I'm Scared I'm Turning My Baby Into a Brat

nicole fabian-weberThey say you can't spoil a baby, and I believe that. I'm not talking about outfitting your child in Bonpoint; swaddling them in Hermes blankets; or filling their nursery with the hottest, most obscure toys here. I'm talking about spoiling them with attention. Responding to their every whim, if you will. I've been kind of going with this philosophy more or less since I had my daughter a little over 8 months ago. Partly because moms I respect do this same thing; partly because, I don't know, it's just sort of been my knee-jerk reaction. But sometimes I worry: Am I raising a brat?

I didn't think I'd be this way, but I am. When my daughter cries, I pick her up. On the rare occasion that she cries when we put her down for the night -- I let her fuss (that's fuss, not wail) for about 10 minutes or so, and if it doesn't stop, I scoop her back up and rock her until she seems like she's ready. My husband doesn't love that I do this, as the reason for her crying at this time nine times out of 10 is due to being overtired, but I just can't leave her. And it's not like I'm waging a war against people who believe in CIO here -- live and let live, man. I don't care. But I literally just can't do it. I can't!

From my understanding it's normal to doubt some (read: all) of the parenting choices you make -- particularly when it's your first. But I don't know, this is just what has come naturally to me. And it's not even like I was raised this way myself. A lot of my infancy is spotty, due to the fact that my mother passed away, and it's my father answering a lot my questions; but from my understanding, there were times I was left to cry. And times I was left to bounce around in a bouncer for a while alone. And my baby food wasn't homemade and generally more expensive than my parents'. And I'm not a brat. At least, I don't think I'm a brat. Will my kid wind up being one?

I truly hope this isn't the case. One of my biggest fears when I was pregnant was having a bratty child. Nobody wants to be the mom on the playground with the bossypants kid, do they? And I want to do right by my daughter, but it just doesn't seem right to me not, in essence, "catering" to my baby's every need. 

It's like, look, my child is only 9 months old right now. I know there are going to come many, many times throughout her life where I question parenting choices I make. I mean, I don't want to be the mom who gives her temper-tantrum-having child a lollipop in order to quiet her down, and I don't plan on doing that now. But I wouldn't be shocked if a Dum-Dum magically appears out of my bag in the heat of the moment. More than once. I guess the thing I, we as parents, have to learn is living with the choices we make, and being okay with them.

The one thing I've never doubted throughout my experience of being a mom thus far is, above all, the most important thing is to love your child. I certainly question some of the things I do, but I know that loving your baby with everything you have and letting him or her know that you could just eat them up all day, every day is right. If crying it out works for you, do it. And be okay with it. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Who knows, maybe I'll let my next kid cry it out? Everyone's circumstances are different. Accepting the parenting choices you make isn't always simple, but that's an easy one not to question, right? Love the shit out of your kid.

I'm talking a big game here about "acceptance" and what not, but am I totally cool with the fact that I "spoil" my daughter all the time? No. I mean, I'm writing this, so obviously not. But I love her. And I know she knows I love her. So I've got that at least.

But still. I really hope she doesn't wind up being a brat because of me. That would suck.

Do you "spoil" your kids?


Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber

baby first year


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

handy... handy0318

If she's only 8 months, she's not being spoiled.  An 8 month old cannot be spoiled.  When she's gets older, toddler age, then you'll have to start making her realize that she's not the center of the universe. But for now, it sounds like you're doing a good job.

My kids came to me older and having been neglected, abused and in foster care.  I only could wish they could have been "spoiled" in the "care" they received as infants.


nonmember avatar Brittany

I HATE it when people say I'm spoiling my baby by responding to him when he cries. No. I'm not. I'm showing him that he's loved and cared for. If you look at Erikson's stages of development, babies are still learning trust vs. mistrust up to 18 months. And through that time period, it's especially important for them to learn to trust their primary caregiver- a.k.a. ME. So, when I take my baby away from someone because he's crying because he wants me, or when I comfort him at night when he's crying (I do the exact same as you- wait 10 minutes, then go pick him up if he's still crying) I get really irritated when people mutter about me spoiling him.

nonmember avatar sparklemama

You are not *spoiling* your baby. You are meeting her needs, not spoiling her. You honestly cannot spoil a baby. They thrive on your love and attention. There is a big different in providing your infant with love and attention, and *spoiling* a grown child. Seriously - you are doing what is right for your child.

Nelli... NellieAthome

If you spend your child's whole childhood treating her as if she is the center of the universe (which is what you are teaching her now) she will be a brat, just like my nephews who, at 10 and 15, still expect their mother to drop everything and focus on them no matter what the circumstances. And they push and push and push her until she gives in.... the  older one has enough smarts to know how to push her buttons  big time - "You don't love me anymore"........

Real life is going slap these kids up along side the head when they find out the whole world is not going to stop every time they want something..

If you focus on your daughter even when it bothers your husband you may well end up a single mom. The part of the marriage vows so many forget is "Forsaking all others" and that means the spouse comes first before your kids, your parents and any one else.



Bloom... Bloomie79

100% agree with handy, sounds like you're doing a great job. Your awareness of how your behavior affects hers will probably keep her from becoming a brat. 9 times out of 10 kids act like their parents, you'll be just fine.

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

Stay in tune with your baby and your golden. Don't try to say you'll always respond no matter what or that you need to cut back, focus on your true instincts. Usually around 10-12 months you'll start seeing some wants and opinions that aren't needs. That doesn't mean leaving them cry, but offering alternatives lets them start learning compromise. Your gut will tell you. Right now it's needs so you jump- that's good. In a few months your baby will cry over not being able to reach a toy or something and you'll be surprised how suddenly you get there when you get there.

fave82 fave82

I agree with everyone except Nellie.. that comment is ludicrous.

Rosas... RosasMummy

It's OK for kids to believe they are the centre of their mums worlds, because they ARE. the world will treat them like crap, u don't have to restrict ur attention/affection etc to teach them that they won't always get run to, they will learn that the first time someone breaks their heart or is nasty to them in a way that really cuts, and then they will come home to the security of a mother who loves them unconditionally, and they will know that they are worthy of that love that that boy at school or whoever has rejected giving them, and they will be happy secure individuals who will find love and happiness In the world when their parents are gone. And that is why I run to my beautiful little lady when she cries.

Wheep... Wheepingchree

I agree with most of the other posters. My daughter was not left to cry at all when she was a baby. She is three now and you can bet that she is not spoiled. I think it's the toddler years that you have to start pulling away a bit and I think for most people that happens naturally. I do have one mom friend that seems to think the sun shines out of her kids behind and that little girl is DEFINITELY a brat.

Ausyem Ausyem

My son is 13 months, he's a spoiled little boy, I love him dearly and I wouldn't have it any other way. He is sweet and affectionate and he shares, but then he will also throw himself on the floor and wail in the store if he is not allowed to run and tear everything off the shelves that intrests him. He is a baby and eventually he will inderstand that he cant have everything but for now he is just a baby. I will pick him up and hug and squeeze him even if he doesnt want me too. I dont want him to feel like he has to cry when there is no reason for it. Having said that he is not allowed to have whatever he wants when it is other then hugs and kisses and he is not allowed to hurt others. Nothing wrong with spoiling them with the right thing though. LOVE!

1-10 of 31 comments 1234 Last