Should I spoil my child with luxuries?
In discussions of raising children to being good citizens, there seems to be two sides of the coin: parents who are minimalists, don’t buy their children lots of toys, and don’t want them to be entitled. Then, there are parents who don’t mind giving in to their children’s every whim, whether they want a certain toy, cell phone, or even car.
Of course, there is a middle ground but in my discussions with parents over the last year of being a parent myself, I’ve found that very few people are willing to cut back when it comes to spending on their children.
Recent research shows that spoiling children can be detrimental to their overall wellbeing. All Elizabeth Kolbert reported to The New Yorker, “Contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world. It’s not just that they’ve been given unprecedented amounts of stuff… They’ve also been granted unprecedented authority.” This “unprecedented authority” that Kolbert describes could be the reason so many young adults lack discipline and end up living with their parents as adults.
Conversely, Alfie Kohn in his book The Myth of the Spoiled Child asserts that children today aren’t entitled or spoiled at all. It’s simply just a result of older generations labeling younger generations with these terms. He believes that despite the bad press “spoiled” children get these days, “today’s youth are more tolerant than their parents and admirably committed to making the world a better place.” So perhaps “spoiling” is just a perception because children have so much more access to opportunities, technology, and the global world than any other generation on the planet today.