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People keep telling us our DD is spoiled

(80 Posts)
AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 16:29:44

So, as the title suggests, both sets of grandparents keep telling us our 4yo DD is spoiled because she still throws tantrums if she doesn't get what she wants. I just wondered what other people think constitutes a spoiled child?

She doesn't always get what she wants, by any means, and we imagine it's another delightful pre-school phase she's going through. She's always been quite "fiery."

Some comments have been quite hurtful (unintentionally) and are making me feel like I'm doing something horribly wrong.


corythatwas Fri 20-May-16 16:37:19

Grandparents can be tricky because they have selective memories: they remember the success that came at the end of their own parenting, not the journey it took to get there. I remember my own mother telling me how quiet we always were as children: shame she didn't get round to destroying those tape recordings... grin

NannawifeofBaldr Fri 20-May-16 16:38:57

It's difficult to say on the basis of the info in your post.

Some 4 yo do go through a tantrum phase at 4, one of mine did, so from that point of view it's normal.

However I generally find that comments if this kind are not really about the child's behaviour but about the parent's management of it.

How to you respond to the tantrums?

corythatwas Fri 20-May-16 16:40:34

Getting back to your actual question, I tend to think of "spoiled" as the passive participle of a verb rather than as an adjective. Or in other words, something that doesn't describe the character of the child as much as the way her behaviour is managed by the responsible adults.

A child who is not given into when tantrumming, who is removed from places where she is being a nuisance, whose parents are quick to step in with damage limitation, is not "spoiled" in my book. My db had horrendous tantrums for a long time. He was not a spoiled child.

corythatwas Fri 20-May-16 16:41:58

Otoh a child who takes an hour to get out of the house at the end of the playdate because his parent is afraid to control him, or gets given the toy another child was playing with "because you know how upset he gets", might well be on the way to being spoiled.

sixinabed Fri 20-May-16 16:44:04

Ime these kinds of comments are never helpful, and are generally, indeed, aimed at the parents.

I believe you should parent according to your own instincts ( in most cases), not according to other people's views who do not live with your child.

4yo throwing tantrums is normal ime. If that is the only behaviour that prompts these comments I would be inclined to ignore, or explain that it's a phase and how you handle it.

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 16:48:57

My latest "management style" is to let it pass (otherwise it escalates), tell her she is being a bit silly, and then we talk about it afterwards. Usually coupled with some kind of minor punishment ie something taken away - No TV, a favourite toy, no bedtime story etc. She doesn't respond to nicey-nicey or shouty-shouty! I've tried both!

iwouldgoouttonight Fri 20-May-16 16:49:27

I'd think of a 'spoiled' child if, for example, they asked for a biscuit, you said no because it's nearly dinner time, so they had a tantrum and as a result you gave them the biscuit. But if you're not giving in to the tantrums i wouldn't say you're spoiling her. Tantrums are quite normal in my experience. My DD has plenty. [exasperated face]

My MIL has a very selective memory and doesn't remember any bad behaviour at all from her children, and she often tuts and looks disapproving when DD is having a tamtrum. It's bloody unhelpful, and even if I was handling the situating badly, I'd appreciate some suggestions for how to deal with it not just criticism.

sixinabed Fri 20-May-16 16:50:58

Doesn't sound like spoiling to me. I does sound like something that gps could interpret as you not coming down hard on dc, which could lead to the silly comments. I'd be inclined to explain your approach and why, and tell them how their comments make you feel.

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 16:51:01

I should add - she is never given in to. At least not by me anyway! Grandparents on the other hand... hmm

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 16:53:22

My MIL said to me yesterday that DD obviously has very little respect for me, and I need to learn to control her soon because she'll be bigger than me by the time she is 7 and could hurt me. I'm not sure which part of that to take most offence to wink

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Fri 20-May-16 16:57:48

When you say you "let it pass", is that in situations where other people are disturbed by it or their enjoyment of something is disturbed? That's something that might make me think a child is "spoilt". If you are removing from the place and then letting it pass I'd probably give you a sympathetic "been there" smile (at which point you'd probably think I was freak, but never mind).

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 17:03:57

If we are around other people or children then I'll take her to a quiet corner or another room. I wouldn't sit there and watch her go blue in the face in front of people. I am far too easily embarrassed!

NannawifeofBaldr Fri 20-May-16 17:07:58

Dwarves the only problem with that approach is that in the meantime the tantrum disturbs/distresses everyone else which is ok at 2 to but much less acceptable at 4.

