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!!