We all have heard it at least once as a parent. Your kid is spoiled. But what does that mean? Is our kid really spoiled? Or is someone witnessing your child on a bad day? We all have bad days. We all have moments where we can act entitled, privileged, and snobby. But does that mean we are spoiled?
My son was recently witnessed on a very bad day. He was with me in the store. We had been shopping all day. We did a LARGE Costco run, we ran to the Bank, we ran to the Dollar Store, we took his sister to school, we attended a meeting for the PTA, and we finished it all off at Toys R Us. Bad idea, I know. But it was my daughter’s birthday weekend. We were picking up last minute items for her party, including her brand new bike. While we were in the store my 1 1/2 year old son who was very tired, had not napped for longer than a car ride all day, had not eaten since lunch (nearly two hours prior) and was physically and emotionally spent with errand day, spotted a brand new truck. holding my hand as he followed along he reached out to grab the truck. Sorry little man, not today, I sadly explained. That was the last straw for my poor little guy. Meltdown central began.
He let go of my hand and threw himself flat on the tile floor in the middle of Toys R Us and proceeded to throw a tantrum that would make the Academy want to award him a little gold statue. An older woman walked by and smiled at me, the she frowned at my son. Who had begun kicking while spinning on the ground, crying out-loud “want, truck, want truck!” I was exhausted myself, ready to be done for the day so I could take my daughter to baseball practice and finally go home to bake for her party. I wanted to scream, I wanted to yell, but I didn’t. Instead I bent down, picked him up, hugged him, gave him a bug kiss, and said “you really want that truck don’t you?” He sobbed, nodded, and laid his little head on my shoulder. The lady warned me. Do not give in to him. He is spoiled, he should not be rewarded with a truck for throwing a tantrum. Listen to me I have three grown children.
I understood her advice. I listened. I smiled. But I knew that my son had also had a long day. He had not been difficult until that moment. He was sweet in the other stores. Quiet at the bank. And still had to go sit through his sisters 1 1/2 hour baseball practice in the cold wind before going home to eat dinner and get ready for bed. I knew he needed something to keep him distracted, entertained, and lets face it, keep me sane. I reached for the truck and took it right to the checkout.
I know! I must be insane. I am spoiling my kids. But really, am I? My son stopped crying. He followed me closely to the checkout. He didn’t cry or speak again until he was happily strapped in his carseat. I unwrapped he truck and handed it to him. His face lit up, “truck!” he happily uttered. And for the entire time at baseball he played happily. Now I do not routinely I’ve in to tantrums. But, I do not feel this tantrum was truly a tantrum. Kids are just like us. they feel fatigue, they feel overwhelmed, and they are not always able to regulate those emotions as well as adults. I knew my son was at his emotional wits end. He was overwhelmed with his long day. I got down to his level, affirmed his feelings, hugged him to let him know I understood and it was ok. Sometimes we all just need to know there is someone out there who gets it. It doesn’t mean we are spoiled. It just means we are human. and after all, some of us are just kids.