Can you do too much for your children?

Every mom wants to give her children the best possible, but how do you know if you've crossed a line and spoiled them? What are some tips you can share with other moms to know when enough is enough?

29  Answers

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One of my favorite quotes (unsure of source):
"Sometimes we try so hard to give our children what we didn't have, we forget to give them what we did have."

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I believe that today's parents do too much for their children. As a teacher I see parents carrying their children's backpacks for them, etc. around the school campuses. I also see far more Moms and Dads who accompany their children into the classroom at the Kindergarten level and spend time before the bell rings. I am one who reared her children to be self-sufficient and the Montessori training that they received from age 2.5 backed that belief up as the entire curriculum is based on teaching the child independent learning techniques.

I was schooled in the 50's and early 60's and am very thankful that my parents were off to work before I left for school and home after we arrived in the afternoons. It taught us independence and self confidence.

As children we were also not brought toys or treats every time we accompanied our parents to a store as I see so many parents do these days. Toys were for birthdays and Christmas, otherwise we created our own or saved our own money paid for chores and bought our own, also teaching us a modicum of responsibility.

We were given assistance with homework if required, but more often than not we were referred to dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. to research our own information needed.

Parents, in my humble opinion have become far too lenient and competitive with other parents in the area of child rearing.

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32 22

Amen to your point of view. Hope other moms are "listening,"

29 17

Nothing in life is free and life is not fair the sooner your children learn that the better off they will be. They also need to learn the value of money, make them do a chore for an allowance and save for things they love. Other wise they grow up and expect things and don't respect nothing.

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YES I think we do too much for our kids! When our 11 yr old daughter had to start vacuuming this year she was in shock! I reminded her at 10 I did ALL of the laundry for our entire family of 5. She decided vacuuming was not too bad! Our son (8) takes out the trash, wipes down a table, knows how to dust, and can clean up a room faster than he can trash it! They both strip their beds and I am teaching them to load and unload the dishwasher. I'm picky about my laundry, I've been doing it FOREVER, so slowly I'm teaching them this. They have cooked for ages and love to help! They do NOT get an allowance and they help around the house as the price to live here and be a productive part of our family!

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My daughter actually likes cleaning the baseboards. She's just 8. She even offered to do it at our school in the gymnasium with her brother for our High School's graduation this past year. Our Principal was in shock. They had fun doing for others!

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I absolutely believe you can do too much for your children. I have 5 children and I can say I have honestly done my best in raising them to be independent. However, I can also honestly say that I am probably guilty of giving them too much at times. I remember once particular Christmas, my oldest son, who was around 9 years old at the time, clearly expressed his utter disappointment in his Christmas gifts. He explained that he didn't get what he really wanted and poo pooed what he did get. This was so shocking and hurtful. I thought, "How can he be so ungrateful? I do everything for my children!" I kept my cool as best I could and tried to teach him a lesson about the spirit of Christmas. He listened, but his attitude did not change one bit. I then realized that maybe the lesson wasn't really for him, but for me. I had been giving my children way too much. I am the mom that would carry my kids back-pack for them, or buy the toy to bribe them to be good in the store! I needed to change. Be more of a parent. I had to stop that kind of "help" and stop it fast. And when I did, there was a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth! And for the first time I saw how disrespectful my own children were being to me. It was tough. I cried a lot. I felt like I was failing as a parent and as a person. They continued to test me for months and I never thought I would make it through. But I held to my guns and told myself that I would NEVER have another Christmas like that again. My children knew how I felt and I expressed to them that Christmas had always been a happy time for me. I wanted Christmas to be a happy time for them as well. But if they were receiving gifts all year round, then what difference was Christmas? I learned that same lesson the following year with Halloween. I remember when I was a kid candy was a precious commodity. Now kids get it everywhere! School seems to be the biggest source of candy. So Halloween is no big deal. It's sad to me. To those parents who have stuck to their guns and push their children to use their imaginations and don't succumb to all the temptations the world has to offer, I commend you. I have learned my lesson and love being a mom much more because of it!!

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Recently my kids wanted to have a "lemonade stand" in our front yard to make some money. I didn't have any lemonade so I told them half-heartedly to sell any toys that they no longer wanted. When I checked on them in the playroom, they had a whole pile of toys they wanted to sell and were in the process of lugging them out front. I started to stop them, but then figured it was their choice. They were having fun and being organized and making price signs and getting rid of what we already have way too much of...toys! And when I asked them what they would do with the money they made, they said they wanted to donate it to an animal shelter or children's hospital. The whole situation reminded me that sometimes it really is best just to get out of their way, not be over-bearing and when they are making their own fun without any parental involvement, to just let them be.

