Your Kids Are NOT Spoiled
I often hear parents and caregivers refer to their kids as spoiled. And I’ll admit it, I have thought it in the past as well.
The thing is…kids are not spoiled. They don’t even know what ‘spoiled’ means until adults give it meaning for them. And by placing this label on them, especially voicing it to them or in front of them implies they have done something wrong. And this is far from the truth and is not what you want your kids to think of themselves.
Yes, kids these days have an abundance of stuff, but it is not they who bought it for themselves. It is the adults and caregivers in their lives who bought it for them. It is the adults teaching them that more is better, that new is better, and teaching them a life of consumerism.
Yes, toys and games are fun and it is fun to give and receive in the moment of doing so. However, it gets to the point when both child and parent/caregiver become overwhelmed. Parents get upset with their kids for not cleaning their rooms and having toys and stuff all over the house; when really, where do they keep all this abundance of stuff that is bursting from every room in the house. It is not the kids fault, and truthfully it is not the parents either. For putting blame on anyone, doesn’t really help the situation. It is the world of consumerism and more, more, more; always wanting the latest and greatest until the latest and greatest becomes old and boring just a short while later. And then the new latest and greatest comes out and so and so on.
As my daughter was packaging up some toys the other say that she no longer plays with (of her own choosing), she said to me, “Mom, I have never even played with this.” I even sensed some guilt within her sweet little 10 year old voice. There was hundreds of dollars’ worth of toys she had opened up for birthdays, Christmas’s, etc. and had never played with them. We had a little chat and talked about needs and wants. And the short story of it is, it is okay to want stuff and to have the stuff you want as well, just not in excess and not overly above what one really needs. And I told there is nothing to feel guilty about for all the stuff she had accumulated, for it was her fault at all. And to remember all the fun she had with each item at one point when she first received it. Although she had an abundance of stuff, an abundance of fun was also had with all of it; until the abundance of stuff became overwhelming.
And while she may not have played much with many of the toys she packaged up, she was happy to donate them so another happy child can play with them and enjoy them. So really, there are ways to make this abundance of stuff work out and be shared with everyone.
So next time you catch yourself calling your child ‘spoiled’ or another child for that matter, stop yourself. Stop yourself and help them understand instead. Help them understand there is much more value in things not of the material world.
Realize that they are not spoiled or rotten. They are not milk that spoils with age or food that’s left out to rot, they are children, and it is our responsibility as parents, caregivers, and adults to be role models. Lead by example. Value quality time and togetherness. Do not place labels on kids for something that is not their fault. Do not belittle them for something they know little about.
Teach them. Lead by example. Do not give in to the temptations of the consumerism world yourself. Help your kids sort their stuff. Make room for storage if needed and donate that which they no longer play with. And donate that which you yourself no longer need as well.
Teach them the value of non-material things:
Go for walks and hikes together.
Have fun together.
And love togetherness.
But please do not label and call names for that which is not true. No mess or abundance of stuff is ever worth more than hurting one’s feelings, especially those whom we love. And just because you may not like their messy room and the abundance of stuff all over the house, don't give your power away to it. Don't give your sanity to it. Don't give your peace to it. All messes in life are temporary, including messy rooms.
Children are our future. Let’s guide them wisely, simply, and lovingly.
Love and big hugs,