I've read many places that it's impossible to spoil a baby during the first couple of months. However, when can babies start to get spoiled? My baby is 7 months now. He's in daycare part-time so when he's home, I try to make an extra effort to interact with him. However, yesterday he appeared to have a temper tantrum when I took away something he'd been chewing on (screaming, arching his back, and flailing wildly). Is this something I need to start worry about? What tips do you have to interact with your children without spoiling them?

asked 30 Oct '09, 13:29

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Kiesa ♦
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Honestly I don't think you can spoil any baby. In the situation you are talking about I would have offered the baby something that is safe for him to play with. It sounds more to me like you are talking about manipulating a situation rather than spoiling. My 2 year old can definitely be manipulative, but a 7 month old, not in my experience.


answered 30 Oct '09, 18:33

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edited 30 Oct '09, 20:40

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Scott ♦♦

Ah, manipulating does sound like a better way to put it. Thanks :)

(30 Oct '09, 18:56) Kiesa ♦

Can you please define what, exactly, you mean by "spoiling"? Food spoils if you leave it out, it undergoes changes that make it unfit to eat, and can't be fixed. It's not clear that anything analogous happens to children. They can get behaviors you'd like to change, you can reinforce the wrong things. But there's no point of no return where if you do something "wrong" somehow they are ruined forever.


answered 30 Oct '09, 18:38

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I guess what I'm thinking of is acting poorly if they don't get what they want immediately (and maybe trying to manipulate the situation as Michelle suggests). It never occurred to me that this might be a problem for a 7 month old until my mother mentioned it.

(30 Oct '09, 18:55) Kiesa ♦

Igritz, I'm not sure if this is a cultural thing. In North America the term "spoiled" is often used to mean that I child is overly coddled and can gets whatever they want.

(31 Oct '09, 00:16) Tammy ♦♦

Our pediatrician told us that after 3 months he starts to make connections (ie: I cry, they pick me up, ergo, let's cry!). So you should be careful at 7 months.

Before 3, it's not a problem though


answered 30 Oct '09, 14:06

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I don't really see the problem with picking up a 7 month old when it is upset. This seems all wrong to me.

(30 Oct '09, 18:34) Michelle

@Michelle: When our daughter was just born, she only cried when she needed something. Nobody taught her how to cry, it was instinct. Later she learned other things, like when a wet facecloth is brought towards her face, she closes her eyes. This isn't her thinking through the consequences, it's completely by association. We've learned by experience you have to make sure attention is associated with need, not with crying, or it just begets more crying. So need->cry->fix is good and sometimes need=comforting. But cry->reward is bad. Trying to feel your way through the difference is hard.

(01 Nov '09, 00:31) Scott ♦♦

@Michelle: ...and I think this question is all about when is a baby even capable of making those associations, because before that time, you don't even worry about it. My best example (almost every parent we've talked to seems to tell us this) is that when your child falls over you train yourself to not react with comfort immediately. They always look at you for your reaction and if you go "oops! Get up!" in a happy voice they'll go on their way (unless they're really hurt).

(01 Nov '09, 00:50) Scott ♦♦

Watch this link, it will partially answer your question (though in an indirect way) Becky Bailey is an expert on human relationships. The point that she makes and which is supported by brain development studies is convincing to me and I hope it will be helpful to you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO2XtMBgyV8 (you can look up more stuff presented by her and/or read some books she wrote. I find her ideas helpful. G


answered 31 Oct '09, 20:41

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Asked: 30 Oct '09, 13:29

Seen: 5,945 times

Last updated: 31 Oct '09, 20:41