Here we go. In this week’s parenting corners, we have people who spoil their children pitted against those who do not spoil. Can’t we Americans do anything in moderation? Does it always have to be one thing or another? Is there no gray area? Must everyone either be right or wrong, no matter what a child needs?
I hope we can agree that every family and every child is different. That means every family fulfills the needs of each child differently. What works for one child may not work for another. That’s not all that controversial, is it?
I marvel at the differences between Simone and Nadia. We don’t have to ask Simone to do her homework and we don’t have to ask Nadia to help around the house. They can feed and dress themselves but have no sense of time. Sometimes it takes Nadia most of the evening to eat her dinner. If we have somewhere to go, I have to be a drill sergeant for Nadia to finish. Sometimes Simone dresses quickly enough for us to get out the door and sometimes we have to step in and help move things along. After all, we want them to know, understand, and appreciate the need to arrive on time. Maybe that’s spoiling them. I don’t know.
Do Americans spoil their children? Of course, we do. Is it all bad? I don’t know. My philosophy is give them what they need, provide a little extra, and let them work for the rest. Depending on the child, giving too much can sap their ambition, their drive, which can handicap them later. I didn’t come to that conclusion by myself. My parents practiced it and I credit their philosophy for making me who I am today.
Who knows what everything will look like on the other side? Will we send our girls to college or some other institution of higher learning or will they lounge on the couch? Please let it be the former. All I know is that some parents have no trouble raising well-rounded children and some parents falter before they leave the hospital. Here’s to hoping we fall somewhere in the middle. After all, we’re raising little human beings, who one day will be independent. We can get in the way of that if we want to or we can let go of them little by little.