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Spoiled Children

I asked myself today, "Do spoiled children actually exist?"

I know that we, as parents, want to avoid, that, but considering how few spoiled children I've seen (none in recent memory), I'm beginning to think that they're legendary creatures.

Partly, I think that spoiled children are a term of authoritarian culture, and that authoritative culture sees the issue differently. "Spoiled children" mostly makes sense when the authority demands conformity to the authority.

As for "doing everything that the kid wants", what parent can do that? Most of aren't rich enough to say yes to everything even if we are permissive liberal wimps. We have no choice but to say no on things, and in that, we have a practical, real-world brake on most spoiling. Perhaps if I was rich I could spoil my child, but only if I'm rich.

I now put "spoiling children" into the same realm as werewolves and vampires: horror stories for parents.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 27th, 2017 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oh they exist. They totally exist.

Exhibit A - children are told to not go up to the fence at the joust field. Parents are told to not let the children go up to the fence at the joust field. When I then tell the children again that they have to stay back and get a bit firmer, the parents yell at me for squashing their children's desire.

Exhibit B - children are playing at Grandma's house at a party. Parent says "ok, it is almost time for cake, clean up your toys" children ignore parent. Parent says "almost time for cake, you need to put away 3 toys if you want cake" children continue playing with all toys. Parent says "ok kids, come get your cake ... parent puts away all toys". The kids in question are between 4 and 12.

Exhibit C - Child (high school student) is called down to dinner. Child does not show up for dinner. Parents take a plate of food up and leave it outside child's room and text child that the food is there (because child doesn't like it when parents knock on door).

Exhibit D - Child fails out of community college. Child gets a job but finds the fact that the child is expected to wash dishes when working in a restaurant (hired as kitchen staff) instead of doing all the cooking and quits because it is unreasonable. Child gets new job, similar results. It is suggested to parents that maybe child should be required to pay rent on apartment that child is sharing with SO. Parents reply that they couldn't ever make the child do anything.

These are all real cases of children that I know.
Feb. 27th, 2017 09:55 pm (UTC)
Your examples failed to convince me. You gave me four parent problems without giving me a child problem.
Feb. 27th, 2017 10:04 pm (UTC)
Do spoiled children actually exist? [...] I'm beginning to think that they're legendary creatures

Are spoiled children usually if not always a product of parent problems? Yes, I think they are. Parents who won't/can't say No to their children and don't believe in making their children suffer consequences of their choices are (in my opinion) spoiling the children.

Or are you saying that the only time a child is "spoiled" is if they never hear no and I believe that all parents will eventually say no if at least to prevent the child from killing/maiming itself (one of the parents I mentioned did tell the child no when the child was reaching towards a burner).
Feb. 28th, 2017 01:25 am (UTC)
In my observation, "spoiling" is a judgement, by an observing that someone else is spoiling or that someone else is spoiled, and these people are usually authoritarian by nature, such as yourself. Non-authoritarians don't think in terms of spoiled at all.
Feb. 28th, 2017 12:40 pm (UTC)
So, your tenet is that if someone expects someone else to conform to the rules of society that they are authoritarian and further that only authoritarians can see a child as spoiled?

The way you are phrasing things is implying to me that:
1) You see no spoiled children
2) Since you see none, you believe that they don't exist
3) When others see them/comment on them the others are authoritarian
3a) Because they are authoritarian they see a problem that does not exist.

Given that authoritarianism implies tyranny and absolute obedience, I don't think that it is the best word to use.

You would say that children who hit or bite others, who won't clean up their toys, who expect dinner to be left at their door, etc. are "parent problems". If the behaviors are acceptable, why are they problems? If they are not acceptable, why not and why parent problem rather than parent spoiling the child?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )