Is It Bad To Spoil Your Child?


During a game of “Table Topics” (great family game), the card asked, “what would you do if you disliked a gift?” Both my 22-year-old niece and 17-year-old nephew said they would let the person know they didn’t like it and return it!

They said honesty is best.  The explanation was logical but not sympathetic.  I explained to them why it was wrong but had it not been for that moment they would have continued to reject gifts from nice people making them feel bad.  

It didn’t end there. During Christmas, my own 26-year-old daughter rejected my Christmas gifts. She asked me to return the ULTA eye shadow pallet case because she wouldn’t use it and asked me to return the high heeled GUESS boots.

I felt disappointed in myself because I knew it was my fault.  

When my daughter was only 2 I obliged whatever she wanted.  I never thought about the long term effects. I thought it was cute the way she ordered me around and yelled NO at everything.

I recall my close friend Laura warning me about this. She said I was giving my daughter too much control over me and would regret it later. At the time I didn’t really understand what she meant.  Now I wish I would have listened to Laura. 

How Did I Spoil My Child?

As a child, I grew up in a very controlled and abusive environment. Fast forward to becoming a new mom at the young age of 21 only to be abandoned 4 weeks after giving birth.

I wanted to give my child the complete opposite of what I had.  I protected her from any challenges I faced as a single parent living on a fixed income, going to college full time while working.

My daughter had no idea when I couldn’t pay the rent, or electricity hence the real reason for using candles. She never knew about the weekly fights with her dad over money because he never wanted to help or of any court battles.  For years I felt guilty for not giving her the life she needed from a caring father. I was weak and vulnerable to her which led me to become the overindulging parent; out of pure guilt. 

So Is Spoiling Such A Bad Thing?

Imagine your 26-year-old college student criticizing your gifts like a child instead of saying thank you. 

One day she caused a scene at a family dinner table because she wanted the birthday gift my fiance got me. 

Do you want a spoiled adult child in the future? 

Take it from me, I know it’s difficult not to spoil your children especially when you’re a new mom. But consider the long term effects. 

Older children have learned to manipulate and take advantage of their parents to get what they want to no fault of their own because it’s a normal part of development. Heck, as adults we still try it.

While it might be too late with my adult child, there is still hope with my second daughter who is now 10 (I hope I get it right this time). 

Had it not been for a family get together over the Holidays I may not have written about this.

We all love our children and want what’s best for them. But sometimes what we think is best isn’t so. I encourage you to not be afraid to seek help from other moms.  If I can do it all over again, I would do everything exactly the same except not be afraid to establish boundaries.

Do you think you spoil your children?