Spoiled Rotten?

My daughter is an only child.  My husband and I chose to have just one.  We made that decision for a host of reasons including:

  1. We want to be as involved as possible in her life, while still both working and maintaining our own lives.
  2. We wanted to be able to experience her life together, rather than the divide and conquer method.
  3. I am a crazy tree-hugger and know the impact each additional person has on this earth.
  4. Having kids is a crap shoot.  Heck, life is a crap shoot.  We had one healthy kid and that’s a miracle and amazing.  I don’t need to roll the dice again.

I could go on and on, but I’m not trying to convince  you or anyone else that we made the right decision.  We made the right decision for our family.  Most days I’m really happy with the size and makeup of our family.  Do I worry about our decision?  Of course.  I’m a parent.  I worry.  That’s what I do.

  1. I worry that she’s going to be some kind of social misfit because she doesn’t have the influence of another kid at home to learn from.
  2. I worry that our holidays and traditions are boring and lame because there is just one kid.  Christmas morning has to be more magical the more kids you have, provided that you have the means for those kids, right?
  3. My daughter won’t play a sport, take a class, or do much of anything without a friend.  A sibling would provide a built in other person to hang out with.  I worry that she’s missing out on opportunities because she won’t do things alone.
  4. I’m afraid she’s spoiled rotten and a spoiled brat.

Trust me.  I worry about #4.  It is the thing about only children, isn’t it?   Spoiled is the stereotype. Well that and weird, but I believe in my heart of hearts that every single human being on this earth is weird.  My kid would be weird no matter what.  She’s just a different weird then she would be if she had a sibling.

But I digress.  Only children are spoiled.  They get everything they want.  They don’t have to learn how to share.  Their parents dote endlessly on them.  Their parents helicopter them to no end because there is no other child to focus on.

Do I spoil my daughter?  I don’t have multiple kids to make life fair for.  We need a new family laptop?  I give her the old one so she has her own computer.  If I had two kids they’d have to share that computer.  She looses her gloves at school?  I gripe, but just get a new pair.  We are fiscally conservative and I can afford a new pair.  I’m more annoyed about the time it takes for me to buy her the new pair.  My husband and I coached her soccer team together.  Both of us took hours out of our week to coach our only child.  I’d say that spoiled her, but she hated it, so probably not.

My daughter is an individual though.  She is like her dad.  She doesn’t really want stuff.  Her list to Santa this year consists of the following:

  1. Tic tacs, orange.
  2. Rocks
  3. Notebook
  4. Beanie Boo
  5. Magic Set
  6. Broncos Jersey

What an amazing list.  So reasonable, especially when split between Santa, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Papa, Nanna, Grandpa and the two aunts and uncles who buy for her.  Oh but wait.  There are two other items, and that’s where the problem comes in.

  1. iPad
  2. Dash and Dot robots

My daughter wants the same setup she has in her STEM lab at school so she can program robots at home.  This, my friends, is when the “OH MY KID IS SPOILED” freakout starts.  It goes like this:

  • Mom voice: She wants to program robots.  That’s so cool.  I was a programmer, so maybe she wants to grow up and be like me.  That would be a great career for her.
  • Head voice: WHO THE HELL GETS AN IPOD FOR THEIR KID FOR CHRISTMAS?  Only the parent of a spoiled brat only child.  That’s who!
  • Mom voice: Whoa.  We don’t even have an iPad.  She uses them at school.  It could be a family present.  In this day and age it isn’t that extravagant for a family to have an iPad.
  • Head voice: SHE IS NEVER GOING TO LEARN THE VALUE OF THINGS IF SHE GETS EVERYTHING SHE WANTS!  WHAT ARE YOU TEACHING HER IF SHE GETS EVERYTHING ON HER CHRISTMAS LIST?  ISN’T IT IMPORTANT FOR HER TO LEARN DISAPPOINTMENT?!?!
  • Mom voice: There are eight things on her list.  She doesn’t ask for that much.  She’s a good kid.  She’s generous and caring and a good friend.  Stop freaking out.
  • Head voice:  SHE’S GOING TO BE A SERIAL KILLER!!!

Forever some reason, my worst case parenting scenario always ends with serial killer.  As much as I know that some of this worry is self inflicted, there is also a weird societal side of this craziness.  Today, we were at Michaels buying craft supplies for our annual “kids make holiday presents party.”  My well spoken confident daughter was explaining to the checkout person that we were having a party so she and her friends could make presents for their parents and siblings.

The man asked her, “How many siblings do you have?”

She replied, “None, I’m an only child.”

“Well, I bet you are spoiled rotten.”

I yammered something about how no she wasn’t spoiled rotten that she had a cousin and some second cousins and no I’m not a bad mom and I really have good reasons for only having one child and I’m going to write a blog post about this you creep.  (Actually, I stopped after the strange cousin justification.)  He went on to tell me that he was one of fourteen kids and that his wife was an only child.  We pretended it was totally normal that he’d called my kid “spoiled rotten.”

