Are we spoiling our kids?

This past week was Birthday Madness Week. I called it that because the celebrations lasted almost a full week and we were all going a little mad.
It has become tradition for my husband to take our daughter out on the day before her birthday for a special Daddy-Daughter Date. She dressed in a pretty new (it was actually a hand me down but she hadn’t seen it before so I wasn’t about to correct her) dress and waited patiently in the lounge for her date to come and fetch her. My husband left work early so that he could take her to Monte Casino for a special ‘big girl’ evening date. They went for dinner at one of the fancier restaurants then played games until she started missing mummy.
Her actual birthday was on the Wednesday. She woke up to a pile of presents from us, my folks and my sister. Now the presents weren’t crazy expensive (except the one) but it was all stuff that we thought she would REALLY like. For example:

  • She loves watching DC Superhero Girls. So my sister got her the Wonder Woman doll. We expected her to freak out when she saw it but she opened the present and said “oh, its Wonder Women”. 😐
  • Barbie is her new best friend so my mum got her a Barbie pillow, towel and a beach Barbie doll. She was a little excited about the doll, thought the towel was a blanket and then didn’t want to open the pillow because the packet was too big.
  • We have recently started watching a cartoon called Miraculous where the female lead is a superhero called Ladybug. While I was shopping I found a Ladybug rain coat that I thought she would love because of all the spots. First she didn’t understand why she would need a raincoat and then she didn’t want to try it on properly because it was too big.

On Thursday I took her out for a Mummy-Daughter breakfast date then we did the last bit of shopping for her first kiddies party.
Saturday was the birthday party and it was amazeballs. The party was pirate themed so I baked a giant chocolate-fudge-brownie cake which my husband then decorated. It was a mammoth task and took him a few hours each night to get all the fondant toppers done in time. 

I wish I had taken a better picture

We had a craft activity for the kids where they painted their own treasure chest. Once they were done they ran off outside to play and only came back in to get a snack. They had a blast. There was screaming and laughing and running and climbing. It was glorious.
After that party wrapped up, her two cousins stayed on for a second Barbie themed pajama party.
Now I know it sounds as if she is a spoiled brat but she really isn’t. She is the sweetest little plum. She’s just too used to getting gifts. When I was little my folks used to buy my sister and I toys or treats for no particular reason but birthdays and Christmas was a time to get something that you reallllllly wanted. Something that you pined after but was too much to expect at any other time. It was a special ‘anything could happen’ day. I feel as if we have taken that away from my daughter by getting her things that we think she will like as often as we do. I think she gets a present from us every single week (I order things online almost every week and need to fill in the gap to get free delivery). It isn’t expensive items, I’m talking crayons, a plastic tumbler, a marked down dvd, that type of stuff. (Which does actually work out to quite a bit when you add it all up). We love her so much that we constantly want to treat her for being so awesome. I really think we are doing her a disservice though. We have taken away some of the excitement from receiving a present. We have turned something special into something expected. The reality is that we want to treat her with presents but she has the most fun playing with other kids and just being free.
Just a fraction of the haul

Luckily she is only four. There is still time to turn this situation around before she really does turn into a spoilt brat who expects gifts all the time and doesn’t show gratitude. I’m going to save so much money…

8 Comments

  • Dominique

    I am very much of the opinion not to over spoil our kids. I have seen it with my God children, opening Christmas presents and they are just taught to open one after the next with no time for appreciation. They also get toys every other week (from their gran), have their own mini tablets and basically are becoming huge brats. So my question is, it’s hard enough trying to keep the amount of spoiling you do at home to a minimum but what do you do in the situation if you have one granny who completely over spoils your kids and doesn’t really know how to listen to your wants. I know this is what grans are for but I see those other kids (who spend twice a week with her) getting crazy spoilt and constantly eating sweets before real food or instead of real food and I am seriously concerned for when mine is of the right age to visit gran by herself. Also in my husbands eyes she is sometimes the best thing ever because she spends so much money on us, which is not how I want my child growing up. Quality time is always so much more valuable then money spent.

    • The Non-Adventures of a SAHM

      That is a tough situation. And the biggest reason why I would rather my kids go to daycare than be looked after by a grandparent. Hopefully with the solid grounding in your home those days at grans won’t have as much of an impact and will be a treat as opposed to the norm.
      And yes, quality time far outweighs any monetary benefits.

  • EmilyMaine

    It is so hard not to give them everything their heart desires. We suck at this too. I think we need to dial it back a little here. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was young so presents came at birthdays and Christmas and that was it! I do pack things away for the little one as she can’t handle a zillion presents all at once!

  • Erika

    They’re only young once! We make a big deal out of birthdays, too. Birthday breakfast, special lunch if it’s a weekend, they pick the dinner I cook, and then we go out with relatives on the weekend and have a big party with their friends. But I am with you on the gifts. I just commented to my husband yesterday that with as much stuff as our kids get (we pick up toys occasionally as treats and their three sets of grandparents get stuff) that birthdays and Christmas aren’t as special as they were for us as kids.

  • Darlene Dee

    It is such a let-down when children aren’t as excited to receive a gift as we are to give it, isn’t it? It took hours of cajoling at home to get Babystar to open her presents from her birthday in June. I honestly would have packed them up and given them to her later, but the Teenager wanted to know what was in them so very desperately. (That part was actually hilarious. But only to me ahahahaha.) And I did pack some up immediately after she opened them so she can have some fresh toys this fall.
    I didn’t buy her anything. Well, other than the $500 party. Whoops.
    But like your little one, Babystar isn’t spoiled. She just doesn’t care. But in a sweet way. The good news is, they grow out of it. Both of my older children were also given just about whatever they wanted as littles, but still managed to grow into very gracious adults.

    • The Non-Adventures of a SAHM

      You nailed it! She just doesn’t care! Or isn’t impressed by stuff. I staggered the gifts over a few days and I have squirreled most of them away to take out whenever she’s bored. Luckily there’s quite a few craft and activity sets that are really going to be appreciated in isolation.
      I flipped for that damn ladybug rain poncho (its a poncho!) and she didn’t even associate it with the cartoon! Poor me!

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