Monday, March 1, 2010

Spoiler Alert

I've been thinking a lot about my behavior as a mother. I've been pondering and wondering about the whole idea of "spoiling" a child.

When my sister's baby girl was born, she brought her out to the desert(where I live),and for a couple of days I got to hold her and love her and breath in her glorious freshness. She was perfect and so dependent on those of us who adored her and held her fragile, little roly-poly body.

One of our well meaning relatives kept saying we needed to stop holding her so much. We were warned that holding her all of the time was spoiling her, and soon she would expect to be held all of the time!

Something about that didn't settle well with me. I couldn't figure it out. I had heard things like that all of my life, and for the most part, I agreed. Nobody likes a "spoiled child", and I certainly didn't want my precious niece labeled in that way, but, somewhere inside of myself I knew that there was no way to "spoil" a child with love. It just wasn't possible.

In order to spoil, or ruin a person I think neglect has to be involved. If we are neglecting our responsibility to teach our children morals, manners, boundaries, rules, common sense....things like that, then we are spoiling them.

In our home we bounce on beds, jump on couches, take long abundant bubble baths! We make big messes! We sing and play and make lots of noise. Treats are handed out almost daily! Silly, frivolous requests are granted. Baby cheeks are kissed until they are chappy and because of this.....happiness abounds!

To those gasping in horror, I do recognize that there is a balance required. I am teaching Emilee that while we may jump on couches at home, grandma or the neighbor may not allow the same behavior and that must always be respected. Sometimes I fear we don't realize how capable they are of learning the difference. They ARE children, so of course they will test boundaries, but that is where the teaching comes in. When I consider giving my girls something, or allowing a certain behavior I try to weigh whether or not it will really harm them, if not, then I usually allow it. I am learning when to say no.....and trying a lot harder to say yes!

Life is an opportunity to experience things.....why limit the experiences just because we don't want children to demand or expect more of them? Besides, I don't see anything wrong with expecting the things we want out of life!!

When I think about the generosity of my Heavenly Father, I realize that giving our children things that make them happy is a good thing! He knows all about my favorite things and has given me many great opportunities that mean a lot to me and enrich my life! Because of this, I feel taken care of and loved.....I trust him to care and listen and grant me my righteous and sometimes even frivolous desires. His generosity brings great happiness and contentment to my life and my spirit!

These are just MY thoughts.....every mother gets the opportunity to chose the way they will mother their children. I just don't want to promote the idea that creating happiness and love, is spoiling a child. As long as giving is accompanied with teaching we are enriching children....not spoiling them.

I love this quote by Marjorie Hinkley:

"My mother taught me some basic philosophies of rearing children. One is that you have to trust children. I tried hard never to say "no" if I could possibly say "yes." I think that worked well because it gave my children the feeling that I trusted them and they were responsible to do the best they could."

As the cliche goes....Life is short! Don't spoil your children....enrich them! Just say YES!


  1. Michelle! I love your posts. They are always so thought-provoking and inspiring! Thanks!!!! I love you.

  2. Thanks Bethany! I love you too!