My approach was always to remove them from the room, or take them aside to a quiet corner if leaving wasn't possible, kneel down to their level and have a quiet and calm but firm chat about unacceptable behaviour, what behaviour I expected on our return to the room, an apology and a hug.

Often changing location is enough to make a difference.

Your comment about being hurt - is your DD hitting and kicking you?

Jojay Fri 20-May-16 17:09:20

My 4 yo twins both still throw tantrums fairly regularly. My older children hardly ever did at that age so it varies by child I think. You sound like you handle it really sell. Ignore the grandparents 😁

CuteHoor Fri 20-May-16 17:09:28

I think all of my four year old son's grandparents also secretly think he is 'spoilt', but this has nothing to do with his behaviour or the way we manage his occasional four-year-old moments of deep unreasonableness.

They think this because all four come from very deprived, deeply impoverished backgrounds, had huge numbers of siblings and themselves in turn had very large families (Ireland pre easy access to contraception) on a single manual worker's wage. That's their concept of 'normal'. Our DS, on the other hand, is an only child, born to two older professional parents, who doesn't have to fight for parental attention, has his own room and plenty of toys and has travelled a fair bit already.

He's in no way indulged or allowed to ride roughshod over other people, but by comparison to their concept of 'normal', he's treated like an emperor. I think it's easier for them to think of him as 'spoilt' then to ask themselves awkward questions like why they had huge families they couldn't afford, and brought them up in overcrowded conditions where, even if no one was actually hungry, you knew how close to payday it was by what there was to eat, and we all knew from a very young age not to ever invite anyone home. Well, they would say 'that's just the way it was'...

CassandraAusten Fri 20-May-16 17:12:48

My mum told me that me and my brother never had tantrums. It's such an unhelpful comment! My MIL once used the phrase "getting away with murder" about my DS1.

Now they're a bit older (youngest is 6), both sets of grandparents will happily tell me how well-behaved they are. Definitely selective memories about what toddlers are like!

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 17:15:28

I'll always take her somewhere quiet but talking doesn't work while she is in the throes. That's when kicking and clawing starts, or throwing things. I'll sit with her and tell her that she can't behave this way and we'll talk about it when she calms down, and that generally works. If I start the talking too soon, she gets riled up and it escalates into madness. It doesn't happen as much recently so I am hoping she is growing out of it.

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 17:30:49

I still wouldn't say she is spoiled; we like to think she is just assertive! She has always had a short fuse - but so have her parents! I'm 33 and still like to throw the odd tantrum! She is their first grandchild and like pp's have said, gp's haven't experienced the reality of small children in such a long time. Plus in their day, and mine, we'd have gotten a tanned backside for showing them up. Not so acceptable these days...

WipsGlitter Fri 20-May-16 17:34:03

The kicking and clawing would shock me to watch tbh.

But if she's growing out of it then hopefully it's just a phase.

corythatwas Fri 20-May-16 17:45:16

WipsGlitter, my dd did that, as did my db. Short of removing them from harm's way and restraining them if necessary, there is not a lot you can do. Talking certainly did nothing, and punishment had no effect either. I concentrated on damage limitation: getting her out of other people's way and making sure she knew she would never be allowed to hurt anyone (including mum); if need be I held her arms.

NannawifeofBaldr Fri 20-May-16 17:51:28

Kicking and clawing isn't acceptable in a 4yo IME. It's not assertive, it's aggressive.

Have you discussed it with her at another time ie not immediately after an episode?

I'd be upping the punishment on any physical tantrum personally something with more impact than taking a toy away.

We tell our kids that we can't always choose how we feel but we can always choose how to behave. At 4 she's old enough to understand that.

Kicking and clawing is absolutely not on. Perhaps the GPs are concerned that you aren't worried enough about it.

AllTheDwarves Fri 20-May-16 18:02:57

Im not worried about it. She understands what she has done afterwards and she understands how it makes others feel. I'm satisfied that she's not doing it to harm anybody; it is her way of saying "back off" and I know her well enough to not let it get to that point, but occasionally it does. It certainly doesn't make her spoiled and it doesn't mean I don't have control over her behaviour. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

NannawifeofBaldr Fri 20-May-16 18:06:48

Ok, I'd be working with get in other ways to say "back off".

This won't be ok at school.

TheOnlyColditz Fri 20-May-16 18:11:36

If she kicks and claws to tell someone to 'back off' at school, she will end up with a three day exclusion. Consider being less permissive.

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