When my daughter asked me, “Mom, am I a spoiled brat?”, I was taken a back for a while although I had a ready answer for that question stored at the back of my mind.
Since the day my only daughter, Kendra, was born, me and my husband showered her with much love and attention. I became a hands-on mother while my husband became the sole financial provider. We gave Kendra her basic needs, bought her toys, books, and dresses, brought her to kiddie playgrounds, and she had her share of travels with us both locally and internationally. But all these were not lavish, it was minimal.
When Kendra started to go to school, we saw her scholastic potentials. At an early age, she showed her eagerness to learn and her will to achieve. To inspire her to continue to get good grades, on our part as parents, we came up with “reward system”. This means that she will get rewarded for whatever achievement she gets from school. If she wants something, like a new Barbie doll, she has to work hard for it and wait until the end of the school year in order to get it. She will get it if she will be in the Honors list. For periodical exams, she also get rewards but not as expensive as school year end rewards. As she gets older, her school activities and achievements are becoming plentier and diverse. Like last year, she was elected and served as Lower B.E.D. PRO for the Student Council, passed the gruelling exam for the school paper which led her to become a senior writer, she joined contests and quizbees. This year, as sixth grader, she became the school’s representative for the Diwa League of Champions, Credit Awardee for International Competitions ans Assessments for Schools-English, Junior Editor-in-Chief of the school paper, & 1st grading period achiever. She got her rewards for all these accomplishments. She need not win in the contests, her effort is enough for her to get a reward. The material rewards she get are not really that expensive because my daughter, who in the first place is very thrifty, does not want anything lucrative. Books, notepads and pens are enough but sometimes she gets clothes, bags, or shoes (depending on the weight of her achievement). Recently, she asked for Percy Jackson novels & G-tech colored pens. Her vast collection of novels mostly come as a product of her good scholastic records and other achievements.
Yesterday, one of my daughter’s classmates asked her, “Kendra, are you spoiled?”. This question stunned her as she believes in herself not being a spoiled brat. She asked instead her classmate why did she ask her that question. Her classmate said that because she has more of everything,like more pens, more books, more washi tapes, & more art materials, she thinks that my daughter always get what she wants. My daughter clarified to her classmate that she only gets what she wants after working hard for it.
We reward our daughter for being a good student, not for being a brat. The rewards are not meant to spoil her, but to inspire her to do better.