ONLY 13 Gifts Mom? — Contemplating Spoiled children

One of the last things any parent truly wants is to have a spoiled child. Generally people think of a spoiled child as a child that is entitled and ungrateful and lazy. Of course following attachment parenting, peaceful parenting, I am reluctant to even compare my children to rotting fruit, because children do not in fact spoil. An incident this past week though has had me questioning just how much is too much and just how have I contributed to over consumerism and other awful things. Am I harming my children by given them too much stuff? Are you giving your children too much stuff?

Being a crunchy mother and a geeky mommy too I adore science and studies. One of the ones I read was very clear, more toys doesn’t mean smarter or more creative or more happy! A study by lead author Dr Carly Dauch in the journal Infant Behaviour and Development showed that basically less toys is more creativity and better focus. I think many parents can say that their children lack strong focusing skills.

There are more studies worth looking into if you feel like your children suffer from having too many toys, too many gifts.

So just what had me wondering about the long term consequences of gifting or over gifting?

     Is my son spoiled?

I can’t say the thought didn’t cross my mind as soon as I found out what happened. You see we let our older children help play Santa and this often means helping to wrap gifts for some of their siblings. My son set about wrapping gifts for his oldest sister and what I didn’t know was that he was counting them. Later that night he went up to her alone and was in tears saying he felt badly she only had 13 gifts. She let us know the next day not because this bothered her but because she was concerned it bothered him. You see #1 she knew she got another laptop (one just for gaming as she did not want to risk her homeschool laptop to the possible viruses she gets from downloading added content for the games she likes.) So she knew she was getting a high value item she very much wanted. She had in fact suggested we scrap her whole wish list and just get the new laptop and some games. We didn’t go with that plan and also got her things from her list and surprises. We actually got her more than those 13 gifts. That though is not the point. Just why did my sweet and caring and oh so amazing son think 13 gifts was a reason to cry?

After a lot of chatting with other parents I have come to see that it was my own issues making me worry about him being spoiled. Sure, too many toys IS an issue and can cause issues but my son cried because he cared about his sister. He confessed to her because he hurt for her. Of course I have created this expectation in my kids that Christmas be big, just as my Mom did for me. We had some great waldorf inspired homeschooling years so long ago with small Christmas celebrated in different ways but as of late we are for sure a standard American family with big Christmas. I feel like I need to scale it down and was so inspired by friends posting their “Santa has come” photos the Christmas Eve. So many had a less is more philosophy. I hope to help guide my family in that direction too. For now though I know one thing, I have a son that deeply cares about his family and worried about his sister. The 13 gifts part was not him being spoiled. He isn’t fruit. Your children are not fruit!

Come Christmas morning all the kids were wonderful and had such a wonderful time! Here is a peek with one of the 5 little ones here! Yes, more than 13 gifts but the number isn’t important. Time to help all the kids change their mindset a bit!

Christmas morning - Too many gifts? Science shows less toys is better for kids.

   Raising kids with Gratitude

The underlying worry behind parents wondering if they are raising “spoiled kids” and the ones wasn’t identifying till someone asked me the right questions is if their child has genuine gratitude and in this case I knew the concern but I also knew the answer. Yes, he is very grateful. He has turned into a peace keeper and leader and he likes things to be even and fair and have everyone happy. His near for fairness (knowing years past with large Christmas gifting) he felt that the small box we had given to help wrap for his oldest sister couldn’t be “all” but he didn’t want to ask me and sound ungrateful. He want to his older sister who he knows to be wiser to talk about it. He reassuring him that her wish list was being taken care of and she got what she wanted and he didn’t need to worry. He didn’t have a bad attitude, he was sad for her and worried. He didn’t need to be but sometimes he tries to protect people, even me, and work things out another way. In anycase, it did work out. Now though I need to help the whole family size down. See the boxes in the photos above? Those are IN our dining room, still not unpacked from the move! This is a little house and finding places has been so hard. Granted most of that is craft items and we don’t have a craft room. The gifts were mostly all things the kids could fit in their rooms without issue! They did a great job down sizing before the move! That was another reason I went overboard with gifts, the kids really gave up some loved things in this move and it was really a hard one. That though is MY issue, and I need to work on that. I don’t think we will ever be minimalists but I feel like I am drifting from our crunchy roots more and more. Wish me luck?

 

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A peek into our Christmas morning and a game box from Memere who knows we are a gaming family!

 

 

So thankful to have an amazing husband who lets me go overboard with gifting and holidays and who tries to make up for all the “stuff” with quality family time. It is wondrous to have a husband who 9 out of 10 times when I have lost my patience, he has some to share and when he is drained, I can pick up the peaceful parenting. Some how, despite us, these kids are thriving and kind. Always more to learn when it comes to parenting I tell you even with our oldest now being 18. The kids are our joy in this world beyond all else. So much the same and yet so very different! The world can be such a dark and hard place but our home, our holidays, there is light and love and joy. I do go overboard but goodness despite that, it is magical! Wishing you all enough and finding that balance for your family in what ever way works for them!

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