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What makes a child "spoilt"?

(93 Posts)
TooMuchCaffeine Fri 15-Jan-10 13:35:19

A couple of times I have been accused of "spoiling" DS aged 6, for simple things such as buying him presents when it is not his birthday or christmas, giving him a cake/treat when he and DH pick me up from work on the day I work late, little things like that. If I go out somewhere and i see something he would like - nothing expensive, even a comic or something, or if I have been to Costa Coffee which he loves, I will bring him back some of their little muffins. Is that spoiling him? Today I went to M&S to get my lunch, but brought him some undies and socks (which he needs) and our Friday cake, and DH said "he's so spoilt". Can anyone explain how being a nice thoughtful and loving parent equates to spoiling their child?

TooMuchCaffeine Fri 15-Jan-10 13:36:38

Incidentally, the accusation often comes from people who have no children themselves hmm

hf128219 Fri 15-Jan-10 13:38:26

Spoiling a child is giving in to them. Giving them treats to make them do something they don't want to.

IMO I don't think you are spoiling him!

TurnYourFrownUpsideDown Fri 15-Jan-10 13:38:38

perhaps DH is wondering when DS will start to expect the treats

You coud start linking some treats to chores/being helpful so they are a reward

ALso don't confuse buying stuff and giving love freely

Hulababy Fri 15-Jan-10 13:38:46

IMO a child doesn't become spoilt from being given gifts and treats, even if a lot or expensive ones.

IMO a child becomes spoilt if the parents don't teach them how to be grateful, how t value their things and those of others, and not to simply expect things.

My 7y DD is an only child, only grandchild on one side and was eldest of 3 grandchildren on other side. She gets lots of material things, and not just at Christmas and birthdays. And she is given so much time too.

But she is not a spoilt child, I am not just being biased either, as have discussed this with friends who agree - and type of friends who would tell nme the truth, Infcat we know of children who get a lot less, but are far more spoilt in terms of their behaviour and attitude.

CMOTdibbler Fri 15-Jan-10 13:39:01

I think spoilt isn't so much about what you do for your child (you sound lovely btw), but their attitude to what they get. So, if your DS knew that you'd been to Costa and had a hissy because you hadn't bought him muffins, that might be that he was spoilt (ie, had come to expect that his every wish would be granted). If, on the other hand, he doesn't expect the treats, and thanks you, he prob isn't

Hulababy Fri 15-Jan-10 13:39:30

Often people misuse the word spoilt IMO. The say spoilt instead of lucky or priveledged.

displayuntilbestbefore Fri 15-Jan-10 13:39:45

To me, "spoiling" a child is giving them a lot of things/treats/slack discipline that then results in that child being unplesant to be around, demanding, expecting things all the time and, as a consequence, being quite hard work becsuse they have learned to believe they are deserving of extra things all the time.

I don't think you sound like you are "spoiling" your child but if at any stage your ds got used to the presents and treats and started getting shirty if they weren't always forthcoming, then at that stage you would probably want to rethink things. As it stands, as long as he is appreciative and it isn't making him a brat, then enjoy it!

Earthstar Fri 15-Jan-10 13:39:52

Spoiling imo is giving your child little attention in general then fobbing them off with material stuff

Henrietta Fri 15-Jan-10 13:44:02

spoilt is when they don't appreciate the things and come to expect demand them and throw tantrums to get them - or when you give them things BECAUSE they demand them not because you think its suitable. My kids bdays are in Jan so if I didn't buy anything throughout the year they'd go 12 months without getting anything. Its not the things themselves its the reaction and why they're being given them as long as its balanced by being given time as well as items by parents I see nothing wrong with it.

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 15-Jan-10 13:45:54

Spoilt is when they don't appreciate what they have.

Henrietta we are in the same position as you DD's birthday is next week.

Hullygully Fri 15-Jan-10 13:48:39

When you leave them in the fruit bowl next to the bananas for too long.

TooMuchCaffeine Fri 15-Jan-10 13:54:32

Thanks all of you. DS is a lovely boy. He gets lots of attention, we do lots together. After school we sit and do crafts, reading, and have long chats. He gets stories at bedtime and even if it is DH putting him to bed I always go and have a chat and a cuddle with him. He gets taken to various activities that he enjoys. It is not about material things at all. Sometimes he is a "brat" and crys if I don't give him his treat on my late pick up days but I take that as him being let down and disappointed, and when he has done that, and we have explained to him about taking things for granted, he is OK the next time. He is always thrilled with his little treats and appreciative.

sweetnsour Fri 15-Jan-10 13:54:47

Spoilt starts rearing its head when the kid's in a constantly filthy mood despite getting everything s/he reasonably needs, manipulates the parents and acquires a demeanour of such elegance and charm that other people stop seeing the family.

It can get become a really serious problem - kids allowed to continue down this path often end up with mental health issues around 18 because they can't cope.

Songbird Fri 15-Jan-10 13:57:05

Really need to get back to work, so I haven't read all these. I often think people would say DD is spoilt, and in a way she is - the same way as your DS is. The big difference for DD is that she's not a 'spoilt brat'. ie, she gets treats now and again, but she certainly doesn't get everything she asks for.

Songbird Fri 15-Jan-10 13:58:10

grin hullygully

What it is that makes bananas turn other fruits bad?

Pitchounette Fri 15-Jan-10 13:59:41

Message withdrawn

Hullygully Fri 15-Jan-10 14:00:52

Bananas give off powerful ripening gases. There is possibly a technical name.

upahill Fri 15-Jan-10 14:01:14


This is an intersting question.

I give my two lots of things such as designer clothes at a drop of a hat, down loads when they want, trips to the cinema at a moments notice and so on and when I was a child I too had loads of things bought for me as well so I am happy to do this.

I expect though when my children ask for things and it is inappropiate or I can't afford it that week when I say no -that is it. They don't expect things or demand things. I'm not saying that they are eternally grateful or anything but they seem appreciative and I get an extra kiss. (or from DS1 as he is taller than me and going through an arkward stage a pat on the shoulder!)

The children were bought to task from an early age about how they spoke to us, how they behaved, how they presented themselves outside the home, how they interacted with adults so they no excatly what standard of behaviour has been expected from them. It has always been consistant. It seems to have payed off because on the whole they are well behaved. (well they are for their school teachers, other adults etc....I do get the odd stomp!!!)

displayuntilbestbefore Fri 15-Jan-10 14:01:25


Songbird Fri 15-Jan-10 14:03:13

oh, I hope not, I like 'powerful ripening gases'. DH has a problem with that.

TooMuchCaffeine Fri 15-Jan-10 14:03:55

Ethylene actually

Songbird Fri 15-Jan-10 14:04:08

dubb - booooo!

missorinoco Fri 15-Jan-10 14:04:17

Apparently, also from childless friends, I spoilt DS when he was 5 weeks old by picking him up whenever he cried.

I think if you beat your children with a stick and feed them only stale bread you might be able to avoid spoiling like them. Hully's rotten bananas may also be permitted.

TooMuchCaffeine Fri 15-Jan-10 14:07:44

It's not that I am guilty about working late (it is only until 6.15 after all) and I pick him up on all the other days and take him to his activities. I am not materialistic in the least either. Also, DH has always brought me little nick nacks like funny keyrings, costume jewellery, etc, so it is kind of the norm in our household to say we're thinking about each other. It doesn't replace anything, it is just something extra.

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