Early Childhood Development

Too Young To Be Spoiled

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When you have a newborn, your primary job as parents is to respond to your childs needs. Feeding them when they're hungry. Comforting them when they're crying or fussy, and soothing them to sleep. It's tireless, around-the-clock process, but a beautiful process at that

At some point, it's easy for the idea to arise that you're somehow "spoiling" your infant. You're worried that comforting your child whenever they cry might somehow correlate to self-centered, entitled behavior later in life. No doubt you have relatives or friends who are willing to put in their (unwanted) two cents about the dangers of picking up or feeding a child whenever they want. Tune those voices out. Here's why:

During the first year, establishing trust and security is the most important thing. By responding to your baby's needs early on, you're developing a bond and giving them assurance that it's safe and will be taken care of. The trust and security will give thebaby more confidence to act independently later on.

Whether he/she is hungry, requires a diaper change, or needs parental attention (cuddle me!), a baby has real needs that it cannot communicate via language. Paying attention when they're crying is not "giving in" or "spoiling" them.

Newborns do not distinguish between wants and needs, and they are incapable of being manipulative early on. Fake crying can happen after six months, but even that's not necessarily a bad thing as it fosters emotional growth.) You can start setting some limits between 6-8 months when a child starts to learn cause and effect and may start crying over something he/she wants (but does does not need).

Remember, certain undesired behaviors of children do not indicate that they are "spoiled." Young children are curious, so pulling on the dog's tail to see what happens or throwing food from their high-chair (gravity! neat!), is part of childhood development. They will eventually learn to respond to the limitations you set.

And above all, remember to give yourself and your child a break, because you can't really spoil a newborn. You just need to make them feel loved and cared for.