Can you spoil a baby??

Cathelijn - posted on 01/11/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I know it has been discussed before but I would love to hear everyones opinion on it..

As for me I don't believe you can spoil a baby, spoil them in what way I always wonder hold them too much, cuddle them to sleep buy them lots of toys?? I just don't believe you can spoil a baby.

My daughter used to want to be held ALL THE TIME and people (especially my Dutch Family) would call her spoiled and I used to hate it..

What do you all think?

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Sarah - posted on 01/12/2010

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I don't think you can spoil a baby. I think the first few months of life must be completely crazy to them, and the most wonderful thing to them is their mum's face and a cuddle!
(Plus, who can resist giving your baby a cuddle!)

I don't think you can spoil older babies and kids with love, but i do think some parents seem to confuse what that is. As in, my kids can have as many cuddles and kisses as they want.....BUT......i'm not going to give in to a tantrum over things because ''i love them and want them to be happy'' (if that makes sense?)

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Krista - posted on 01/13/2010

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I don't think you can spoil a baby. I think you can set them up with bad habits, such as only falling asleep in their swing, or in your arms. But I don't think you can possibly give too much love and attention to them when they're that little.

Mel - posted on 01/13/2010

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Yes! Everyone told me I spoiled my daughetr when she was a newborn. Im going to attempt to do things differently with my next lol. We used to hold our daughetr way to much til she went to sleep and while she slept half the time to. Lucky we got out of it quick enough so that she didnt remember and sleeps perfect in her cot now :)

Rosie - posted on 01/13/2010

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i do not believe you can spoil a baby-now a toddler, yes. at a certain age they learn that they can get away with alot of things if you let it go-i found it out with my oldest. babies cannot be spoiled, they don't have the capability to understand how to manipulate.

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I think the idea that a baby can be "spoiled" by being held to much is ridiculous! I mean, they lived in this tiny, enclosed space for 9 (ish) months all cuddled up and warm and swimming around (imagine learning about gravity while learning all the other stuff they learn!), and now here they are in this big, big world-it's probably very scary. Add that to the fact that they have no language to ask for what they want, for several months no coordiation to get up and get what they want, until potty trained they have to sit around in soiled underclothes until someone changes their diaper, they're trying to push teeth through their gums, they're trying to adjust to eating...It can't be all roses and sunshine for them. I just don't think that for a while they have the mental capacity for manipulation, because they're going through so much in their endeavor to grow up and because they don't yet understand, as Esther said, that the world doesn't revolve around them. I do think tantrums are going to happen, because they do have to learn boundaries-but I don't think they have to learn boundaries as tiny babies. They have plenty of time for that.

Ez - posted on 01/11/2010

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I don't think it's possible to 'spoil' a baby either. You can not hold a newborn 'too much', for example. You cannot spoil a child with love!! One of my biggest peeves is the way people prioritise a baby's emotional needs so low on the ladder. We, as adults, may not perceive that getting a cuddle right now, IMMEDIATELY, is an earth-shattering affair, but to my 11 month old, sometimes it is. That doesn't mean I run to her every grumble, because I certainly don't. But as her mother, I can tell when she's just cranky or tired versus feeling unsure or insecure about something.

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I don't have anything to add to the conversation at this time. I think you've just about covered it. But I wanted to ask...What is the "reply with quote" code? I don't have my link either!

Esther - posted on 01/11/2010

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No, I agree with that Sara. I just don't think that holding your kids, especially when they are very young, being responsive to them (not giving in, just acknowledging them and their perceived needs) and things like that fall in that category. And as for the toys Cathelijn mentioned. I doubt that a 6 month old or even a 10 month old will expect you to buy them a new toy every time you go to the store, even if that's what you do. I don't think that kicks in until after they turn 1 really. And although Lucas hardly has a shortage of toys, he still doesn't expect that now (or even gives that any thought).

Sara - posted on 01/11/2010

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Yeah, you explained it great. I do agree with you. I think that working with your child to help improve their behavior is not spoiling them, either. I do, however, think that pacifying your child with material things as an incentive to not get them to throw a tantrum is spoiling your child (as often observed in Wal-Mart), and that's what I often think of when someone uses the term "spoiled". I think tantrums are natural and need to happen, I don't avoid them, because you're right, it's the way that small children express themselves and it's an opportunity to show them how to behave in an acceptable way. I've personally observed a lot of parents who will avoid the tantrum at any cost, and I don't necessarily think that's healthy.

