I read this article that resonated with me at so many levels.
I know O and N have a lot more ‘things’ and more of their parents’ attention/time than I did as a child. When it comes to ‘things’ however, they don’t have as much as their peer group.

N has a box of toys and drawer of books.

O has a lot more. She has a shelf overflowing with books, not many toys (because she is not much into it), she has one game console, a bunch of boardgames, and we take her out to play at every opportunity, either with her friends or alone. Movies, park, ice skating, bookstore, play areas.

Now this seems like more than sufficient to me. But NOT, if I were to be influenced by peer pressure.

It’s not that the kids with plenty are particularly spoilt – a lot of them are not. I talk about this piece, not to point fingers, but only because validates what R & I do as parents — after all, we are needy creatures.

Here is what caught my fancy the most:

“…if your child rarely has to wait between “I want it” and “I have it,” then he may be missing out on the chance to develop the emotional tools he’ll need to be a happy and successful adult.”

What I do is save the big purchases for an occasion. Birthday, Christmas, Diwali and a few special treats. That doesn’t stop O from demanding stuff that her friends have. However, by now she knows she is not going to get EVERYTHING.


“We often try to compensate for what we didn’t have as children, to assure ourselves that our children love us, or to make up for any parental guilt we feel,” says Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D., author of Spoiling Childhood: How Well-Meaning Parents Are Giving Children Too Much — But Not What They Need.

Guilty, to a degree. It’s more about quality time. Because my family was large, and always had random relatives living with us, we didn’t get individual attention. We didn’t have too many outings to movies or restaurants. We had regular vacations though (thanks to the LTC facility my dad was eligible for).

So I drive myself crazy trying to get quality into time.

But I don’t really remember wanting much. We always had plenty to read. My favourite toys were ‘choppus’ — cheap and easily available, so had plenty of that too (yeah, and then I grew up to HATE housework and cooking). My mum sewed beautifully, so I always had trendy frocks and tops. So I don’t really feel a great need to over-compensate.


“Parents have this illusion that if they give their children the reason why they can’t do what they want, the child will stop wanting it, and as far as I know, that has never happened in the history of parenting!” says Nancy Samalin, a parenting educator and author of Loving Without Spoiling.

A survey by the Center for a New American Dream found that kids will ask for something an average of nine times before the parents cave. So stay strong and repeat your simple “no” on the ninth, tenth, and eleventh entreaty. Eventually, your child will realize that her attempts are futile, and she’ll move on.

I always fall into that trap (R doesn’t, wise guy). I explain and reason and argue. And then I SCREAM. We never reach the ‘ninth’ request.


“But all the other kids have one!” Unfortunately, there is no magical response that will definitively shoot this argument down, but there are a couple of strategies that can be successful.

What works like magic for me is simple: “Do I compare you with other kids? Do I ask you to do what they do? Then don’t talk about what they get but you don’t; what they don’t have to do, but you must.”


But if there is no wait, no period of dreaming about it, the thrill is often less intense. “When kids are accustomed to getting things right away, nothing excites them anymore,” says Steven Friedfeld, a family therapist.

So true. When I buy her a bunch of books at a time, she would not pay attention to any one in particular. Or the fact that I entertain her friends and her almost every weekend is taken for granted—even when many other parents don’t do that.

Read the full article here.


5 thoughts on “UNSPOIL YOUR CHILD

  1. Nilu says:


    Everything you write strikes a chord somewhere within me! It’s like you’re writing JUST for me. Every word rings true!

    I strive to do things right with my kids all the time – this is one of them. NOT buying them too many toys or gifts.

    I can just hope the decisions I make are the right ones & they turn out ok. Just HOPE.

    Keep writing!

  2. Indian Homemaker says:

    ‘It’s not that the kids with plenty are particularly spoilt – a lot of them are not’ I agree with this, but still loved the post.

    I can’t say my kids are spoilt, they don’t get everything they ask for, but like you I also get them what I didn’t have as a kid – still do 😐
    I also find it very frustrating to have to see sense through all those (subtle now)- ‘but all my friends have it’s…

    Going to read the entire article now 🙂

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