On Spoiling Children.
Q: I just had my first baby and my parents and grandparents keep telling me that I will spoil her if I hold her too much or don’t let her cry. Is this true?
A: Research has shown that holding babies does not spoiled them like our grandparents’ generation believed. Many parents want children to develop independence, but rushing them into independence means they miss a crucial step: developing trust. Scientific studies show that infants need a period of dependence so that they build trust in their caregivers. What’s more, long-term studies show that children who receive high-touch and high-responsive style of parenting develop into more self-sufficient young adults. So, go ahead, hold your daughter as much as you would like!
That being said, it is possible to spoil an older child by giving in to her every request. Below, I have listed some ways to avoid creating a situation in which your child is entitled:
• Redefine “providing” for your children: Ask yourself, “Am I providing for them emotionally?” You do not need to buy a gift for your child in order to create a bond.
• Prepare them for disappointment. If she is able to occasionally recognize that not every answer is “yes” as a child, she will be better prepared to deal with this as an adult.
• Help with goal setting. If your child always gets whatever she wants whenever she wants it, she will not gain a very important skill: setting goals.
In answer to your original question: it is virtually impossible to spoil your baby by holding her too much. She will only develop trust and thereby independence in the future. Model your relationship with your child as she grows on the relationship you shared when she was a baby – share experiences and love – not things.