My “Are My Kids Spoiled” Checklist…
Recently, the subject of whether or not my kids are spoiled has come up a couple of times.
I admit I find it hard to say no to them, unless of course it is concerning something that affects their health, safety and well-being.
So, I’ve pondered and come up with the following checklist of regular interactions between the kids and us.
- When asked for small quantities of money, do we easily provide it when asked?
- When money is provided, do they have to earn it or pay it back somehow?
- Do we usually refuse?
Clothing or Personal Items
- Do we automatically provide what they ask for?
- Do we ask questions such as why, is it a necessity or a luxury item, and is it something they can pay us back for if it is a luxury?
- Do we automatically say no?
- Do we allow them to do anything they ask to do?
- When they ask to do things, do we ask questions and make our decisions based on those answers?
- Do we usually refuse?
- When they ask to spend time with people do we usually agree?
- Do we ask questions about the people and their behavior, friends, personal habits, etc.?
- Do we usually refuse if we don’t already know the friend(s)?
Consideration of Others
- They do not care about others unless it affects themselves.
- They worry about others if it’s justified.
- They are overly concerned about others to the point that it negatively affects their own confidence.
I rate these interactions according to the numerical value at the beginning of each line. Therefore, if all of my answers are #1, the total would be 4. I would then divide the total by the number of categories and the answer represents the degree of ‘spoilage’. ’1′ is spoiled; ’2′ is balanced; ’3′ is not spoiled.
Therefore, in my own interactions with my children, I would answer:
- I do give in too easily but when called for or for outright frivolous reasons or luxury spending, I will say no.
Clothing or Personal Items: 2
- We will provide it if it’s necessary, but if it’s a luxury or frivolous item, they have to pay us back.
- We tend to be more negative with regard to activities because of our concern for their health and safety.
Personal Relationships: 1
- We do give in very easily with regard to personal relationships because we first allow our kids to explore their friendships and other relationships, but they do know they can come to us if needed.
Consideration of Others: 2.5
- This is a tough one. For both Erin and Stuart, I’ve seen them be tough when needed, but that’s usually with regard to those they aren’t all that close to. For personal friends, family, etc., they do tend to say ‘yes’ too often and worry about others over themselves.
The calculation is: 1.5 + 2 + 2.5 + 1 + 2.5 = 9.5; divided by 5 categories = 1.9.
So, I’m very surprised to find that on a scale of 1 to 3, 1 being most and 3 being least lenient, we actually lean a tiny bit toward the lenient side. We have always thought we spoil our kids, but it’s nice to see we do manage to maintain a fairly healthy balance.
One thing that is not reflected in this questionnaire and that I consider very important, is whether we have encouraged our kids to use their own critical thinking and decision making skills to decide whether they should even ask in some cases – and I’m happy to say that I know they will.
An example is whether we happen to be broke at the time they want something, they will refrain from asking or find a way to get it themselves.
I guess I can conclude that we are managing to raise good, responsible people.