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I think my kiddos may be spoiled...but hopefully not rotten.

After a holiday season that saw some mini-splurges, I think I am coming to a realization that I have two adorable-yet-lucky kids that get (almost) whatever they want. I'm pretty sure they're "spoiled," but I am desperately clinging to the hope that they're not spoiled BRATS. At least not yet...and I want to keep it that way.

So, recently I have done breakdowns of what I have bought them over the course of a usual week. Not counting food, I am noticing that I buy them some kind of "treat" once or twice a week. (I am talking a dollar store toy, a box of crayons, an outfit I scored on crazy-clearance, a $2 cartoon episode for the iPad) For a three and a four-and-a-half year old, I'm wondering out loud...is this a little ridiculous? Maybe.

I think the extra-special "bonuses" started a few months ago when I started a part-time job (read: 'perhaps Mommy feels guilty she put the kids in preschool for longer hours?') Plus, this new gig brings me to a bunch of retail stores every day. And, a result, I seem to be buying MORE things! A $1 coloring book here, a $4 t-shirt there. It is definitely more than once a week that I use my hyper-bargain-finding skills as a bribery tool at home. "If I get a good report from your teachers today I just may bring something home for you." Probably not the winning-est parenting tactic. I am certainly dangling the proverbial carrot for them.

I am not worried, however, that they are going to be uber-brats with snotty attitudes and "you-MUST-buy-me-that!" tantrums. Have they ever been snotty brats?! Of course. They may be 'too often,' but I think my mini-gifts are not going overboard -- and I hope therein lies the key to not producing obnoxious, entitled youngsters. Ask any of my friends: I am one of the most frugal people I know. Trust me...my kids are often told, "No." They're also often told, "Absolutely not. There is no way I am buying you that after the way you behaved today!" (Just as they get the occasional tangible reward and positive reinforcement for doing good deeds, they also get things taken away, too,)

So...what do you think? How do you curtail over-splurging with your kids, giving them "too many toys," and striking a balance with not spoiling them? Or, which is what perplexes me sometimes, can they be spoiled yet grounded in reality? I think so, but I would love to hear what others have to say!

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