None of us want "spoiled" kids—kids who are bratty, self-centered, demanding, inconsiderate. So, what spoils children and what doesn't?
When I was raising my children, I was often told that I would spoil them if I held them a lot, rather than let them cry. Fortunately, I didn't believe this.
Indulging Rather Than Loving
We are not giving love to our children when we give them everything they want on the material level. Parents often think they are loving their children when they pile them up with all the toys or activities they desire, but what is the actual result of indulging our children in this way?
There are three big negative consequence of "spoiling" our children on the material level:
1) It fosters addictive behavior—filling up from the outside with things and activities, rather than filling up from the inside through caring and creativity. Too many adults are addicted to spending or other activities to fill up their emptiness. If they are stressed, instead of dealing with the source of their stress—which is generally due to some way they are not taking care of themselves—they cover their feelings with some addictive behavior such as spending, TV, food, alcohol and so on. When we offer our children too many toys, too many activities, too much comfort food, or allow too much TV, we are not loving them. We are training them to be addicted.
2) Often, parents provide things and activities for their children while denying their own needs. It's not loving to children to give in to their every demand, especially if it means putting yourself aside. When you constantly give in to your children and deny your own needs, children learn that it's okay to disregard others’ needs, becoming demanding brats. Children may not learn to consider others if you do not expect them to consider you by considering yourself. They will learn to treat you the way you treat yourself, so it is not loving to your children to disregard yourself. When you disrespect yourself, you teach your children to be disrespectful.