12 Ways I’m Not Spoiling My Kids

It’s freaking hard work not to raise spoiled kids.

“Pay now or pay later,” my mom tells me. “The work you put in now will only help you as they get older.” While I have no doubt she’s right, following the unspoiled path of most resistance is a difficult parenting journey. It sucks being the bad cop, perpetual bearer of bad news, and general destroyer of fun. We understand why we have to do it – so we don’t raise little punks who will one day grow up to be big a**holes, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

No parent wants to be responsible for yet another crappy, self-absorbed adult who’s carelessly breaking hearts, spewing narcissistic venom, or otherwise committing crimes of unhappiness against humanity at large. “I just don’t want our kids to be dicks,” my husband so eloquently informs me. Neither do I, dude. Neither do I.

  • Spoiling stops here 1 of 13
    photo (195)

    So how do we stop ourselves from raising spoiled brats? Heck if I know, but here are 12 things we're trying:

  • No extravagance 2 of 13
    Child birthday

    We keep things simple when it comes to birthdays and holidays because it's too easy to lose sight of what we're actually celebrating when recognition collides with excess. While simple, our celebrations will always include gifts and treats and smiles and love, but there's a sincerity and awareness that can only be appreciated through less.

  • Sincere praise 3 of 13

    I'll never be stingy with praise that's well-deserved. I'll lay it on thick and often, but what I won't do is lather on praise just to fluff my kids' feathers. While my kids will always be special snowflakes to me, I'd never want them growing up believing the world should treat them that way.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Household responsibilities 4 of 13

    There are select chores I'll pay much kids to do, and twice as many that I won't because everyone who lives in this house needs to work to maintain it. Not only do age-appropriate chores help out the grownups, they teach our kids responsibility, residential pride, and basic living skills.

  • Consequences 5 of 13
    photo (193)

    Bad choices result in negative consequences every time. I don't punish because I want to, I punish because I have to. There have been so many times I've been tempted to look the other way out of sympathy (that face!), self-preservation, or pure laziness, but I don't because I made a personal promise to consistently lead.

  • Being the bad guy 6 of 13
    photo (44)

    Even though it gets old, I'm pretty used to being Public Enemy #1 around these parts. Someone in this family has to be the bad guy and that's usually me. As much as I would revel in constant adoration by my kids, they require direction. So what if I can't be friends with my kids right now, they're too young to drink anyway.

  • Making them wait 7 of 13

    My kids might be the center of my universe, but they sure don't get to act that way. If I'm on the phone, deep in conversation, or otherwise engaged, I expect my kids to wait for me for two reasons: One, I waited for them all through toddlerhood; two, learning how to wait teaches patience and respect.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Making them pay 8 of 13

    From the bad attitude jar to the $55 we get charged every time Boy Wonder breaks an orthodontic device, these kids are paying the price for wrongdoings with their own money. Kid, welcome to personal accountability.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • No cell phone 9 of 13
    Tween cell phone

    Boy Wonder blogged his case for a cell phone and lost. He'll continue to lose this battle until he is in actual need (rather than want) of a cell phone, and even then his mobile device won't have internet capability. A cell phone just because everyone else has one? I don't think so.

  • Insisting on manners 10 of 13

    From the server who takes their pancake order to the shoe I bend down to tie, I expect a "please" and "thank you" from my kids every single time. Basic human kindness is the least we can offer each other.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • Limited choices 11 of 13

    Parenting experts tell us our kids need choices. I'm cool with all that so long as it doesn't make extra work for me. When it comes to things like mealtime, I rarely offer choices beyond, "Do you want cheese on top?"

  • Saying no 12 of 13

    Saying yes to my kids feels so good that I wish I could do it all the time. Seriously, I could get drunk off the feeling of yes, but I know that giving in the realm of parenting is often associated with giving up. "No" takes practice and it feels crap, but in the end it's usually for good reason.

    Image credit: Shutterstock

  • No rudeness 13 of 13

    I will not respond to entitlement or rudeness either by tantrum or by attitude. The quickest way to get from point "I Want This" to point "Never Gonna Happen" is to act like you deserve it. Life isn't always fair, but you'll find good fortune blowing in your direction with a little hard work and decency.

    Image credit: Shutterstock 

What tips to you have for not spoiling your kids? I’m all ears!

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