Image is a word meme with a pink sky background, including a heart-shaped cloud. Words: "My children can not be diminished by love, harmed by acceptance or destroyed by kindness. My children are not milk, or ham. They will not spoil. Briannon Lee"

Spoilt

Have you ever been told that you are spoiling your children? Said yes to an extra ice cream? Been quick to forgive or overlook a child’s accident or mistake?

Twice this week, complete strangers have told me that my children are spoilt. They’ve told me in my children’s presence. In a week where we have been sick, just moved house, and are not sleeping so well.  My children are Autistic and anxious, spirited and joyful, serious and intense, loud. They were sick and tired. We were doing what we needed to get through the days and nights: new toys, chocolate biscuits and clothes-free days in front of the TV.

I think spoil is a horrid word when applied to people, not food.
From the Oxford Dictionary – Spoil, verb
: Diminish or destroy the value or quality of
: Harm the character of (a child) by being too lenient or indulgent

I felt a surge of anger and defensiveness at such a negative word being used to describe my family. At the time, I was completely out of spoons and couldn’t find the words to respond.

This is what I say to these strangers now…

My children are not milk, or ham. They will not spoil.

They will not be diminished by my love.
My love means that I accept them completely, their differences, their gifts and their challenges.
They will not be harmed by my acceptance.
My acceptance of their differences means I parent differently. I parent thoughtfully, and with kindness.
They will not be destroyed by my kindness,
For in my family, we need kindness, and patience, when our days together are long and our nights restless.

I know my children. More than you, so quick to judge.
Every moment, every thought, every resource I have, is concerned with my children; observing, and worrying, and planning, and caring for them. Because of this I know with certainty:

My children can not be diminished by love, harmed by acceptance or destroyed by kindness.
My children are not milk, or ham. They will not spoil.

– Briannon Lee

3 replies
  1. Rose
    Rose says:

    My mother is/was the most loving, kind, accepting person I have ever known. A lot of my friends had mothers who were the same. (Maybe “spoiled” kids hang out together, I don’t know.) But my son is now 22, and I realize there is something else my mother gave me, that may seem oppositional–she gave me freedom and direction. Freedom to think for my self, and make my own choices, but guidance in making good choices. I don’t think you are wrong, you can’t spoil a child with love and kindness.It’s just this “direction” has been on my mind lately. At this age, you hope you’ve done well…it is so easy for kids when they go off on their own, to make poor choices, and they will–we all do. But hopefully, they will have self-respect and respect for others enough to survive in a sometimes ugly world.

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