December 1, 2011

How Not to Raise a Spoiled Child

A “spoiled” child is, according to experts, a child who dominates the adult world around him, always seems to get what he or she wants, and is not respectful of authority. Behaviorists point out, however, that having the occasional tantrum or meltdown does not necessarily mean your child is spoiled; it may just be a bad day and a difficult moment.

When it crosses the line from a moment to truly being spoiled is if it becomes habitual.

Here is a checklist that can help you identify whether or not your child is becoming spoiled:

  • She interrupts adult conversations all the time.
  • She demands you buy her something every time you go out lest her behavior get out of control.
  • You avoid outings and errands with your child because you are afraid she’ll make a “scene.”
  • You get “worn down” by your child’s persistence and give in to avoid arguing.

So what can you do to avoid this or help fix it if it describes your family dynamic? Here are some tips and ideas on how not to raise a spoiled child.

Money Isn’t Everything

If you’re affluent, try not to shower your child with everything she wants. Remember, it’s not about the amount of money you have; it’s more about your attitude. Even if you have the money, ration out what you are going to spend on your child and stop after the limit is reached.

If you’re not affluent, try to avoid complaining about not having enough money. Your child may begin to equate money with happiness and the lack of it with misery. He may then assign worth to people or friendships based on the other person’s financial status or ability to buy him gifts.

Foster Responsibility

Spoiled children often have no understanding of consequences. They have usually just been placated rather than having to suffer the effects of bad behavior. Therefore, cultivate a sense of personal responsibility in your kids to prevent them from becoming spoiled. Make sure you enact consequences in response to poor behavior, and always follow through.

Don’t Give In

This may go without saying, but it bears repeating – child development experts advise parents never, ever to give a child something she wants if she is having a tantrum in order to get it. In other words, if you say “no” to buying a toy and your child flies off the handle, don’t grab the toy and buy it just to avoid embarrassment. You made the rule, so stick with it! This helps prevent a child from becoming demanding or spoiled.

Foster Gratitude

Whether it’s through making a list of blessings or playing games to learn the concept, fostering gratitude is so important for raising unspoiled kids. Have your kids earn their privileges instead of them being automatic, for example. They can earn their allowance or other things they want, too. It helps them appreciate what they’ve got if they worked for it.

It took time for your child to get spoiled, and it will take time to un-spoil him or her. Persist with these strategies and you’ll see positive changes in your child’s behaviour. If not, consider consulting a child psychologist or other child development professional.

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Alexis Rodrigo