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I am a terrible cook. However, letting my 8 year be apart of my cooking experience, she has become a little expert. She can do just about anything. I stay for safety and help with the stove. She began when she became interested in getting her own eggs from the chickens on our farm. First, she learned how to scramble eggs. Now her favorite is fried eggs. Yes, she can make a mess. But what cook doesn't. She has also gotten my son interested in the whole thing. It is like some kind of competition. There are no limitations to what she can do. I am proud of her!
Oh, by the way- I had to over come a neat freak thing!

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@ Pamela. I must have been born in the 50's too, (the 70s really) as I parent them the same way. My kids do for themselves. I help when I know they need it, but I always ask first. I want my kids to know that I am there when they really need me, but otherwise they prefer to do for themselves as they feel proud of their accomplishments. I sometimes get grief from my 8 yr old as she claims all her friends have this and that. But that blows over very quickly when we do something very special as a family. My kids help with all chores around the house, we work as a team, but they have lots of free time to be kids. We have a very strict TV/computer policy (unless it is for school), and we have no electronics in the house (Ipods, Ipads, DS etc.) and for the foreseeable future we intend to keep it that way. I am always amazed what my 8 yrs old will share with me when her younger siblings are in bed and we are unloading the dishwasher. Our best talks actually. She knows she has 100% of my attention, we are working together and we discuss everything going on with her friends, boys, school etc.

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Let them make mistakes - in a safe environment.
Both my kids are extremely careful about touching hot objects and getting their little fingers caught in doors/drawers. That's because I've let them try it when they were 6 months old. As soon as they were able to open and close a drawer, I've allowed them to close it (not too strongly, though), on their own fingers.They know that a door operates the same way as a drawer, and have always been careful to use the door knob.
Rather than preventing them from doing something dangerous, I let them experience the consequences (provided it isn't health/life-threatening). They know what it's like to touch a hot drink. When they fall, they know they have to get up and dust themselves off, all on their own. My son developed a bad (and very late) habit of putting his fingers and toys in his mouth. After reminding him several times that it was dirty, I waited to see what would happen. He caught a very painful mouthsore. But now he knows the consequences of putting dirty objects in his mouth.
Of course, I always try to reinforce good behavior. So when I see them doing things on their own, such as putting on their own shoes, helping each other and tidying up around the house, I praise them for it. If they've poured themselves a drink but have spilled half of it on the table, I simply show them how to clean up after themselves and we'll try again together. They know that sometimes, it's better to ask Mommy for help.

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I feel that kids these days have way to many things. When I was growing up we had one phone for the whole house and we had to limit our time to share with everyone. We never got to just sit on the phone and call our friends all the time, because we had household chores to do and our homework and getting ready for school. We all watched TV together and it was programs the entire family could watch. Now, the parents go in one room, the children in others and do their own things. The kids suffer. Deep down they don't say it, but kids would much rather you be active with them, than to hand them a handheld game or something. I'm a grandmother and my grandkids love to come over because we do things together. They also love to help me witht the dusting and things like that and then we go do something fun. Why can't parents see that? Because it is much easier to stick them in front of a tv or game and they can do whatever they want and not be bothered with the kids. I've actually had my kid's friends tell them they were so lucky, that their Mom and Dad did things with them. It's sad. That's why in my opinion a lot of kids turn to drugs, pills etc because they feel neglected or think no one cares anyway. That's my opinion for whatever it's worth.

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I think we parents can and more often than not, do do more for our children than we should. Even though my own children are grown now, I fight with myself to not - even now - do for them what they should be doing on their own. I guess I know what it was like and I don't want them to struggle or worry like I did back in the day. But I realize by helping them, I'm actually hurting them; because when I'm unable to help or am dead, my kids won't be able to do for themselves. That's when I force myself to sit back, pray for them, and otherwise do nothing else. I want to know that they can take care of themselves long after I'm gone and that they will feel secure in their own strength and abilities.

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I've had my children helping with chores since they were 3 years old. Even if its something as simple as scooping a cup of the dogs food out of the bin and putting it in the dog bowl, it teaches them responsibility My children have helped with laundry since they were tall enough to pull pull it from the washer and stuff it inthe dryer. Then they graduate to more when they are old enough to learn to fold. They rinse and load the dishwasher as well. I let them help with whatever they are capable of doing for their age and maturity level. I had to do it when I was a kid. My kids will do it now. My daughter is in a wheelchair. She can't reach the high shelves so what do I make her do? She puts away the stuff that goes in the bottom cupboards and stacks the other stuff on the counter to be put away by someone tall. Its all about teaching responsibility and life skills that they will need when they are grown and out on their own. You have to start sometime and if you start when you are young its easier to learn. You will not be around forever. It is your job and your responsibility as a parent to teach them these skills, responsibilities and time-management so that no matter what age they are they can be a contributing, productive member of the family and society. You might be suprised by what they are capable of and they will be proud of what they can accomplish on their own!

