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Kirtai
02:16 PM on 02/01/2012
While you can never love your children too much, I understand what you are saying. Dealing with high schoolers in the arts is an interesting struggle these days, because if you tell a kid, "Careful, that first note was a little flat," they cry and tell the principal you are verbally abusing them. I am NOT exaggerating. The arts teachers are constantly getting whined at for not praising their work enough! "My mom says anything I draw is art!" "Well I'm glad your mom feels that way, but I want to help you make better art." Cry.....
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05:13 PM on 02/01/2012
I deal with the same thing coaching. If I never hear the words "playing time" again it will still be too soon.
02:16 PM on 02/01/2012
This is such a great and honest article. I sometimes wonder the exact same things myself. Am I doing too much? Am I not doing enough? The truth is, in this case, toddlers are toddlers. There is no way we can understand many of the things they do. They are always testing us to see what they can get away with and what they cannot. Consistency doesn't exist with them, they are too young to understand our logic. I absolutely do not believe that we can over-love or even over-adore our children, they are, in fact, our children. I think the problems may begin when we start to think that everyone else should love and adore our children as much as we do. We need to teach our children that not everyone is as interested in their dirty diapers or first words as we are (ie. the ENTIRE world does not revolve around them, just ours). I think then we may be on to something.
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dplijcc
02:04 PM on 02/01/2012
you can never love your kids too much. that said, you can still be a bad parent and love your children. the two are not opposites.
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hawaiianstile
all hail the balance of nature.
01:51 PM on 02/01/2012
i dont think its possible to overlove your kids, we need to remember that love is nothing more than an emotion, you cant feel too much of that emotion for your child. but what can go wrong is when you allow that emotion to make you coddle your child. im a fan of tough love, its the natural way as i see it. and as i see it the natural way is the only correct way.
01:15 PM on 02/01/2012
There is a big difference between spoiling and loving a child. I do not think one can ever over-love a child. I do think you can easily spoil a child. My parents both worked. I was a watched-by-grandma like-neighbor and daycare kid, and then a not-your-neighborhood-school-kid so that another family member could watch me before and after school and take me to extracurricular activities. That being said, my parents were the best. I trusted them, they were supportive, I was never scared to tell the truth, I always acted appropriately, and the slightest misstep on my end only required the simple question of "are you _ or _," the 2 kids we knew who were horribly behaved. That alone was enough for me to improve my attitude. I had everything I needed, most of what I wanted, and was grateful for all of it. I was the kid all the other parents wanted to invite back. We didn't have the money for family trips or extravagant items, but my parents spent whatever time they did have with me making the most of it. Not by buying me toys. Not by telling me I was perfect. Not by letting me doing whatever I wanted. They simply set boundaries and showed me unconditional love accompanied by mutual respect. I still thank them for that everyday.
02:45 PM on 02/01/2012
Overwhelmed, I could have written the exact paragraph regarding myself. I agree with you on boundaries and respect. My wife and I dotn hold back our show of love for our children, but we do not spoil them. We set limits, and give reasonable expectations depending on thier age.
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Num1Christy
Progressive Ohioan
10:12 AM on 02/01/2012
My mother in law still over-loves her children. So yes, one can over-love. When you have kids, they are naturally your entire life. They require a great deal of attention and pruning to make sure they are the best they can be. But also, as a parent, we must understand that our children are not going to make us their entire lives in return. Love them, show them affection, but smothering with love while simultaneously ignoring actual behavior (which is too often the case, ask a teacher) is unhealthy.
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05:15 PM on 02/01/2012
I think our mother-in-laws might be the same people. Now she tries to over-love my daughter. Her world has revolved around my husband and his sister. My mother loves me and my brothers - but she has always had her own life beyond us. So now that I'm a mother myself I parent with my own mother's model in mind while my mother-in-law attempts to have her own world now revolve around my child. Sigh. Completely unhealthy. Good news is, my husband sees the ridiculousness of her smothering.
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Num1Christy
Progressive Ohioan
09:09 AM on 02/02/2012
I've told my MIL so many times that you can't have a healthy relationship with someone who has no boundaries. Which is why we keep her at arms length. Very good news that your husband is able to see it! Mine too :)
09:43 AM on 02/01/2012
I adore my girl. I would climb any mountain, risk any relationship, build any bridge that would help to get her where she needs to go. Do I spoil her? NO. She does chores for her allowance, is expected to be responsible for her homework, had better be polite and pleasant to people or I will know the reason why, and is NOT allowed to quit her commitments.

