On Not Ruining your Kid

I almost forgot that it’ll only take me 3 more months before I give birth to our baby girl, Summer (yes, we want to call her “Summer Maria”). Heck, I haven’t uploaded a single photo of my baby bump! Maybe I should start documenting more about this first pregnancy of mine.

But one of the things that occupy my mind lately (aside from the anxiety of birth delivery! I’m chickening out!), is how to make sure my kid will not grow up with a false sense of entitlement – you know, the spoiled type!

I’d like to think we were raised well by my parents in a way that none of us turned out to be tantrum-throwing kids who were given what we want each time we cry or complain. There’s really a lot to say about emotional intelligence these days especially now that we are living in an ever challenging world. There’s so much noise in this age that some parents tend to give in to anything fed to them as a “nice to have” for their child – even if it’s really a little too much, in my opinion. Maybe the material reward isn’t the issue, but the chances that your kid did not pick up the virtue of hard work.

False sense of entitlement

spoiled kid









That is what I’m most afraid of to be instilled on my own child. As early as now my husband and I would come into disagreements over not having to buy everything new for the baby – especially if our well-meaning families and friends have a truck load of hand-me-downs for her. Why buy when we already have what we need? Do we ought to show off? How does that come into play when your kid finds out we buy ALL things new for her?

Of course, each to his own. I’m sure all mothers know what’s best for their children. We know what works for us us, don’t we? Really none of my business. What I’m only concerned about is how to raise a kid who will grow up to be happier to give, than to receive. To be someone considerate of others. A person who knows that the world does not revolve around her – but has a gifted sense of confidence to face the world. And of course, someone who will grow up knowing the virtue of goal-setting, hard work, and dependence on God.

Stop Spoiling Your Kids by Dr. Phil

I’ve read up a few things over the Internet and came across this page of Dr. Phil pointing out some insightful notes on how not to “Spoil or Ruin Your Kid”

Of all the things he mentioned, I like these three best:

Redefine what taking care of your children means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren’t teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.”

“Your job as a parent is not to make yourself feel good by giving the child everything that makes you feel good when you give it,”

Be a good role model. “We’re not the only influence in our kids’ lives, so we better be the best influence,”

Here’s the complete list:

Over-indulgence, Dr. Phil explains, is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse. Here is a perspective that might help you stop.

  • Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don’t always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as an adult if you’ve experienced it as a child.
  • If your parent/child relationship is based on material goods, your child won’t have the chance to experience unconditional love.
  • Be a good role model. “We’re not the only influence in our kids’ lives, so we better be the best influence,” says Dr. Phil.
  • Redefine what taking care of your children means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren’t teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.
  • Don’t let your guilt get in the way of your parenting. “Your job as a parent is not to make yourself feel good by giving the child everything that makes you feel good when you give it,” Dr. Phil tells one mom. Your job as a parent is to prepare your child to succeed in school and when they get out into the world. “Kids have to be socialized in a way that they understand you work hard for what you get.” You don’t want to teach your child that they will get everything through manipulation, pouting, crying, door slamming and guilt induction.
  • Make sure your children aren’t defining their happiness and their status in the world as a function of what they wear or drive. Sit down with them and have a one-on-one conversation about what really defines their worth ” their intelligence, their creativity, their caring, their giving, their work ethic, etc. If you spent equal time sitting down and talking to them about what really mattered as you do shopping, you might be able counterbalance the countless images they see telling them otherwise.
  • Understand “intrinsic” versus “extrinsic” motivation. Intrinsic motivation is when people do things because they feel proud of themselves when they do it. They feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Extrinsic motivation is when someone does something because of external motivation. For example, they will receive money, a toy or priviledge if they do the task. If you are always rewarding your child with material things, he/she will never learn how to motivate themselves with internal rewards like pride. They also will never learn to value things because there are so many things and nothing is special.
  • Make sure your child understands the value of hard work. For example, Dr. Phil explains, “I always told our boys, ‘If you make Cs, you’re going to have a C standard of living. If you make Bs, you’re going to have a B standard of living. If you make As, you’re going to have an A standard of living.'”
  • Dr. Phil reminds one young guest who aspires to be wealthy that it’s not a bad goal, but it takes a lot of hard work to get there. “The difference between winners and losers is winners do things losers don’t want to do. And that’s work hard to get ready to be a star,” he says.
  • If your child idolizes a celebrity, ask him/her why. Dr. Phil speaks to one young guest who looks up to rich girls like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. “What have either of them ever done, except spend money that they got from somebody else? What is it you’re looking up to?”
  • Your child does not have to love you every minute of every day. He’ll get over the disappointment of having been told “no.” But he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled.
  • Help your child set goals. Teach him/her that striving to own nice things is fine if he/she understands how much hard work it takes to afford that, and then doesn’t base his/her self-worth around what she buys.

Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
– Proverbs 29:17



Filed under Parenting

4 responses to “On Not Ruining your Kid

  1. Wowwww, you’re really thinking ahead na ha! 🙂 I can’t remember what I was thinking when I was 5 months on the way, I think I was so focused on my own cravings and hormones to bother about these things just yet haha. LOL Bad mommy. :)) Jokes aside, I remember worrying / praying about them coming out healthy and without abnormalities more than how to raise them when they’re out.

    I think it was only until they were born that we started discussing in length how we want them to grow and to be raised, lalo na when routines come into play. What kind of routine do we want our babies to have? HOw do we make them sleep through the night? Mga ganyan ba.

    I started worrying about whether I’m spoiling my babies or not when we struggled about getting them to sleep. Ang dalas maririnig sa mga matatanda, or sa mga opinionated na mga tao (hehe) yung words na, “EH SINASANAY NYO KASI!” or “MINAMANIPULATE KAYO NG BATA”. I worried about that a lot. Na baka nga we’re raising them to be too needy or dependent. So I googled and researched and read stuff, and I found that there are GAZILLIONS of techniques, and principles, and how-tos on matters like this, and you get confused on which one is the best way to handle your baby.

    One of the materials I came across and I realllyyyy liked is this one:

    BASA MO! The gist of that is, you can’t spoil a baby while he’s 2 months old. Not even until they’re 6 months. Newborns don’t have the capacity to understand things just yet, thus, they don’t know how to be spoiled, or what being spoiled is. They don’t even know what manipulation is. So when a baby is crying, she’s not manipulating you, it only means she needs something. I like din how it’s stated there na when you attend to your baby’s cries earlier in their life, they end up being more secured later on. This is the pricinple that Bud and I would like to embrace.

    Lol, medyo malayo ata sa pinost mo yung comment ko haha. I guess you’re still thousands of steps ahead of me, coz you’re talking about Parenting na, which will help us when we’re raising toddlers. But “spoiling” newborns, I think, is something that you will need more in the next couple of months/years, so pag-isipin nyo rin ni Romer which principle you would embrace as parents. You’re right in saying na to each her own, and no one can tell you how to raise your own kids but yourself. Besides, babies have very unique personalities. Ngayon ko lang napatunayan to coz I’m observing two babies with the same variables–pareho ng pinanggalingan, pareho ng environment na kinalakihan, pareho ang treatment–and yet, they respond to us in completely different ways. YOu’ll learn how to take care and raise Summer as you get to know what her personality is like. 🙂

    Haha ang haba ng comment ko, this can pass off as a column na sa ThisMommyLife.com!! LOL.

    I’m excited for youuuuuU!!!! 🙂

  2. Also, the last line to that article I just linked, LIKE!!! 🙂

    “The right blend of love and guidance will eventually help your child understand his place in the world. But for now, your focus should be on giving him as much attention and comfort as you can. No matter how much you give, it’s not more than he needs.” 🙂

  3. Wow! Blog post na nga ito sa thismommylife.com hehehe! But I appreciate this, Riz! Thanks for your valuable input. Yup, nabasa ko nga yung article sa babycenter when you posted it on Facebook. It’s good to know that babies are spoil-free until 6 months of age. It gives us some breathing space not to worry too much if we are overindulging them at infancy. You’re right, nakaka praning when people tell you na ‘wag mo sanayin’ etc etc.. But I guess once you become a mother, you certainly know what to do na by instincts 🙂 I’m really praying our kid will grow up well, else I go crazy baka ako ang mag tantrums! hehehe!

    Thanks, Riz! I hope Summer can meet Dawn and Rain one time 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s