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It is so heartening to know there are moms such as you rearing tomorrow's future. We will be leaning on your kids to lead the way. Well done!

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Yes I believe we can. If we do everything for them and dont allow them to do for themselves they will get to be adults and not know how to be adults. As children we had to think for ourselves and be creative so we had problem solving skills. If we as parents or grandparents do everything what are we allowing them to learn.If you think what is the biggest problem we have in the U.S. it has been said that our children r in the feel good mode. We dont allow them to do for themselves. Walk into a room and see what they have. Certificates, ribbons, trophys and such. And this is for poor to mediocre performances. What have they learned and what will they be able to do when its time to live and work.

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Doing less for them can give them the best possible chance. The more children learn to do tasks and make good decisions on their own the better odds they have of living a productive life. Of course, I am going to take you into the kitchen! From very young ages, kids are capable and often willing to bring their dishes to the sink when done, set the table (imperfectly is fine - it is their work or art), take the garbage out, crack eggs (messy fun), stir ingredients, measure ingredients - so many kitchen tasks are fair game. And, yes, teach them to clean up their messes. The tendency is to engage kids in making cookies and cakes. Why stop there? You need help. They need to learn confidence through kitchen skills. Once you get over the perception the only you can get things done on time, you will find training them is a time saver. Have fun!... for the health of families.

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I remember raising three children under 4 thinking that if I used the "golden rule" with them they would say something like: Thanks for making my bed, what can I do for you? I tried to accommodate the children and give them what they wanted, but an amazing thing happened...I got the opposite reaction; that was selfishness, greed, thanklessness and rude mouths. I didn't understand that. Then I found an amazing parenting app that created the interaction I wanted and needed to direct the children in the way I was trying to do. It is called: The Happy Face Token System and it is used by the parent to teach children how to become self-sufficient and self-motivated to find ways to develop their skills, talents, and abilities, as well as, improve family sibling relationships and happy obedience. Within two weeks my children actually came when I called and asked what they could do for me! Soon they were doing, being and acting as I envisioned and we were on track again. This is a program made for the happiness and well-being of Mom, and is controllable only by mom so the kids can't get around the system. I gained the control again but I got happy children who wanted to try all things on their own and gained much character, and confidence in ways I couldn't accomplish any other way. We used this token system all through their years at home. There is a book called From Combat Zone to Love at home that gives boot camp training on this token system that is worth it's price in gold! The author even guarantees your success within 30 days or get your money back; how often do you see that? I will be forever grateful for the happy face token system.

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How do you relax in High School when you are being confident to not to be say of 'people'? Like.. I know more than my mom.. but I can't control the feeling.. Like That's Me. I'm sorry.

http://blahberelaxandmakeabeatinyourlifeofmeaning

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My 15 and 13 year old daughters are fully engaged in summer activities, which creates a lot of stress for this working full time mom whose husband travels for business a lot. I have a set amount of chores which never get done without my being the Wicked Witch of the South, and I'm just exhausted. I'm tired of nagging, and feel like I'm failing. The drama of two teenagers and trying to accommodate everyone is getting to be too much. I've read many self help books, but am just looking for someone who's been in the trenches and is managing this more effectively than I. What happened to the little amount of zen that I used to have?

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Last summer, my sister (who also has two teens) instituted written weekly checklists that get posted with set rewards next to them. Do the dishes 3x = money for the movies. fold and put away laundry 3x = having friends over for pizza. you get the idea. Bottom line, if those things DIDN'T get done, there were no "extras" like movies and/or friends over for pizza. She stuck to her guns, and it wasn't exactly peaceful, but they soon got the connection between doing and receiving. You are NOT failing; having teens that are fully involved in summer activities and working full time is not easy, and you are already setting a great example for them.

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I don't believe you can ever do too much for your children. But you do need to teach them balance so that they appreciate what you do for them. NO ONE will ever do more or want more for your kids than you do, why hold back?

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I don't let him have everything he wants. I dont buy him something every time we go to the store even if he asks. Sometimes, even if you have the money, you just have to deny the child of unneccesary things. It might seem silly if you can afford it but you have to teach the child that they can't have everything they want.

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DEFINITELY!! Too many people do too much for their kids. How come even when I take my daughter (she's 2) to the store and a store associate is nice and gives her a little something (sticker/sucker/candy/etc) and I tell my daughter to say thank you, the associates proceed to tell ME that she doesn't have to?? We were just at the store and my daughter has earned her nickname "fingers" because she is like Monk and has to touch EVERYTHING with the tips of her fingers as she walks by. Usually she is really careful though. Today, she knocked down a movie. I didn't miss a beat to flip around and tell her "pick it up and put it away". She didn't miss a beat (and was probably ahead of me before I opened my mouth) to pick it up. She struggled on HOW to put in on the shelf and where it went, but we used it as a matching lesson. "Look at the cover. Where do you see that cover?" Then she found it and her little fingers couldn't push the thing back to put it in. But the idea is that she TRIED and she KNEW she had to try it. By the age of 5, she shouldn't need my help at all and I would EXPECT her to do it herself (as long as physically capable).

