Learned Self-Reliance: The Negative Effects of Spoiling Children

Parents are moved by instinct to love, nurture, and provide for their offspring. Because our children are so much a part of us, we want to see them blissfully happy. Also, our own desire to be liked, materialist pressures, and a fervent wish that our children have everything we lacked as youngsters can prompt us to spoil them. However, while it might seem that buying your child expensive gifts will give them fond memories of childhood or that you can heal your emotional wounds by doting on your sons and daughters, you may be unconsciously interfering with your children’s evolutional development. One of the most precious gifts you can grant your children is the true independence they gain when they learn to earn what they covet and become stewards of their own happiness. Try allowing your children to experience life to the fullest. Let them work and earn what they want. When the time comes for them to go to college and enter the workforce, you will have the confidence that you have raised a child that can both enter and contribute to society confidently.

When children are not afforded the opportunity to explore self-reliance, to understand that with possession comes price, and to fulfill their own needs, they develop a sense of entitlement that blinds them to the necessity of hard work and the needs of others. We may spoil children because giving them gifts is pleasurable. Or we may want to avoid conflict out of fear that our children won’t love us. Yet children who are given acceptance, love, and affection in abundance are often kinder, more charitable, and more responsible than those whose parents accede to their every material demand. They develop a strong sense of self that stretches beyond possessions and the approval of their peers, and as adults they understand that each individual is responsible for building the life they desire. If you find yourself giving in to your child’s every whim, ask yourself why. You may discover that you are trying to answer for what you feel is lacking in your own life.

Rearing your children to respect the value of money and self-sufficiency as they grow from infants to young adults is a challenging but rewarding process. It can be difficult to watch a child struggle to meet a personal goal yet wonderful to be by their side as they achieve it. Your choice not to spoil your children will bless you with more opportunities to show them understanding and compassion and to be fully present with them as they journey toward adulthood.

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From Intent.com


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Never a truer word said!

Trish H.
Anne H7 years ago

Amen to this article!

Maria G.
Maria G8 years ago

Children are what they learn. If a parent does not have the positive experience, tools, or self respect to pass onto their children, it will have ramifications on the next generation. The cycle will continue until someone evolves enough to recognize that the behavior needs modification. With acknowledgement their is hope for change. If the guardian has no clue or is non reflective and finds it easier to blame others, it only mirrors what they may have suffered in their lives. Sometimes, directing your response in a positive, non judgemental/or coersive manner may set an example; without offense for new behavior to evolve. Examples are safer and less confrontational and may lend themselves to a change in behavior patterns that someone may or may not have had before. Sometimes, a behavior example is a reminder of what was and/or a stimulant to reconsider what may have worked before may work again. Be patient and hopefully, the non violent recipitation will outcome a new and better result.

As for the teachers that wrote, you are kind and without you there would be no hope at all. Stay strong and thank you.

Teresa T.
Teresa T8 years ago

David and Nancy I completely agree with your posts. As a mother of four, now aged 18 to 27, and a Nana of four I know exactly what you're talking about. A parent's job is not to be your kids best friend, it is to be a PARENT. As teenagers there will be times when they hate you, and you don't like them much either. A parent's job is to raise children to be functional, responsible, ethical adults. You will not accomplish that by giving into their every whim, giving them everything they desire and not administering discipline when needed. And be aware that nobody else loves your kids like you do, and others will not tolerate the behaviors you do. Your children will be branded in school, by your neighbors and by society in general as spoiled troublemakers. Do your kids a favor in the long run and be a loving, accepting, CONSISTENT parent. Set down some rules. expect them to be followed and discipline when they aren't.

David Harmon
David Harmon8 years ago

Tell the truth. Let them see the realities of life. Stop hiding them and calling it SANTA CLAUS / TOOTH FAIRY, etc. Punish where needed without abuse. Spankings are NOT BEATINGs or ABUSE. GET OVER IT SOCCER MOMMY's. Children of today are out of control, ignorant, selfish needy inities. They have NO common scence. All they know is I have a fit, I get what ever I want. This stupid Idea of everyone around has to be disturbed by these out of control children and accept it is CRAP. But then who really is to blame? PARENTs. It's OK to love and care, but individuals who do not repremand or punish when due are nothing more than mentally ill child abusers themselves. LOOK around at the youth of today and see for yourself. Brain washing with Religious propaganda as a child is also mental abuse. Let individuals seek their own way. FUNNY, these parents push and brow beat Religious ideas into them, but refuse to TEACH about life, responcibilities, mannors or SEX. All they teach about the "3 letter DARK EVIL Taboo known as SEX" is how wrong and BAD it is. Not how it's not only a way of life, but WHEN THEY ARE READY it IS LIFE. I guess theres alot of "CABBAGE PATCH FOUND KIDS OUT THERE". Thats what I hear being thrown around......No wonder why at 30 they still have issues.

Nancy P.
Past Member 8 years ago

Parenting requires making informed and, sometimes, tough decisions. As a high school teacher, I a experience the negative effects of spoiled, indulged young adults in a different than do the parents who commited the crime. As a mother and grandmother, I applaud parents who model self-reliance and honesty and who teach their children the same.

David Swales
David Swales8 years ago

I believe that it is very wrong of the..
Mothers and father to sofucate thier own..
Little aged, 11 year girls which is not at all right..
To do that is cause it is committing crime and murder..
Which is against the law in many other countries on earth

David Swales
David Swales8 years ago

That is not right to spoil children is cause..
It is very bad and against a law is because that..
A very bad thing to do to children which must be stopped now

David Swales