Esther - posted on 01/11/2010

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I think that my daughter does things to be manipulative, and she's 15 months old. When she doesn't get her way and starts crying for example, I let her cry and don't just give her what she wants to shut her up, I think if you do give in to their tantrums, it's spoiling them. I do agree you can't expect more from them than what they are capable, but when I think of a child being spoiled, I think of a child who gets their way all the time. Are you talking about stuff like that Esther?




(OK, I did the quote code since I don't have the "reply with quote" link anymore, I hope it worked)



Sara - I just think there is a difference between "manipulation" the way adults can try to manipulate eachother, and what small kids do. Yes, they are trying to get you to do what they want you to do. But I think it's more that they don't have the mental ability yet to understand that the world does not revolve around them. I think when they are young, it is perfectly normal for them to think that they are the center of the universe. And therefore it is perfectly normal for them to want what they want and to want it now. Since they don't have the vocabulary or the self control yet to ask us politely "mommy, can I please have a hug", they "ask" for it the way they know how: Cry, whine, throw a tantrum. It is what is instinctual to them. I think a baby's crying is designed to be hard to ignore because nature doesn't want you to ignore it.



I think it's up to us to teach our kids better ways to communicate, but I do think our expectations need to be age appropriate and I do not view the crying (at a young age) etc. as being "manipulative".



Also, what's "appropriate" of course varies with each child & each child's personality. I don't think there is a set age at which it crosses over into being manipulation. I think as a parent you are in the best position to judge that for your own child. I found that with Lucas, distraction and redirection were the way to go most of the time. I wouldn't give in if he threw a tantrum, but I might give him a hug if I felt he was just acting that way because he was overwhelmed with his own emotions to calm him down. And then I'd show him a better way. Once he got closer to the 2-year mark (maybe a month or so before his second birthday), I felt that he was developmentally ready for time-outs. And I have to say they work like a charm. I put him in a time-out right in the middle of the isle at Costco just yesterday.



I just don't feel that being responsive to your child, trying to work with them rather than butting heads with them, is spoiling them. I consider myself my son's teacher. And I just try to teach him better ways. I do not give in to his demands, but I also do not necessarily view it as a battle between us.



I hope I explained that OK.

Cathelijn - posted on 01/11/2010

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oh the crazy Dutchies!

Sara -I do think forming habits is different from spoiling though, they just get used to things and then they don't like it any different I don't think it has too do with them knowing what they are doing.. Maybe I am just naive :-))

Sara - posted on 01/11/2010

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I think that my daughter does things to be manipulative, and she's 15 months old. When she doesn't get her way and starts crying for example, I let her cry and don't just give her what she wants to shut her up, I think if you do give in to their tantrums, it's spoiling them. I do agree you can't expect more from them than what they are capable, but when I think of a child being spoiled, I think of a child who gets their way all the time. Are you talking about stuff like that Esther?

Esther - posted on 01/11/2010

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I'm with you Cathelijn. I don't think you can spoil a baby either. At all. I think it takes quite some time before they develop the mental capacity to start manipulating. I don't consider crying for attention by a 6 month old "manipulation". I call that communication. But my Dutch family disagrees too. They (mainly my parents) think that if a 1 year old isn't behaving it is a good idea to lock them up in the hallway with the door closed and then they are shocked when they find everything in the hallway trashed. They are also very "old school" about CIO (just let them cry for however long it takes for them to pass out) and about spanking. Since my parents mean a lot to me their comments always make me doubt myself but with some distance comes clarity and in my heart I know I'm doing the right thing. At the very least the right thing for my child. I'm not spoiling him. I'm giving him age appropriate attention & guidance. Now that he's 2, I'm setting the bar higher. But I can't expect a baby to be developmentally ready to be independent and I can't expect a 2 year old to have perfect self control.

Sara - posted on 01/11/2010

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I think you can't spoil a baby up to a certain age. I think anything you do before 6 months is fine, but after that you need to pay attention to the things your doing as not to form bad habits. That's my opinion.

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