Why We Don't Spoil Our Children
What does spoiling a child mean? I am quite certain that everyone would have a different definition based upon our background. The answers would vary due to things like socioeconomic status, ethnicity, whether or not we grew up in a two-parent home to a plethora of other factors. I am quite certain that what it means to "spoil" a child vastly differs from person to person. For the purpose of this article, I am going to use the following definition from dictionary.com:
spoil <verb> : to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.
Regardless of our own definition of spoiling our children, I think we can all agree, that we do not want to impair, damage or harm our children. Every mother that I've ever met (in her right mind) has always wanted the very best for their child. I think we can agree that rather than damaging or harming our children we want to build them up, nurture them, and love them. And this, my friends, is why we don't "spoil" our children.
So how do we determine what spoiling our own children looks like?
Here are two factors that can help you make that determination:
- Is the parenting choice we are making creating an unhealthy expectation within our child? An example of an unhealthy expectation might be this: Every time you go to the store, your child whines and cries at the check out lane because you are not buying them anything. Rather than dealing directly with the behavior, you purchase them something to divert their attention and make them stop crying. This is not wise. Why? Because we are not helping our child learn anything about being responsible for their actions and helping them to correct them. Rather this particular example is reinforcing the child's lack of self-control and creating a cycle of poor behavior patterns and unrealistic expectations. If our child grows up and throws a temper tantrum at work, their boss will not be buying them something to quiet them down. So the choice in this example is quite clear - it is creating an unhealthy expectation within the child.
- Is the parenting choice we are making creating a healthy expectation within our child? Just the opposite of number one, we really need to take the time to figure out whether or not the parenting choice we are about to make is creating a healthy expectation within our child. I can say with all certainty that I want our children to have the expectation that we will always love them. I have the opportunity to model this for them several times each day. By allowing actions of love towards our children to dictate our relationship (for instance walking in love while correcting poor behavior choices) it allows for them to have a healthy expectation that we will love them even when they make poor choices. By parenting to create a healthy expectation within our children, we are giving them invaluable tools that will allow them to walk in love, something most people in the world are incapable of. And walking in love will give them the ability to
Based upon the two points above, we can easily discover if our parenting choices are lining up with what we really want for our children - to have a blessed and Christ-filled life. It's important that we weigh our parenting decisions based upon the Word of God to help us make sure that we are not spoiling our children. Every individual child poses unique parenting choices but one thing is certain: If we parent according to the standard of God's love, we will be giving our children the tools to become who God created them to be. Will we be perfect parents? No. But pointing our children's hearts to Jesus is the goal, and by making sure we aren't spoiling them according to the definition earlier in this post, we can be certain we are achieving our desired goal.
If you would like to print out some free scripture lists to pray and confess over your family, you can do so here.
I want to leave you with a few scriptures that help my husband and I stay on course with parenting:
In His Great Service,
Carlie @ Today's Frugal Mom™