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Hello and spoiled onlies

Hello from your new mod! :) I'm going to work on re-vamping the community info, promoting, etc. If you all have any input, I'm glad to hear it!

Now, for the real post.

I'm starting to become slightly terrified of spoiling my only child, currently 2.

I used to think we wouldn't have to worry about it for a few years because we are too poor to really spoil him. But lately I've found almost EVERY time we go out, we buy him things. And it's not "bad" buying, (e.g. to bribe him, keep him happy, etc.) we just LIKE to buy things for him. I think we enjoy the toy aisles more than he does!

And we want him to have things we didn't, and don't want to deprive him of anything. We recently bought him a toddler-size table and chairs because I wanted him to have that space to color, etc.

We buy him train stuff like there's no tomorrow because he LOVES trains and we just can't resist. That's the biggest thing, really, there's just so much stuff that's so cute we just can't resist!

And while he doesn't usually ask for everything we buy anyway, I feel like on one hand, why would I want to deprive him of something I don't have to deprive him of (for money reasons), but on the other hand, I don't want him to think he will always get whatever he wants and that's how the world works.

I know if we had another child, this would be different because a) we'd have even LESS disposable income and b) toys and things wouldn't necessarily be *all his* but rather would feel more like a communal item.

Comments, criticisms, commiserations?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
*waves* to new mod. :^)

Are you planning to ever have another child? My hubby (eldest of 4) has some issues left over from childhood, because his parents "spoiled him" a bit when he was young (piles of presents bigger than he was!), and then as more and more kids came, his x-mas presents (for instance) dwindled to a book and some socks. He kind of hates x-mas as a result of this.

Really, it sounds like you two are trying to make up for your own deprived childhoods. And some of that's ok. What are kids for, after all, but to give us a vicarious good childhood, and remind us of all the fun we can have? ;^) But make sure you don't set yourself up for trouble (as did we, in part) by ending up with too many toys for the kid to take care of. We have a really hard time with "the stuff monster" in our house! Even toys bought at thrift stores have to be stored, after all. *sigh*
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
Having more kids is kind of up in the air. DH is not ready right now and I feel like 'now or never.' I don't want my kids too far apart if I have more than one, and I'm also afraid of just what you described - him getting to used to being the center of the world.

One thing I didn't mention is that he's also the only grandchild/nephew/etc. On both sides. At Christmastime, we buy him only one largeish gift, same for his birthday. Because everyone else spoils him.

As for STUFF, we try to regularly get rid of stuff he doesn't play with, and plan to make it a holiday tradition as he grows older, in part to teach him the spirit of giving to those less fortunate.

I think you're right about the deprived childhoods thing. I definitely want him to have all the things I never did (I was an only child until I was 12 but was raised by a single mom who was piss poor). I want him to have the childhood I didn't have, too, not just in STUFF but in happiness. I don't think that's wrong to want, but I worry about projecting that way. That would be no different with two, though.

I worry about spoiling him with attention, too. When we're home (i.e. he's not in daycare), he has us all to himself, we're there when he needs us, he rarely has to wait his turn or anything like that. I know he can learn all that from outside interaction, but at the end of the day, he's not sharing HIS stuff/people. Is it possible for a kid to have too much love? I try not to smother him, etc. But again I'm not inclined to deprive him of what he wants (attention-wise) just for the sake of it. This parenting stuff is hard. :)
Feb. 21st, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
I was an only till I was 10, so I get it. And my youngest (*points upward to icon*) is, in some ways, an "only" now, since her sister is 12 years older than she, and already out of the house.

Sounds like you're already aware of some of the issues, and are making wise choices, like giving him only one thing for x-mas, since everyone else is making up for it already! Another idea is to suggest to your relatives that they give him intangible gifts, things that are experiences rather than *things*. One of our close friends gave our daughter a gift certificate for some visits to the zoo, for instance. Memberships at kid-friendly places, or movie gift certificates can be great options that give the kid memories and time with special people, and don't fill your home with stuff. Is there a model train museum near you? Or a park with a train in it that you could go visit?

Is there a way that you can tame your own desire for the cute things by setting a budget, either in terms of number of items, or money? Another friend of mine used to have problems buying fabric. She had a rule that whenever she bought something new, she had to use or get rid of at least TWO pieces from her previous collection. That kept her from buying every lovely piece she laid eyes on! Or maybe you could find a way to get to play with some of the toys *elsewhere*, so you don't have to buy them? Or what about buying some of the toys and donating them to your child's daycare directly?

Re: spoiling him with attention--I don't think that's as much of a danger if (as I think you're indicating) he's already in daycare. He's having the opportunity to learn about social interaction there, about taking turns, and sharing. When he's at home with you, I think it's perfectly fine for him to get your undivided attention--as long as you're spending enough time on yourselves, and taking care of business around the house, for instance. A child who is securely attached will be a secure and well-developed child. Another idea on this one would be to invite some of his friends at daycare over for playdates at your house. That would certainly let you see whether he was able to work out sharing *his* stuff. But don't expect too much at this age. Kids are naturally pretty clingy and selfish; that's their JOB at the moment. :^)

Parenting IS hard, but don't stress too much about it. The fact that you're asking questions shows you have your hearts in the right place. And with that, your kid will almost certainly flourish. :^D
Feb. 21st, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your advice, insight, and comfort. It makes a difference! One of the big reasons I didn't want to see this community deleted. :)
Feb. 21st, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Hello new mod!

I am an only child (I have no children yet, but DH and I are planning on having one in the next few years - we live and work in NYC, so having more than one is going to be near impossible, considering the cost of living here).

I do remember getting a lot of things when I was a kid, but I wouldn't say I was necessarily spoiled. I had to work very hard in school and was assigned chores, so I appreciated the concept of working for something. I was also taught the idea of giving back to those in need, so I feel that even though I did have almost everything I wanted and needed, I still wasn't spoiled.

It sounds like you are doing a great job and have only good intentions - I'm sure your son will be just fine :-) Someone who was REALLY spoiling their child would not even have these thoughts cross their mind.
Feb. 21st, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
It's good to hear from someone who *was* an only. Their opinions are even more valuable sometimes than other parents of onlies, I think. Only they know how screwed up or not they are as adults! LOL. Thanks for your input. I really want to provide my kid everything he needs and wants (within reason) but don't want him to grow up to be the proverbial spoiled brat, you know? Anyway, thanks!
Feb. 23rd, 2007 11:48 am (UTC)
Hi new mod!

I'm another adult only and I don't think you're spoiling him. I got a lot of things I wanted when I was a kid, and a lot of attention, but I still had limits. Really, it's never being told 'no' that makes you spoilt - the expectation that you'll get whatever you want - and you see that plenty in children with siblings as well.

I think onlies have a tendency to be ... not inconsiderate but unthinking. You never have to put someone else first so you don't think of others first. I'm dating an only as well and I see it when we eat lunch. We usually buy a plate of something to share and we'll both reach for the final piece of whatever - don't think to offer it to the other person. But when you're reminded of it, it's a very easy thing to fix. And that's what you're talking about with the toys not being *all his*. It's not that onlies are selfish, it's just that sharing isn't the automatic thought that it is for people with siblings. I wouldn't worry about it. I've known a few onlies, and all have a tnedency to be over generous because they're very conscious of being thought selfish or spoilt.

We do always think the television should be on the channel we want to watch though.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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Parenting An Only Child

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