Author Topic: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?  (Read 1814 times)

onemorebike

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Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« on: July 17, 2017, 02:48:38 PM »
They say you should give experiences, not things and we've followed that wholeheartedly. My wife and I have redesigned our lives in many ways to be more present for our kids. That manifests itself in a lot of ways, but mainly we are around before and after school, my wife has summers and breaks off so she is with the littles during that time and schedules lots of time at beaches, pools, on hikes, and bikes and with friends. For the most part it feels like it is well balanced between outings and time around the house and is a really great way to spend Summer.

That said, during the Summer months I swear my kids are more entitled, and can be bigger turds than ever. It isn't like we are flying them to Disneyland six times a year, but it feels like they may be a little too spoiled with our time. Is that possible?

Christof

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 03:53:42 PM »
Yes.

Providing a kid with experiences isn't the same as being around the kid all the time. Experiences can be letting the kid figure out her or himself what to do with their time, being alone with a friend, or visiting a family member without their parents. As a parent we are not our children's friends, we are their parents.

Experiences can become a replacement for stuff, if kids are flooded with experiences that are very different than those from their peers or more frequent. At some point it's not the experience that counts, but how rare, special or frequent it is. And that's no different from stuff.

Cranky

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 03:15:15 PM »
Yes, and I think it's super common right now. I notice that a lot of kids (I'm a teacher) have very, very little experience with just staying home and finding something to do. They are ALWAYS in some sort of structured activity, and that includes time with their families. They are rather flummoxed by the idea of just staying home.

tthree

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 03:40:58 PM »
Yes, and I think it's super common right now. I notice that a lot of kids (I'm a teacher) have very, very little experience with just staying home and finding something to do. They are ALWAYS in some sort of structured activity, and that includes time with their families. They are rather flummoxed by the idea of just staying home.
This is very real.  I am definitely not parent-of-the-year material, but one thing I have done right is a healthy dose of unstructured time:)  My mom has always gone on about how my kids are easier to watch than my brother's because they don't need to be engaged 24/7.  At first I thought she was just being nice, but at the eldest's first parent-teacher interview his teacher commented on how how easy he must be at home.

AmberTheCat

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 06:19:57 AM »
this is a really interesting question; have never thought of the fact that lots of experiences might spoil a kid.

My first response is NO. Your wife will treasure those times with the kids. The kids are spending time with their family, appreciating nature, learning skills, getting outside and living the life. I just dont see how that can spoil them.

But i do think planned events and always being on the go and possibly making everyday "disneyland" might deter learning how to entertain him/herself. That's a good skill to have.   

for the most part it sounds like a great childhood. Throw some regular chores in there, do some things Mom and Dad want to do, and enjoy. Summers home with my 4 kids were some of the best years of my life.
not young, but newbie here!

Poundwise

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2017, 01:27:10 PM »
YES.

A family quote from two years ago: "I'm sick of amusement parks!"

We haven't gone to one since. 

When I was a kid I might go to the movies once a year, and to a museum once a year.  That was good enough and I thought about those visits all year. My parents seldom played with us... they were working or socializing with their friends. That was okay, too.  While I interact with my kids much more than that, I think it's good for them to spend unstructured time making their own entertainment and processing things that they have done and seen.

ketchup

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2017, 01:52:39 PM »
Oh definitely.  Can be done.  The president of my company just took his daughter to Fiji for her 21st birthday, and stopped in California for a wine-tasting tour "on the way home" (we live in the Chicago area).  He seemed irritated at how entitled she often acts, but doesn't realize that he's creating that texting-with-the-air-conditioner-blasting-in-an-idling-Mercedes-for-45-minutes-when-it's-75F-and-cloudy-out monster.

Laura33

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2017, 08:06:09 AM »
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.  Honestly, to me your summer sounds completely awesome!  But if the result is your kids are acting like turds, then, yes, it's time to switch it up. 

I like the idea for more unstructured time -- that is something that is sorely missing in our current world.  But I would also encourage you to load some more responsibility on your kids, especially during summer breaks.  Since they don't have school responsibilities, they have the headspace to learn new things and be useful to you.  IME, this actually makes them happier:  humans were not designed to loll around and be constantly entertained 24/7 for months at a time; we want to be useful, to be productive, to contribute something useful to the other humans we care about.  This is especially true for kids, who are trying very hard to learn all of the skills they will need as an adult, and so who are really internally driven to learn and contribute.  So spend some of that extra time expecting them to be contributing members of the household, in ways that they may not have time/energy to do during the year.  Thinks like cooking dinner, or planting/weeding the garden, or painting the house, or helping with home repairs -- obviously, the list needs to fit their ages and interests, but it should be something useful and beyond what you have previously expected them to do -- and then you should, of course, praise them ridiculously when they achieve whatever it is.

This is from personal experience, btw; at one point, I seriously thought DD was not going to survive until her 13th birthday, because OMG was she such an entitled twit -- here I was making her life so easy, doing all this stuff for her, and she couldn't even appreciate it, but instead demanded -- expected -- more and was resentful when I couldn't drop everything for whatever her minor little thing was?  Yeah, sorry, that is not the kid I am raising.  If you are that entitled, then clearly I have been doing TOO much, and it's time for me to back off with the "help" and "doing for," and time for you to pick up some serious slack.  So we assigned her the task of making dinner once or twice a week.  After the initial kvetching, she puffed right up -- with something real to be proud of, her attitude evaporated, and she went back to being the nice kid I knew.  I was sort of amazed that it took so little!
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czr

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2017, 12:59:00 PM »
Maybe they're getting spoiled with time but gauge how they are acting and responding when you mix it up and not do things. I think like everything there is a balance between not doing anything and going out of the house to do something cheap and inexpensive. Maybe your your kids aren't spoiled but your spouse enjoys doing things with your kids?

galliver

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Re: Can you spoil your kids with experiences?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2017, 10:35:57 PM »
I think it's hard to spoil kids with frugal experiences (biking, hiking, beach, camping, cooking, gardening, doing projects in the garage, etc) because they're open ended and educational and require some work to enjoy. Will they enjoy them in the same way as if you only went to the beach once a year? No, you can't have Christmas every day. But there's room to grow in these activities, to practice and improve skills, to persist over time to get results. This is different than "entertainment experiences" where your enjoyment is basically in someone else's hands, like amusement parks, ziplining, even rafting (consumer-grade...you can definitely raft in a way that builds skills!)

Is it possible your kids are getting overstimulated by the quantity of activities (you say it's a good mix but maybe their tolerance is lower?) or not getting enough sleep (because you don't care as much, because it's summer) or not feeling enough structure (maybe, if you aren't, try scheduling organized activities a few days in advance so kids know when they're coming, and when they can expect to loll around reading and eating popsicles?) Just thoughts.

I don't have kids yet, but I'm starting to realize I probably *was* a little brat all those times my mom told me I was. Frequently after sleepovers (routine/sleep disruption) and once after accompanying a friend on a family vacay (lots of "candy experiences" all in one week).