Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bonding or Spoiling?

Many new parents are faced with this dilemma :

"Shall we shower the baby with all the love and attention he/she require or shall be teach them to be independent from a young age?"

As with many other parenting issues, this is not one where you would receive a straightforward answer to.

On one hand, many parents are afraid that they may be spoiling their baby with too much love and attention. On the other, we all want to cuddle and hold on to our crying baby.

Bonding, the intense attachment that develops between you and your baby is, something I would say is irreplaceable and priceless. At the crossroad, the question we often ask ourselves is whether bonding = spoiling.

In my babywearing days (though I am still wearing my toddler now, it is not as often as before... missing it already), it is not unusual to come across the comment that I shall just leave Arthur to play by himself so that I can perform my housechores... "just let him cry and he will get used to it... once he gets used to it, he won't cry like that anymore"... the thing is, shall I still just let him cry when I know he's not really well (on days when he's got flu etc.)?.. shall I really let him cry on and on though he's already been crying non-stop for 1/2 hour (yes, I did try but it's no use)? The thing is, all the cries translates to "Momma, please cuddle me..." I know for sure now as he is able to express it now... only difference being I can explain to him that Momma is busy with chores and he will give me some time to finish them while he play by himself.

To me, responding to a baby's cries is not spoiling but bonding. It is only when one fulfil an excessive and unnecessary demand that it turns into spoiling (e.g. when they cry and cry for a toy/candy... when they cry just to get your attention... when they cry to get their ways...)

One good lesson I've learnt with regards to spoiling is you might as well just give whatever your child demand for right from the start if you know you'd give in to him/her if he start wailing. For example, your toddler asks for a piece of candy. You say "No". Your little one asks again. Ok... you want to be firm, so, you say "No" again. Seeing that he/she can't get it, he/she start crying... you're still saying "No"... then, he/she start wailing... you cannot stand it (especially when you are out in the public)... so, you give in... Read it again... this only encourages your little one to wail to get one he/she wants. As opposed to, if you gave it to him/her from the very beginning, it would be more of the norm.

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