Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ARE YOU SPOILING YOUR CHILD?


I’ve been told — by people I respect, people I love — that I am spoiling my child (and I’m sure plenty of others think the same thing). 

Does this happen to you? It’s infuriating! 

At the same time…I get it. 


Figure 1 - Perceptions of Spoiling

Here are some sample phrases I say to my son every day:

“You’re the greatest!”

“I am so proud of you.”

“Do you know have a heart of gold?”

I believe that my son, who is on the autism spectrum, and has ADHD and other learning, neurological, and motor differences, needs to hear someone say such things about him. 

True things!

Am I building him up too much to overcompensate for a world which often devalues those with differences? Is he spoiled if - partly because of the ways I celebrate him, and in spite of his tough times in many realms (social, academic…) - he thinks he is all that and a bag of chips

Some people think so. 

When chore time comes around, because he has significant challenges with executive function (as well as focus and fine motor stuff), his chores are more simple than those my daughter performs.

Is this fair? Is he spoiled in what I ask him to do? 

Some people think so. 

Parenting two children who possess extremely divergent strengths, I feel Fully qualified to state that as parents we know what our children can and cannot do.

But we do need to leave room for them to grow - and sometimes push them to do so. 

I want my son to feel good about himself. Apparently that (rather counterintuitively) involves sometimes letting him take chances and fail. Offering constructive criticism. I’m working on these. Trying to grow myself...Self-reflection is one of our most important -- and hardest -- practices, both as parents and as human beings! 

I desperately want my son to develop practical life skills; but he’s developing these at his own pace. Could I sometimes ask for more from him? Probably. Still, people with developmental differences…well, they develop at their own pace. Some of what people may see as spoiled might have to do with my child not “acting his age,” because, on some levels, he essentially isn't his "age." 

My parenting purposes here - helping my son feel good about himself and helping him develop life skills - actually seem to sometimes be at odds.

See, it’s such a fine line, this parenting of children with differences. I hope I’m doing it right, but at least I know I’m doing the best I can. Dear readers, I know you are too.



Figure 2 - Venn Diagram of Spoiling Factors

Are you spoiling your child? Am I? I don’t know. (Sorry if you thought I had the answer!)

I just want my children to be as healthy as possible in this zany world. 

Love,
Full Spectrum Mama



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8 comments:

  1. I can totally relate to what you're saying. I need to do a better job at teaching my son life skills but he's so resistant, yet he surprises me when he decided to do something on his own that I showed him how to do months, or even years ago. If the goal is to teach independence, then accepting that they'll learn those life skills at their own pace is part of their journey. I used to get a bit annoyed by those "Chores by Age" charts floating around on Pinterest but I came to accept that it's just a roadmap. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh my gawsh, yes. A good friend gave me a life skills checklist awhile ago. I read a few pages (PAGES!), felt nauseous, and put it "away."

      Nice to hear that skills can sometimes emerge later. I'll keep my fingers crossed on that one.

      Thanks and love,
      Full Spectrum Mama

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  2. I love the Venn diagram!! And the insights. Thank you for the useful reframe -- it's a good reminder that it's okay for my guy to go at his own pace (which he's going to do, whether I accept it or not). I love your humor and wisdom.
    -mf

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    1. Thank you, beloved mf.

      Yes, they ARE, right?

      Thanks and love,
      FSM

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  3. I don't think there is anything wrong with positive reinforcement and encouragement. Of course, both my boys have chores and naturally, Richie (the one with autism) has an easier variation of his chores. However, this hasn't had a negative impact on either of his siblings or outside family members. Then again, I don't exactly weigh-in the thoughts of outside spectators as much as I used to. is your child making continued progress? Is your child learning new skills or expanding on existing ones? Is your child feeling loved and included in family routines? If the answer is yes, then your child is not spoiled. Your child is a product of good parenting. :)

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    1. SUCH fantastic questions, especially since they can be asked on an ongoing basis!

      Thanks so much for reading and for your wise thoughts,
      FSM

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  4. Love how you incorporated a Venn diagram into this, the teacher in me loved it! I believe in your instincts, never let anyone make you doubt yourself!

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    1. Teacher FEST! I love a good Venn diagram and am glad to hear you do, too.

      Thanks for the support - I really do think it's true. It's just never easy, eh?

      Thanks and love,
      FSM

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