So let me just state here my kid is not spoiled rotten.  According to Google the definition of spoil is:

spoil
verb
harm the character of (a child) by being too lenient or indulgent.
“the last thing I want to do is spoil Thomas”
Okay.  I can be lenient.  I can be indulgent.  However, not to the extent that I am not harming my child.  (Head voice: Well, maybe I am.  I mean would I really know if she was being harmed?)
Shut up head voice!  Okay, am pretty sure I am no harming my child, and I know she is not rotten.  She is a sweet kid who, as I was blogging this, came and slipped a finger knit necklace around my neck.  She is teaching her new friend how to finger knit so she can make a necklace for her mom.  She is not rotten.
Head voice: But will she become rotten if I get her an iPad?!?  Will that be the last straw?  What if the iPad makes her a serial killer???
Sigh.  Stupid head voice.

16 thoughts on “Spoiled Rotten?

  1. OMG…are you freaking serious? What the heck? Serial Killer, you have got to be kidding me. Hahaha…this was a great post. BTW, that checkout guy shouldn’t talk to a kid that way, what’s his issue? It’s not our problem if he believes his wife is spoilt because she’s an only child. You shouldn’t have bothered giving him a reply. And you don’t have to explain to anyone why you have just one kid. Generally, when we make private decisions, people want us to justify it to them, so far I have learnt this, don’t bother. Just let them assume whatever the heck they want to assume, you need space in your head to be creative, not to be thinking about what the other person thinks. I enjoyed reading this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Serial killer. It’s when I know I’ve reached crazy town. The first time it happened was when my daughter was an infant and it’s always the last step in my internal rants. You are so right about the checkout guy. It wasn’t so much that he said “spoiled rotten” but that he said it to my kid. I love your take on private decisions too. Thanks for the read and I enjoyed reading your comment too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You most welcome. Pleasure is mine. And do please get the serial killer thoughts totally off your mind. The sub conscious is really powerful. After talk, we are what our thoughts are. How about you replace it with something like a Batman.. Ha-ha. Cheerios.

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  2. Johanna, Johanna, Johanna. I have several comments, but I’ll just leave two. #1: I was raised an only child and the biggest prob that I’ve had is dealing with my in-laws. I had to learn that I wasn’t the center of attention and that everyone didn’t think I was great just for stepping into the room lol, funny, but not always. #2: We have two girls, which you probably know. Christmases have included cell phones and tablets and that’s the end of Christmas because we know that we can control what “spoiled” is for our home, ya know? Okay, I’m gonna leave a third, you know I never do exactly what I say…forget that cashier! People are always telling one another how many kids to have, what to do with said kids, and what is best for those kids. He doesn’t know. In fact, I bet he wished he was an only child at some flipping point during his childhood 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait. I can’t get past the fact that someone doesn’t think you are great just for stepping into a room! I only know you online and I think you are great every time you step into this virtual blogging room. What’s wrong with those people?

      I am just a mess right now. (More on that tomorrow.) I really appreciate your perspective both as an only child and as a mom of two: I knew you have two girls and are farther down the parenting path than me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol – no, no they did/do not. But that’s another story. You’ve noticed there’s absence about my in-laws on this blog 😉 Anywho and more to the point, don’t worry about it. I’m sure she’s great and you and Mr. Afthead are doing a fab job.

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  3. Ahhh, take a breath and relax. Just because she’s a single child doesn’t mean she’ll be spoiled! As long as you raise her to be responsible, empathetic, hard working, valuing education and learning, reflective and understanding that the world does not revolve around her, she’ll be just fine. Does she routinely contribute to or partake in household responsibilities? Is she a good friend to her pals? respectful to her parents and other adults?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say yes to all your questions but the first one. In general, our whole family bristles at contributing to household duties. That’s a different problem though. Thanks for the perspective and the list of important qualities to nurture in my kiddo.

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  4. Pingback: Why am I so angry? | Afthead

  5. OK, first: I really enjoyed this post. You write in such a way that is so humorous yet thought-provoking.

    Second: Mr. needs-to-mind-his-own-business Cashier is way off base. I’m not sure why strangers are so judgey of other people and their choices when it comes to kids. It’s like they see a pregnant woman or mom with her kids and they think their opinions are worth anything. He doesn’t know you or your daughter so his opinion is worth ZERO.

    Third: Daughter Afthead is going to be just fine. How do I know that? I am an only child. I have great parents and I am a very hard-working, giving and generous adult. Most people are surprised to learn I am an only because I don’t fit the spoiled stereotype. So it can be done. And also just the fact that you are so concerned about her being spoiled tells me that you are the type of conscientious parent that isn’t going to let that happen. Parents that raise spoiled children tend to not even give it that much thought (which is a big part of the problem).

    I do hear you on the cost of the ipad, though. Those suckers are expensive! I was also going to suggest a less expensive tablet but I understand the interface issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amie! I was digging through my blog and realized I never replied back to your amazing heartfelt comment. I’m a jerk. The cashier was also a jerk, I agree, but he sure pushed some buttons with his opinions.

      Now, I’m delighted to hear that you are an only child. Based on our deep blogging friendship, you appear to be a well-rounded and caring individual. Like most stereotypes in life I feel like the only-child one is true sometimes, but I’m as likely to find an oldest, youngest or middle-est child that is a self centered jerk.

      Thanks for your perspective and for sharing. I really love this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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