Do I kiss her, and hug on her, and take her places, and let her use my computer and cell phone to play angry birds and listen to her occasional whinging? Oh, yes. Do I expect her to be honest, truthful, upstanding, act intelligently and be an all-round citizen? Yes again. You CAN love unconditionally, and treat your kids like the princes and princesses they are, and STILL raise fabulous adults - it's called "consistency". Discipline doesn't have to be rough or scary or cruel to be effective. It just has to be consistent.
10:01 AM on 02/01/2012
You took the words right out of my mouth. I wish there were more parents out there who had your viewpoint. I love my girls more than I ever imagined I could BUT to your point I still have high expectations for them and have rules to keep them from being beastly or obnoxious (and I couldn't imagine only kissing my girls once a year! Once a day is sometimes hard- even if they wipe the kisses off their cheeks seconds later).
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savantpm
01:28 PM on 02/01/2012
YES! When my soon-to-be, successful, 35 year old daughter was 14 and wanted to hang out at the mall because 'all her friends were allowed to do this', I told her "No". She called me a witch. I told her not to forget that, and we were best buddies the next day. Children, teenagers will at times challenge the most loving parents. They will eventually appreciate the necessary boundaries you created for them while they were growing up.
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Madame Tiffany
01:23 PM on 02/01/2012
Bravo!
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MamaShoob
09:33 AM on 02/01/2012
I don't think a parent can love their child too much, I do however, think they should still do their best to instill manners, thoughtfulness, structure, and guidance. I rocked my first daughter to sleep every night until she was 3, she got a little something when we went shopping, BUT she's also a very well behaved girl who is now 15. She's thoughtful, kind, and the parents of any of her friends through the years told me how pleasant she was to be around. Kissing, hugging, snuggling, rocking, etc. is not "too much love" it's simply what a parent is supposed to do with their children to show them love and security and warmth.
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Carol B Liu
Children's writer wearing a lawyer's hat--for now.
08:49 AM on 02/01/2012
Working with kids with attachment issues has taught me a lot about what exactly "unconditional love" is. For those kids it really hinges on safety, just because of their personal history of never feeling truly safe, never being able to truly trust in another person. I agree with so many of these comments, that unconditional love as a parent often has nothing to do with making your child happy. It's a fundamental and exhausting journey centered on providing the guidance, structure and yes affection/cuddling/love to produce health adults.
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WilliamL
08:37 AM on 02/01/2012
What I keep hearing from these post are the chaos that goes on in the home and her efforts/need to escape. After being a stay at home for an infant and toddler and for the years to follow, to an extent I understand the hectic state that goes on during those years and most def. a parent needs to maintain a routine of their own-running, gym, whatever is necessary but at the same time, the situation does chaotic as most often these post sound chaotic along with the authors struggle to understand how to "love" their child. Seems to me that the chaos in the house might have to do with the chaos and confusion that is going on with the mom. I really don't find caring for and loving one's children to be such a confusing or complex question.
03:47 AM on 02/01/2012
As a teacher I am horrified by the damage being done by parents who think they're loving their kids by allowing them to grow like wayward weeds. " Oh she's so SPOILED ...." a silly mom will coo indulgently as her brat runs rings around her. Well my question to this mom who is ruiniing her child's chances of happiness and success in later life is simple....

Do you choose spoiled fruit at the market, Do you admire architects who build monstrosities which spoil the view for everyone. Do you think women who spoil their figures are smart. How about spoiling your chances for some promotion. Is spoiled milk to your palate?

"SPOILED" things .... even your children .... are NOT admirable or desirable. Wake UP!

I try to be fair to all my students, but I admit I do favor children who are NOT spoiled and who have nice manners and who are pleasant. And that's the way life is going to be for all of them. If you behave nicely, you will be treated nicely.

And brattiness is NOT cute. It should be disciplined right out of the child. if you don't approve of spanking, put the brat in her/his room for a couple of hours. And reinforce the positive by praising the child for good behaviour ... lavishly. Remember Pavlov?
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Madame Tiffany
02:18 PM on 02/01/2012
In the 80's I was a youth leader and subbed for teens in the high schools. I had some of the toughest kids. Many of which carried weapons.

I made a decision to invest in them. I DIDN'T PERMIT UNRULY BEHAVIOR. They wanted my approval and therefore acted accordingly. As a result today, 30 years later, I have many former teens and students that remain in contact with me. Many of which weren't just brats! The were dangerous!

