I have always spoilt the girls. Well, I’ve spoilt Bean. I guess because when she was small it was just her and I most of the time. We’d go shopping to while away our day before Daddy came home. I’d usually buy her something she wanted. She could also be difficult and I dealt with that by bribing her with something new – be that a cookie, a cake, a toy or whatever.
Boy am I paying the price now. She can be really, really spoilt. The difference between her and Jelly Baby is really noticeable. I haven’t treated Jelly Baby in the same way and she is a much more contented, happy child. She will have the occasional treat but she won’t moan or wail if she doesn’t get something she asks for. Bean in contrast can ask for 10 different things on a trip round one shop (and she desperately needs every single one of them!)
She is nearly 7 now and it became clear to me how bad things had gotten when we went out on a family trip to the museum. It was supposed to be a nice, cheap day out. I suggested we all stop for a coffee and cake in the museum cafe and that’s where it kicked off. Because Bean wasn’t happy to share a cake with her sister. (These were £2.70 slices of cake so not cheap – and hubby and I were sharing one!!). No she wasn’t happy with that. In fact she wasn’t even happy with a cake to herself, she wanted a cake AND crisps. When she was told she could have one or the other all hell broke loose. She stropped, she cried. She actually sat at the table behind us on her own crying prompting looks of judgment from the other people in the cafe.
Essentially our nice little outing was spoilt. There was no consoling her, reasoning with her or anything. She was firmly lodged in the tantrum that was better suited to the age of her sister. I was fed up and I got thinking that I would never have dreamed of behaving like that at her age. Why not? Because a cake in a cafe would have been such an extreme treat I would have felt lucky and grateful. Our problem was a very middle class, first world problem – Bean was too used to getting these treats every day. They weren’t special, they seemed essential to her, a normal part of her life.
So I decided to go cold turkey on her. No treats. No trips to the corner shop after school. No McDonalds tea after swimming. No cookies after school. No ‘cute little notebook’ she just has to have as I’m buying the milk in Tesco. No new lunchbox just because she wants one. In fact no new lunchbox even though the zip is starting to go…no new lunchbox until this one positively dies.
It’s been a hard few weeks. After all, we got ourselves into this position because I like treating her. I like giving her all the little things I didn’t have. But I also desperately don’t want a spoilt brat of a child. Bean has struggled but is now getting used to me saying no when she asks for something, and I hope that soon she will gradually stop asking. That eventually I can stop in a cafe with her and buy us a cake to share and a hot chocolate to sip and have her actually appreciate it.