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Are You Spoiling Your Baby?
by Rebecca Garland

It’s terrifying. Parents are frightened of being those parents – you know, the ones who spoil their children. The irony in this is that many parents err a bit too far on not spoiling their children, but showering your child with love and attention is perfectly normal and actually healthy for the child.

Go Ahead, Spoil Your Child
Spoiling is one of the absolute best things a parent can do to a child. It is both the child’s right and the parent’s privilege to give and receive as much time, love, and affection as possible. Granted, loving your child is not the same as fulfilling his every wish – especially unhealthy choices. But hugs, kisses, and simple time together are not bad things; they are wonderful and perfectly healthy.

What some consider spoiling has developed into an entire parenting philosophy. Attachment Parenting advocates holding babies, rocking, “wearing” your baby, and even co-sleeping. Research has actually shown that children of parents who lavish time and attention on their kids grow up calmer, more focused, and even more independent. Rather than making a baby dependent on a parent, constant attention offers her the security of knowing you will always be there to comfort and love her. So, perhaps spoiling is a good thing.

Most parents confess that it just feels natural to hold their baby as often as possible. Snuggling, singing, rocking and loving are instinctive and healthy for parent and child. They are not spoiling. Hold your little one as often as you like, and ignore those individuals who feel babies are healthier left on their own. The time will come when your baby will struggle out of your arms to explore. It is not something he must be trained to do. Enjoy the tenderness of infancy as long as possible. There is nothing better for a baby than his mother’s loving touch.

Crossing the Line
You can not create a rotten baby by loving him. You can, however, taint him by making bad decisions on his behalf. It is virtually impossible to create a bratty little one before four to six months. Once your child is beginning to realize her power though, she may exert it. You, as the parent, must make the right choices on her behalf.

As a child begins to branch out and explore, encourage it. Help your child learn

crucial skills like falling asleep when he is ready to do so without rocking or nursing. Spending time together as parent and child does not have to involve you holding your little one. This can actually affect his development. Rather than keeping your baby bundled in your arms, let him explore the room when he is ready. Time on his tummy might be frustrating, but is very important to developing strong muscles. Help him stand and walk around the room. Not only are you enjoying each other’s company, but he is learning valuable skills as well.

The greatest fear of most parents is an out-of-control toddler who has been spoiled. If parents are giving in to every whim, this can certainly happen. Of course, if parents are letting a two-year-old rule the household, there is a deeper problem. The occasional toy or cookie is not spoiling. Most importantly, your baby or toddler has every right to your undivided attention. Spending plenty of time hugging, talking and playing together is not spoiling – it’s the best part of parenting.

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