Dr. Spock: The Temptation to Spoil

Parenting advice from one of America's favorite experts.

Dr. Benjamin Spock has been giving parents advice about raising their children for decades. In this excerpt from his landmark work, Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, he shares one of the 19 points he believes are most important for parents to keep in mind about their role in their child's life.

The temptation to spoil

Working parents may find that because they are starved for their child's company, and perhaps because they feel guilty about seeing her so little, they are inclined to shower her with presents and treats, bow to all her wishes regardless of their own, and generally let her get away with murder. When a child finds that her parents are appeasers, it doesn't satisfy her--it's apt to make her greedy.

It's fine for working parents to show their child as much agreeableness and affection as comes naturally, but they should also feel free to stop when they're tired, to consider their own desires, avoid giving presents daily, spend only what money is sensible, expect reasonable politeness and consideration from their children -- in other words, act like self-confident, all-day parents. The child will not only turn out better but will enjoy their company more.

Excerpted with permission from Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care, Revised Seventh Edition, Pocket Books, 1998.

Copyright 1945, 1946, © 1957, 1968, 1976, 1985, 1992 by Benjamin Spock, MD. Copyright renewed © 1973, 1974, 1985, 1996 by Benjamin Spock, MD. Revised and updated material copyright © by The Benjamin Spock Trust

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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