When you invest in your students you never know what you are saving them from down the line.

It is a rough road that requires tenacity and LOVE.

You only know what youTHINK YOU SEE. You really don't know if there is abuse at home. Or if a parent is trying to compensate for another parents abusiveness. Our job isn't to judge, it is to teach, lead and I believe serve our youth as educators. Leading by example is the best classroom.

You may loose some but the ones that you save....THEY MY FREIND ARE YOUR REWARD!
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02:49 PM on 02/01/2012
Hi there Teach, ON occasion a child has a BAD day! Haven't you? Mom of 3 diferent types of boys, many years apart. I chose to have them when I was ready! I babysat my nephews, neices , neighborhood kids for over 25 years! When they were grown I voulnteered at a TEEN CENTER! Yes I met diferent sorts of personalities there also! My kids have always been people with feelings! You seem to have put all kids in a small group and forgot the basics of life! You nikkitom were my worst nightmare in school growing up! I most certainly hope you are re-tired!
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Madame Tiffany
06:18 PM on 02/01/2012
I would definitely have to agree with you twbnana...I hope that our teacher friend either gets an attitude adjustment or lets someone more tolerant take over:-)
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Nightling
02:25 AM on 02/01/2012
All parental love is SUPPOSED to be without condition. That doesn't mean you let them do whatever they want. To be honest I find it HORRID that any parent would suggest they "love thier child too much."
11:10 AM on 02/01/2012
I agree. There is a difference between unconditional love and spoiling. In fact sometimes they can be at odds with each others. I know my parents love me no matter what, and I've always known this, but that didn't mean they spoiled me. Most of the time I didn't get what I wanted, and it's a good thing. My husband on the other hand has a mother who spoils him rotten, except when as his father puts it "She forgets that she loves us". She thinks money = love. She tries to put conditions on her love for her son all the time. I think because she was raised in an abusive household, she never learned that. We find each other at odds a lot, my MIL and I, because my love cannot be bought, but that is getting into another story, so I'll end this here.
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Vanderbil Covington
Humans are a bridge, not an end
02:08 AM on 02/01/2012
If you want to worship and adore someone -- try Jesus Christ. You might also gain wisdom from the scriptures; "Spare the rod and spoil the child"
10:11 AM on 02/01/2012
I don't beleive that's actually in the bible. Also, they used to favor death to children who disobeyed their parents. That's just not acceptable these days (who would have guessed that a book written two thousand years ago might be a little out of date) or perhaps we shouldn't take it literally. I'd like to think that Jesus would be pro-love and not so much pro-physical punishment (the physical punishment thing didn't turn out so well for him). I treat my children like I expect to be treated, with respect and understanding and just like I wouldn't want them to hit me, or a stranger I don't hit them.
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imokit
no longer has missing words!
12:52 PM on 02/01/2012
Are you aware that the rod in that quote is a Shepard's rod, one used to guide sheep and not one used to hit things? That that line doesn't necessarily mean you have to hit kids when they misbehave?
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savantpm
03:41 PM on 02/01/2012
imokit, I hope you are not the medical student getting your degree to make money! God bless you!
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savantpm
06:44 PM on 02/01/2012
The medical student who will make a difference in this world! Bless you!
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Vanderbil Covington
Humans are a bridge, not an end
02:02 AM on 02/01/2012
There is some wisdom in the article where a parent cannot over-love but certainly over-adore children.
I've heard many parents say they are afraid to discipline or even deny kid's desires because they thought the kids would not like them! Parents bringing children into the world have a responsibility to not only nourish and protect, but train them to be obedient and respectful. Without proper training, a child will not only dislike and disrespect you because you were weak, but also grow into an adult that will cause emotional pain to you and nearly everyone else they encounter. Parents and grans should NEVER place a child on an un-touchable pedestal where they are un-willing to control them. They are not only bad parents but creating a monster sure to bring nothing but shame in the end
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greggrwag
The Ghost that keeps Lefties up at night!
01:38 AM on 02/01/2012
Do kids today get spoiled... Yes, Are they overloved... That depends on how some parents define "love"
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Fran Jaime
11:47 PM on 02/01/2012
Very well said! Many parents think that spoiling their children is an expression of love. It isn't! Because you love your kids unconditionally, you set the boundaries and rules necessary to help them become good, generous, empathic, disciplined human beings. Spoiling comes out of indifference or fear (that is, the parent fears not being loved by the child), but when you truly love your child you learn to say No.