EXPERT Q&A

How do I keep from spoiling my daughter?

Many parents leave the workforce to care for their children, but are concerned about the possibility of spoiling them. Learn tips from CareNectar expert Shenley Seabrook on what you can do to stay home with your children and help them thrive.

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Question

Since having my daughter three years ago, I went from working 40 hours a week to now just 20, and much of this is outside the home. We have a babysitter who comes over if my husband has to work late, and the grandparents help out when they can. It’s been going pretty well, but lately, I’ve been thinking about quitting my job. However, I’m worried that if my daughter spends all day with me, she will get used to me caring for her and will struggle in other types of care. I don’t intend to spoil her, but how can I stay home with her while exposing her to different learning environments? This is an important consideration as we start exploring preschools or if we need a babysitter now and again. I’m blessed to be in this situation in which I can choose to stay home, but I’d appreciate any advice to address this concern.

Answer

I can hear in your words how much you care about your daughter and your family’s well-being. It’s wonderful that you are able to weigh the pros and cons of this and be so thoughtful about it. I think, especially with the past year being full of so much unknown, it makes total sense to want to be with your family and spend time focusing on your daughter. Here are some suggestions for how to weigh out the pros and cons and gather information about your husband’s thoughts and feelings: 

  • Sit down and write out four lists. One of the pros and cons from solely your point of view. Will you miss work? Will you feel isolated if it’s just you and your daughter? Will you be able to connect with your daughter more by staying home? Then, write one from your daughter’s point of view. You’ve already listed several points in this question. Next, get your husband involved and have him write one only from his perspective and then have him help with an entire family list. Having each of your individual pros and cons and then folding them into a family list will help you better understand the micro and macro pros and cons. 
  • I honestly do not believe that we can spoil children. I think that you staying home with her would provide her with excellent care, and I know you’ll teach her emotional intelligence. Maybe a compromise could be that you have a babysitter come for a date night once a week, ideally, or at least once a month so that your daughter is still getting the experience of someone else’s care. 
  • Now that the world is opening back up, you will be able to plan playdates and meet friends at the park. A toddler needs to experience social time with peers, but you can facilitate that as a stay-at-home mom! 
  • Could you take a week off of work and do a test run? This way, you can get a general idea of how it will feel to be at home all week with your little one. 

Take comfort in the fact that you have two pretty great options here! Either way, your daughter will be loved, cared for, and challenged. Also, even though it would be a big change and not immediately reversible, you can always go back to work if you find that this arrangement isn’t ideal. I think, however, that your instinct to spend as much time with your daughter during her early years of life is spot on and coming from such a loving place. You’ve got this, and we will be here cheering you on!

Meet The Expert


Shenley Seabrook

Shenley Seabrook is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who works primarily with children and adolescents in a private practice setting. She is also a foster parent and lives with her husband and daughter in Indiana. Shenley recently wrote her first children’s book, We Have the Same Heart, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and community service.