I think that's the problem... Too many parents think that kids aren't CAPABLE and don't EXPECT things from them. I EXPECT a lot from my children. I EXPECT that they learn to be productive and contributing people who can care for themselves when they are 18. The only way to get from here to there is to teach them along the way. If I do it FOR them, they learn nothing. My son (15 now) would want my help with spelling things. I would (and still do, if he asks - which he almost never needs to) ask him "what do you think?" He would try the whole whiny "I don't know!!" thing and that would be the complete END of any help he got from me. I would tell him that if he can't try it himself, then I don't know how close he is to begin with. If he's wrong, we will work until he can figure it out, but I will NOT do it for him. He's now 15 and working his first job and when he turns 16 (in January) they have already set him aside for management at that point. He complains about others not showing up for work and how another employee was more concerned about messing with his pants all day than to do his job - which made my son work HARDER to complete all the work to be done. He can now see WHY I have been so strict on things. Figure it out for yourself buddy. If you need guidance, I am here, but I am NOT doing it for you. How does my showing you that *I* know how to do it, help you?

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My children are just the opposite. At 14 and 15 years old, they are spoiled. I was taught independence at a very young age. When I had to, I knew what to do when my parents were away. These two I have, a boy and girl, ugh! I have to constantly tell them to do this and that. I mean when will it register that if you see something that needs to be done, just do it! Another mistake is attempting to keep them with the latest fads out. As well as they have all types of gidgets and gadgets, some of the things I never would have in my childhood. if an yone has any ideas on how I can rear these children while they are still children, please post to the name listed.
Angee

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I agree. We (parents today) are doing too much for our children. By doing too much we are teaching them to be rely other people for everything. What will happen to these children when they are adults? They won't know how to do anything without mom being there with them. I think the only thing we need to do is be sure we TEACH them how to do things for themselves and not simply expect they will know how to do something.

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Yep and then they turn on you...

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My son is 4 and clears all his own dishes, cleans the table down after meals and gets his own breakfast outing a morning. He also has his own washing basket in his room, sorts out the light and dark washing for me on washday and loves it. When I was young my parents did a lot for me and it did me no favours when I first left home-how things change over the years!

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Helicopter parents. It’s a term that references parents who hover over their kids, knee-deep in everything their kids do. Helicopter parents, while well-intentioned, end up creating a sense of dependence in their kids. Kids of helicopter parents feel it’s necessary to get their parents’ blessing or feedback on almost everything that the kids do. As a toddler, that’s a good thing. However, kids should become more independent as they age . . . but kids of helicopter parents have trouble with that.

Laissez-faire parents tend to let their kids do as they wish. We’ve all seen parents who say something like, “I could tell my kids not to pick up the kitty, but the lesson will be more meaningful for them if they pick up the kitty and get scratched. Kids tune out parents, but the temporary pain of being scratched will be remembered.” Kids of laissez-faire parents end up learning a lot of lessons “the hard way”, and some of those painful lessons could have been avoided with parental intervention.

Both helicopter parents and laissez-faire parents support their own choices by finding fault with the choices of the other group. Helicopter parents don’t...
http://tinyurl.com/brsg8g6

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I agree that independence and self-sufficiency are important. What troubles me, though, is the expression in #3 "What do I make her do?"

The hope - and the idea that I try to get across to my kids - is not "mommy is task master," but rather "we live together, and share both the work and the pleasure of having our own home."

That means that if we want a cake, we make it together and clean up together. If YOU want a cake, YOU can bake it (with my supervision) and clean up afterwards. If we all want clean clothes, we have to work together on washing and folding.

It also means that the kids are involved in selecting furnishings and carpets, etc.; they live here too!

Lisa

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presents / toys are for birthdays and christmasses i firmly believe that. my sons father in the other hand, wil buy him a new toy every weekend that he spends with him. So i am at home trying to unspoil my child through the week, and after the weekend e comes home a spoilt brat. its rather annoying.

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When you're still spoon-feeding them at age 5, they're spoiled. I know, I did it.

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I dont think u can ever do to much for your kids as , Personaly I think if you are capable of taking care of your kids and doing what ever there maybe that u want to do,for them or they want you to do for them kids werent ask to be born and also if your not asking anyonr for a help and hand why should it matter what iam doing for my babies . Also I do believe in rewarding kids for excellence in school and home but if ur not doing well u will not be rewarded for doing bad in any area!

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