The trickiness of treats

Pick your battles

My children are still very young but they are very lucky – to live in the western world, to come from a happy home, to be loved and doted on, to never have to worry about where the next meal is coming from or whether or not they will have somewhere to sleep at night or a roof over their heads.

They have already been given so much, so many treats (although not as many as some) and sometimes I wonder at what point they will realise that they have so much to be grateful for and that the treats they receive are very special and to be treasured.

When it comes to ‘spoiling’ a child everyone has their own opinion. Giving them everything they demand, willy nilly – well, I certainly try not to do that but sometimes when you’re choosing your battles you have to just cave once in a while (OK more than once in a while!!) and that can lead to short term peace but possibly long term moody, self-righteous children with an over-riding sense of entitlement and nobody wants that! I admit I teeter on this line all the time and overall I’d say that I tip over into lavishing treats more often than is probably acceptable. What’s that? Ice cream just before dinner? Oh go on then! Another fruit pastille at bedtime ‘”to soothe your cough”? What they hell! Your seventh episode of Chuggington in bed before lights out? If it means I can go and swig down a glass of Sauvignon uninterrupted, I say YES!

But seriously, I don’t give in to every demand – it wouldn’t be physically possible and I would be stony broke – its the knowing how to handle the fallout when the treats are denied – that’s the tricky part and I worry all the time about my lack of any kind of consistent strategy. This is one of those bits of parenting that doesn’t just kick in when you have a baby. Its the part where those self doubts kick in: “I’m not a natural mother”, “I wasn’t cut out for this” and perhaps my own reactions just reinforce a negative spiral down into the depths of bratty behaviour…

When the treats become the norm there is nothing left to offer, no bribe, no reward… So maybe what we need are less ‘magic’ moments and more ‘ordinary’ moments. Or another glass of Sauvignon (mummy’s treats!) and some earplugs!!

This post was inspired by this week’s theme at the The Theme Game (‘Treats’) devised by Jocelyn of The Reading Residence and Iona of RedPeffer.


The Reading Residence

14 thoughts on “The trickiness of treats

  1. Really interesting and my post is along similar lines funnily enough. It’s absolutely all about balance and I totally agree with you that sometimes you have to choose which battles are worth fighting and which not otherwise sanity will be lost. Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame

  2. Great take on the theme here Sam. I think striking the balance is the tricky part for us all. Also it’s hard to be completely consistent, because what works for one child might not for the next. For me, as long as my hubby and I are consistent between us we seem to be ok. It’s when the kids know they can ask daddy and get a different answer to what mummy just said that the problems can start 😉

  3. You’re absolutely right and it is so tricky to balance – my in laws definitely think we are too strict with Monkey and love to spoil him – by plying him with biscuits, carrying him at every opportunity and giving him what we wants, but on the other side my parents seem to think we are too soft on him, particularly with mealtime battles, so I think somewhere in the middle of these we must be doing pretty ok! Being consistent though we do struggle with because like you say, sometimes you have to pick your battles! Really interesting post! xx #thethemegame

  4. I agree you have to pick your battles – you capture the eternal dilemma here of when to say yes and when to say no. Everyone struggles with this and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself, sounds like you have the right instinct. #thethemegame

  5. Yes, striking that balance is so hard. I’m one of those, once I’ve said ‘no’ I won’t cave mums, as experience has taught me this works, and the kids know whining doesn’t help! But, they get treats, too many probably. Blogging has brought them more, with regular books or toys arriving in the post, or days out etc. along with families that adore them and of course, us. I’m not certain how to impress how lucky they are onto them, and they are only little. I guess it’s more about how we feel, as you say, and if we’re comfortable with it. I choose those battles and I give them lots of fruit to balance out the chocolate – so that’s OK, right?! Thanks for sharing with #TheThemeGame x

    • I’m really working on saying no at times and sticking to that decision because as you say of course that is the right thing to do but I have been weak in the past! On the other hand there is just saying yes from the get go, but saying yes too often… *sigh*

  6. I agree with everything you have written. I say no, then feel guilty, and wish I’d said yes. Or say yes, then feel guilty and wish I’d said no. There’s no ‘win’ in the situation.
    It’s hard to find the right balance isn’t it. Great post xx

  7. I’d like to say that ‘no’ means ‘no’ but after a long, long day, it often just doesn’t happen! As a result of your post, I’ve just had a discussion with hubby that he’s quite simply a pushover when it comes to treats!

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