What is the single biggest reason to avoid pampering our children? Our children are brilliant, expansive creatures of the universe that are limited when we serve them beyond genuine need. As parents, it’s our job to provide for our children’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. We often try to go beyond that and provide them the material items, experiences and opportunities that we may have never had. It’s natural to want to give them the life we always dreamed of having ourselves, but at what price? When we think that we are helping them, we may actually be hindering their long-term growth potential.
When parents are asked what they want for their children, most often the response is peppered with aspirations of their children becoming strong, independent adults who can become whatever they aspire to be and take on anything they set their minds to do. Yet, when we pamper and spoil our children, we remove the inherent lessons and teaching tools that allow for the formation of these qualities that we deeply desire for our children to possess. It’s a parent’s responsibility to teach their children how to handle pain and difficulties, rather than shielding them from hurt and discomfort. If there is no struggle, there is no room for growth or improvement. If there is no struggle, we define their status quo. When we pamper our children, we take away their chance to learn, experience and define themselves through adversity.
If we limit our children in their experiences, we are limiting them from becoming the people that they are meant to become. Our struggles and adversity provide the deepest life lessons about the world around us, and who we want to be in that world. By pampering them, we are actually inhibiting them from gaining the life skills that we want them to emulate as adults. How can we expect them to become responsible, competent adults at 18 if we haven’t let them experience hardship so they can learn how to overcome it?
If we begin to pamper our children from a young age, they will eventually learn to expect things handed to them. The concern with this is two-fold. Prolonged exposure to this can eventually create a sense of entitlement and selfish behaviors. These behaviors also create an extrinsic motivation system for children, meaning they will seek validation and reward from external sources outside of themselves. Instead of feeling the joy or pride from a job well done or a successfully completed task, they will seek validation in the form of a prize or material good. As easy as it is to buy your toddler a new 99-cent toy car as payment for good behavior, as they grow larger, so must the reward. The idea of pampering or spoiling is that we go beyond the genuine needs of the individual to a place of over indulgence. As adults we don’t get rewarded for paying our bills, getting to work on time, or being nice to that less-than-pleasant co-worker, so why do we feel the need to constantly be rewarding our children for expected behaviors?
All that time you may have spent growing up doing chores or housework, was about more than just teaching you how to do dishes, laundry or mow the lawn. Chores not only help to teach responsibility and important life skills, but also serve as a method of cultivating gratitude in children. By sharing in the household responsibilities, children are able to see a broader scope of what it is that their parents do for them, allowing them to cultivate a deeper sense of appreciation for their parents. In doing this, you are helping them to understand the concepts of gratitude and empathy, so they do not grow up having a sense of entitlement. Being spoiled or pampered can also become quite precarious if children grow up without understanding the value of money. The toddler’s 99-cent toy car can turn into a 50-dollar car video game, which in time, can turn into a brand new convertible for their 16th birthday. If everything is provided for them, this can lead to very unrealistic expectations of the world outside of your realm of protection.
As much as we desire to give them the world, we have to remember that our job as parents is to raise respectable, conscientious individuals who can take care of themselves when the time comes. Our children are truly brilliant, marvelous beings – who are we to limit them? When we remember how much we love them and want the best for them, let’s make sure that we are giving them the tools they need to thrive and be successful and not just handing them the easy button.
Love and Light,
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Arielle is a best-selling author, holistic life coach and intuitive energy healer.