When Spoiling is Harmful

I get it. Grandparents, aunts/uncles, family friends enjoy spoiling kids. You get all the fun of playing with a kid and ship them off to someone else to face the consequences of it.

What I don’t get is when this “spoiling” is in a form that’s harmful to the child. For example, I saw one woman complaining that her parents would always feed her child junk foods he couldn’t tolerate, causing him migraines. I get it, kids love that stuff, but if you love the child- why would you knowingly cause them pain?

I’ve seen people brag about how they give their friends’ kids sugar to be the “cool aunt”, knowing that the child will be cranky and upset that evening. Not only is that a dick move towards your friends, it’s not pleasant for the kids, either. And it’s not impossible to find yummy treats that don’t cause those problems, you could probably talk to the parents to find out what options they have.

It’s something we’ve really struggled with with my dad. He gives our baby junk food. This includes foods that our baby almost definitely can’t tolerate (corn syrup), foods that just isn’t healthy (McDonald’s, seriously), and foods that our baby has had trouble physically eating. It doesn’t even make sense with our baby. Our baby loves strong flavors and more eagerly goes for cajun chicken than a cookie- if my dad wanted to spoil them, go for spicy food. Instead, he’s been trying to give our baby sugar since they were 6 months old despite our baby’s problems with corn syrup, still gives them caffeinated and sweetened tea after we say specifically not to even though our baby will quite happily drink water, and pretty much ignores every time we tell him not to no matter what reason we give.  We’ve told him not to give our baby bacon because they choke on it and hurt themself, and the first thing he does is offer our baby a piece of bacon- I am not even exaggerating.

It isn’t just food, he also lets our baby do and get into things that are harmful. The only times our baby has ever fallen and bloodied themselves were with my dad, and it happens way too often for our comfort.

If you’re wondering why my dad is still allowed to even see this child- it’s because we were broke, full time students and now we’re broke people who are hastily packing to move with a baby who screams whenever one of us moves off of the couch. We can’t afford to hire babysitters but we need some help and there hasn’t been any emergency-room worthy offenses. It also wasn’t bad at first and has snowballed with time- part of the problem is that my dad won’t accept that he’s trained our baby to expect him to obey their every whim because he wouldn’t listen to us when we said that he needed to set boundaries. The older our baby gets, the more we try to limit my dad being alone with the baby because it’s easier to control when they’re right there.

Also, we’re moving 14 hours away and this will cease to be a problem very soon. So a little leeway isn’t totally unfair.

Recently, my dad got our baby a fairly large flag. Its pole is over a foot long, it’s thicker than a pencil. Our baby loves flags, so was wild about this present. Me? I hate it- he waves it around and smacks me in the face with it. But as long as we watch them, it’s not doing them any harm so I don’t resent it the way that I resent my dad ignoring our rules on food.

I don’t mind it when people spoil our baby, even when they give our baby things that I hate and want to throw off a cliff. It’s not my favorite thing ever, but I don’t get angry about it and just set boundaries on when it is and is not okay to play with it. I know that not everyone feels the same way, it does depend on circumstances and such. What I do get angry about is when “spoiling” means doing something that will upset or hurt my baby. I really just absolutely cannot grasp why people enjoy doing that.

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