I am an indulgent parent. No, seriously. I’m the parent you tsk at. I’m the dad that says no candy, and when one of my sons cries in response, I say ‘ok’ and get the candy. I let my kids pick their dinner. It’s often McDonalds. I let them watch TV on the way there, unless they’d rather play with the iPad. I’m not the only one who does this, but I’m fairly certain I do it more than most people. I’m not sorry about it. I’m not embarrassed about it. I treat my sons like my friends. I’m smack dab in the middle of ‘that guy’.
You hate me. Well, a lot of you do, anyway. I’m “spoiling” my kids. They’re going to be “out of control”. Right? Well, the thing is, they are not out of control. They’re not spoiled, either. They do have too many toys, but that’s mainly a space issue. I don’t think you really CAN have too many toys. You can have too many bottles of bubble solution, but that’s a story for another time.
Back to the topic at hand. My kids are not spoiled. They are empowered. They share. They turn down chocolate if they’re hungry for real food. They empathize. They stick up for themselves. They stick up for OTHER kids. They run and play. They are healthy and fit. My point is that if you’re fighting the impulse to give your kids what they want, and it’s what you really, in your heart want to do, then don’t fight it. It will be ok. They may turn out to be hooligans, but it won’t be because you let them have that third ice cream.
Raise your kids how you think is best. You can put discipline and structure in there, if you like (it will definitely make YOUR life easier, I’ll grant that), but it really doesn’t affect how they turn out. I am completely convinced that there are only 2 things that really impact how well our kids turn out. The first thing is how we treat others. They model this. Treat others well, and they will too. Second, give them affection. If you model appropriate social skills and love your kids, then they will turn out as well as they are capable. Oh, I guess I also suggest making a lot of money, because those toys and happy meals are expensive.