Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fear of Spoiling

Yesterday was the 15th, so as usual, I had updated Izani's blog.

I have this fear of spoiling my kids. I don't know whether it's rational or not.

I think I had always been depriving my kids of things that 'normal' kids get. Like toys; they don't have much. I have 4 kids and their toys can fit in one toy box. They don't get to eat crisps (potato chips) that often. Pizza is like a super treat, and only when Taufik is not home for dinner. And I always cook meals for the whole family, seldom special menus for special palates. You eat what's on the table. We don't go to fun fairs or theme parks. A trip to Toys R Us for window shopping is like a super treat for my kids. For once they get to touch cool toys.

I don't know why.

Perhaps it's because Taufik came from a poor family and my family was not so well-to-do either. My family we're not as poor as Taufik's, but we didnt have overflowing toy boxes and when all my friends had the 24-piece pretty color pencils in a tin box, I was still using the 6-piece short Luna ones in a cardboard box. Taufik didnt have a bicycle until he was in his teens. The only thing he ever really really wanted when he was growing up were roller skates and his dad bought one pair, and he had to share it with his 2 brothers. We have learnt to be grateful for whatever we can get. I don't want my kids to be them whiny ones that throw a tantrum at the toy store coz they can't get a remote control car.

When I went to boarding school, I remember a few kids who made their parents send food every day (or had their lockers well-stocked with instant noodles), because they can't stand the cafeteria food. I use to think of them as very lucky for having such caring parents, but now (being a parent and having the possiblity of having to cook for my kids even when they're away from me), I think they are kinda spoiled.

I want my kids to be able too survive in any environment and be happy with whatever little things that they have. I want them to learn the value of hardwork and money. I want them to value the things that they do have and take good care of it. I am afraid if they will grow up thinking everything is easy and they wouldnt know what to do when things are not so easy.

This fear has intensified ever since we moved here. When you have access to the best and you can afford the best, wouldnt you give your kids the best things in life? I am afraid that if I do, than they wouldnt know how to toughen up when the best things are not available or when we can't afford it.

So I intentionally make things difficult for them. I give them chores and device a reward system. When they want something, they'd have to earn it. When they get a treat, it comes along with a lecture of how lucky they are, how they shouldnt expect to get treats everyday.

Sometimes i think i'm depriving them of enjoying life, of just having fun. Sometimes I wonder if they feel inferior to their friends who have much more 'stuff' than them. Sometimes I wonder whether by toughening them up, I am just damaging their ego or confidence.

But then that fear of spoiling my kids take over and I'd feel like I'm doing the right thing.

I guess we all just try to do our best, eh?

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