Related Forum Threads
- 4 year old behavior Last post on 4/10/13 at 12:38pm in The Childhood Years
- spanking a toddler for being mean Last post on 4/17/13 at 9:17am in Toddlers
- out of gentler solutions for 2.5 yo "violence" Last post on 4/29/13 at 4:32am in Toddlers
- Threats with knives - WWYD? Last post on 7/26/12 at 9:30pm in Gentle Discipline
Helping Kids with Frustration and Rage
Edited on 4/30/13
- Raising a Child Who Wants to Behave: Dare Not to DisciplineEdited on 1/9/13
- Holiday time: when family & friends criticise your parenting...Edited on 11/19/12
- Buying Pot for my 11-Year-Old
Alphabetical Article List
You Can't Spoil Them with Love
Though Valentine's Day has already come and gone, the whole month of February always seems to me to be dedicated to love. It gives us a fabulous excuse to reflect on what love really is and to assess our growth in love.
I teach Baby Care classes at an area hospital, and one of my goals is to help parents to understand the fundamental relationship between responsiveness and trust. It's a cycle that begins from the very first moments after birth and continues...well, frankly, I don't think it ever ends. The basic premise is that responding to your child's needs -- expressed through cries in the infant stage and through gradually more sophisticated modes of communication as the child grows -- builds a strong foundation of trust, which leads in turn to security and happiness. I stress to my expecting families that you can't spoil a child by responding to his legitimate needs.
There are some parenting methods out there that emphasize the good of the schedule over the child's needs. Yes, children need structure. But what is the good of structure if they are hungry, or tired, or neglected? Without love, discipline misses its mark. Discipline is simply a means to an end -- a well-behaved, considerate, generous child -- not an end in itself. Denying a child's legitimate needs simply for the sake of a routine or a schedule isn't love. I'll just say it again: you can't spoil a child by responding to his legitimate needs.
I'll even go one step beyond that. I don't think you can spoil a child with love. Period.
It might sound like a radical claim, and in many ways it is. But let's first recognize what love truly is. Love always desires and works toward the good of the other. This good might be physical -- the baby needs to be fed or changed or held. It might be emotional -- the child needs encouragement to try again after running into challenges. Or it might be spiritual -- comfort in the time of grief or a prayer before bed to extinguish fears.
Thinking about it this way, it's clear that "love" and "spoiling" don't even belong in the same sentence together, much less in a cause/effect relationship! Spoiling, by definition, is yielding when you should stand firm -- an indulgence of the child's desires that eventually will actually work to the child's harm, not her good. Love often requires us to frustrate our children's desires, because we "know what's best" and we love them enough to say no. But if you've spent time fostering the relationship of trust that comes from meeting her needs on every level, the child might be mad at you at that moment, but she knows deep down that you will take care of her and do what's best for her.
So don't worry about spoiling your child with too much love. You can't spoil them by meeting their legitimate needs or by working for their good. Shower them with love, and watch them thrive!
About S.K. Valenzuela
S.K. is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and teaches childbirth and baby care classes at a major Dallas hospital. She also enjoys freelancing about writing and all things mothering. Her book, Mothering the Mother of Many, will be released in 2013. She also enjoys writing fiction, and her second novel, The Lords of Askalon, is now available. For more information about her current projects, please visit her at www.skvalenzuela.com and follow her on Twitter at @skvalenzuela. She and her husband and their six beautiful children live in Dallas, Texas.
- Raising a Child Who Wants to Behave: Dare Not to Discipline
- › 30 min seizure after pentacel vax 3 minutes ago
- › ~Weekly Chat Thread for May 17th-May 23~ 3 minutes ago
- › February '09 Mamas ~ Childhood Chat :) 7 minutes ago
- › Zebediah's birth story 9 minutes ago
- › How many days to go.... 11 minutes ago
- › How do you handle payment for overseas travel when kids are really... 11 minutes ago
- › Alternatives to cord clamping? 13 minutes ago
- › Does anyone know of any Waldorf Inspired Preschools? - RI 16 minutes ago
- › Root Canal on 7 year old..... 16 minutes ago
- › fear of never having another baby? 18 minutes ago
- › Trillium Organics OGmama Belly Butter by trilliumama
- › Gaiam Wrap Waist Yoga Pants by Melanie Mayo
- › Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by dayiscoming2006
- › Charlie Banana Reusable Feminine Pads Liner Butterfly, Butterfly by Chapsie
- › Earth Mama-Angel Baby Earth Mama Bottom Balm, 2 fl oz (60 ml) by Chapsie
- › Econobum Individual by Chapsie
- › EnJoye LBI Deluxe Tote Set - Brown by JennaRose
- › Lusa Organics Booty Balm by emkassu
- › I Took the Moon for a Walk by Melanie Mayo
- › BabyKicks Premium Pocket Diaper by KirstenP
- › Happy Simple Baby Love by SmilinMomma
- › Buying Pot for my 11-Year-Old by momofnatasha
- › Making the Grade by Melanie Mayo
- › Homeopathy -- A Lifesaver For Your Summer... by Melanie Mayo
- › Relax. Parenting Is Supposed to Be Messy,... by Brian Leaf
- › Managing Mom Stress: Sharing Tips and Trying... by Melanie Mayo
- › Who Wants to Sleep Alone? by Cynthia Mosher
- › Should I Train My Child....Like a Dog?! by Sarah Clark
- › Mothering Articles by Melanie Mayo
- › Terms and Conditions - Sustainability Oak... by JenniO11