gross for her to do? but ok for me?? ugh. The work and reward thing helped more than I thought it would with entitlement. I also had my girls make lists of independent activities they were interested in for summer ( sans ipad) and we stocked up on acrylic paint, sharpies, and other supplies so they could craft pretty much on their own, according to interest. Worst case scenario, if my oldest can’t find anything to do- I come up with chores like cleaning the patio doors and mirrors and boom! she is engaged in something. I try and cluster a lot of our group stuff in the early part of the day, so they have had a lot of ” me” before I ask for more independent time. Love my girls too, but I really worry about the entitlement thing also. When I was researching stuff I found an ebook a Mom wrote about teaching her almost teen, chores, one at a time, to curb the entitlement thing. It kinda cracked me up there was a whole ebook following about it!
    Suzanne recently posted..Dear Summer Camp ” Buddy”,

    • Deborah Cruz  /  2013/06/24, 3:16 pm Reply

      @Suzanne,

      Thanks for weighing in. I totally feel like I am the only one who is doing this horrible job at parenting. I need to know my own boundaries. You have some great ideas that I am going to borrow. Thanks for sharing them. Here’s hoping we break the entitlement before it gets too out of control:)

  3. Korinthia  /  2013/06/24, 2:45 pm Reply

    My kids don’t really want for anything either, but they are very appreciative. The most valuable thing we give them is our time. That’s all they really want, so I make sure to include them when I’m cooking or running errands and they like to help just because they like it when we’re together. Is it possible they just want more of you? Not more stuff? In terms of making them more appreciative, they need to realize how lucky they are. Maybe it’s a good time to talk about volunteering to help others.
    Korinthia recently posted..The World of Work

    • Deborah Cruz  /  2013/06/24, 3:38 pm Reply

      @Korinthia,

      They have ME. In fact, I;ve been doing all my work ( with the exception of this week) while they are asleep, which means I don’t sleep. I do agree they like the personal attention but sometimes, I feel like its not necessarily that I am there but that I am nowhere else.Does that make sense?

      • Korinthia  /  2013/06/24, 3:52 pm Reply

        It does make sense. I suppose in your situation I would just start being very firm and consistent with “No.” My kids don’t ask for things when we go in stores because we have always explained ahead of time that they aren’t getting anything. And be firm about “No” in terms of not being respectful of your time, because being available is not the same as being at their beck and call. There could be an ‘extinction burst’ of bad behavior if they are used to getting their way and they can’t manipulate you anymore, but stand firm and offer hugs and they will figure it out soon enough. (And remember, the fact that you care enough to even ponder these questions makes you a good mom. Don’t ever doubt that. We’re all just doing the best we can.)
        Korinthia recently posted..The World of Work

  4. Shell  /  2013/06/24, 3:33 pm Reply

    Yes, they are cute. ;)

    There are definitely arguments not worth having- where it looks like I “give in” but it’s more b/c every once in a while, it’s okay if my kids feel like they are getting their way and not everything is so important that I have to make a case out of it. But with the major issues- I say no and that’s final. If mine want something, they have to earn it. For the summer, we’re using a reward chart app, which helps cut down on them asking for things(I’d just tell them no anyway- but it cuts down on the asking).
    Shell recently posted..Rockin’ the Bump: Link Up Your Baby Bump Pics

    • Deborah Cruz  /  2013/06/24, 4:31 pm Reply

      Shell,

      Can you please share the app? I think I need it especially if it cuts down on the whine time

      • Shell  /  2013/06/24, 4:37 pm Reply

        I’ve been using iReward Chart. They have set tasks on there but you can create your own. I’ve focused more on things like “be nice to your brother,” “Help mom,” “go to bed when told” or “be polite” more than chores.Plus the summer school things they are supposed to do. And you can take away stars- I’ve given negative in the “be polite” column. You can also set the rewards, just be sure to look at how many you think they’d earn in a day before you set the reward unless you want to constantly be giving them out. ;) I have mine password protected so they can’t give themselves stars.
        Shell recently posted..Rockin’ the Bump: Link Up Your Baby Bump Pics

  5. Carol Ledwidge-Burns  /  2013/06/24, 7:16 pm Reply

    Hmmm, I completely understand your predicament. At first we try to give them the best of our time, attention and understanding….but with time this stretches to every corner and I too worried that my little girl could come to expect and even demand more than anyone could give. I started in a small way: If she wanted to eat something different from the meal I had planned, Id ask her why……if she wanted a new outfit ( especially if it was extravagant) Id ask her to name 3 different places she could wear it….if she wanted to try another new hobby or sport, Id ask her to commit at least 8 weeks to ‘trying it’. She was always polite and well behaved but now at 12, she has a far better understanding and value of my time, efforts and money.

  6. KalleyC  /  2013/06/24, 8:10 pm Reply

    I’ve noticed this behavior in my daughter as well, and right now I’m nipping it in the butt. She is learning that her actions, good or bad has a natural consequence. She doesn’t always get what she wants, and throwing a tantrum is not going to do it for me. I hate seeing my little girl upset, but I know that if I don’t do this now, she’s is going to be really sorry with reality in the future. She’s getting older, and I can see how bad the behavior could be. I don’t really have a way of doing it, since I’m going through with it as well, so any advice you get, I’ll be checking up on.
    KalleyC recently posted..Building Positive Memories

  7. Jackie  /  2013/06/25, 10:46 am Reply

    OMG…. this is the story of my life! I really do wish that I could offer you some sort of helpful tips or advice but I can’t because I’m dealing with the same issues with my girls.
    I thought that I was being a good mom and I was partially, but I wasn’t teaching them the value in things like I should have. Now I’m trying to fix what I did.

  8. Thurman R. Steele  /  2013/07/11, 10:20 am Reply

    ummm…..I think I’m discouraged to know that responsibility doesn’t come miraculously with age haha. I’m 16 and I procrastinate on everything. Example: my desk is a MESS right now and needs to be tidied, but I’m writing this comment anyway.

  9. freddie  /  2013/07/12, 9:32 am Reply

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  10. Dwayne O. Tucker  /  2013/07/12, 5:37 pm Reply

    Younger Kids: For younger children and pre-teens I think you can say something like, “Listen, I want you to learn how to earn some of the things you want by doing extra work around the house. I don’t mean by doing your regular chores, like setting the table or doing the dishes. So for instance, you could mow the lawn, shovel the walk when it snows, or clean my car when it’s dirty. Instead of giving you an allowance, I’m going to pay you to do these things. We’re going to start this Saturday. If you want to earn money, you’ll have to see me Saturday morning to find out what you can do.” Then, determine how much you want to pay him for these jobs and make sure it’s within your budget.

  11. […] no, you better not let those entitled little snots think they are the center of your world. Life is hard and if you want to raise good citizens of the […]

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