Ari has been throwing massive tantrums lately if he doesn’t get what he wants. For example, if Wil or I tell him that he can’t watch any more TV and he has to go to sleep he freaks out and starts crying and writhing on the floor. If we ignore it, eventually he stops, but it’s really intense and hard to deal with.

Last night Wil said to me:
“Babe, I think we spoiled him, that’s why he acts like that.”
“What do you mean?” I asked
“We buy him toys all the time, he needs to listen to us and behave to get what he wants.”
I agreed with Wil that I wanted Ari to listen to us. I also expressed my want for him to not to writhe on the floor in protest when he doesn’t get what he wants. But this whole conversation got me thinking about the word “spoiled.”
Is it possible to “spoil” a child? I love my son. He means the world to me. I want to do everything I can to give him a good life and make him happy. I want him to be content. Does this mean I’m “spoiling him?” I don’t know.
Some people might equate spoiling a child with the absence of discipline. If a child doesn’t receive “time outs” or the like, is this child spoiled?
The questions began to brew in my mind:
Is a child who receives a lot of toys spoiled?
Is a child who tantrums but still gets his/her needs met spoiled?
Is a child whose needs are met considered spoiled?
Because to me, spoiled has a negative connotation. If milk is spoiled it tasted wretched and needs to be thrown out. I don’t think children should be equated with rotten milk.
What’s the opposite of a “spoiled child?” Is it a child whose needs are not met, a neglected child?
We do our best as parents to meet the needs of our children. I think the word “spoiled” should be thrown out with the rotten milk.
What do you think? Is there such a thing as a spoiled child?