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Are All the Gifts Spoiling My Kids?

I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was one of four kids, which meant everything was split four ways. We shared everything, including a bed at one point. It wasn't easy, but we made the best with what we had as well as the opportunities that came our way.

Even though we turned out OK, I wanted my kids to have things I didn't have as a child. But does giving kids everything mean that you're spoiling them?

This has become a hot topic in our household. When our daughter was born and we celebrated her first Christmas, I went out and bought her a couple of things. It was a great photo op that provided lasting memories for her to have forever.

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But my husband went out and purchased a lot more holiday gifts. "I already brought her some stuff," I said.

"Yeah, but I want her to open up a lot of gifts," he said, as if she can really rip through the wrapping paper herself.

My husband grew up in a home where holidays and birthdays were like a huge extravaganza; family and friends were invited over and lots of gifts were given out. In my home, we were lucky if we got one present each!

I want (my kids) to know the value of a dollar and work at whatever it is they want out of life.

I bit the bullet and allowed my husband to lead the way when it came to gift giving and now I'm having second thoughts.

While I would like to shower our kids with lots of toys, I don't want to spoil them either. I've seen parents spoil their kids with the latest gadgets and it ended up causing problems later on.

I believe that if you keep giving kids all sorts of gifts, they'll eventually feel a sense of entitlement. I don't want my kids to grow up that way. I want them to know the value of a dollar and work at whatever it is they want out of life.

Most recently, I quit my full time job, so we've had to cut back on expenses. For the last few years we've thrown parties for my daughter's birthday, but with the birth of our son a couple of years ago, it became too much. Our daughter was a bit disappointed when we broke the news, but we made up for it when we turned our family trip into a birthday celebration. Killing two birds with one stone was a great alternative and that's how we'll continue to approach celebrations.

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As parents, our children's happiness is so important. But money and nice things won't necessarily bring them joy. It would probably spoil them rotten.

I'd much rather focus more on spending quality time with them because seeing our kids when they wake up in the morning and being able to tuck them in at night trumps material things tenfold.

Photographs by: Stacy-Ann Gooden

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