Do you know if your child is spoiled is somewhat a hard question for any parent to answer. And most of the time, it usually ends with a stern “of course not!” – while trying to hide any tone of doubt.
This is totally understandable, because as parents, we just want our kids to be happy, right?
But sometimes the actions that we make, regardless of how innocent its intention may be, becomes a toxic stew of overindulgence that can turn them into unruly, selfish, entitled children.
In this article, we will present talking points that will help you assess if you are innocently turning your kid into a brat, how to ensure that you don’t, and most importantly how to know if you already have one – and how to prevent it from getting worse!
Let’s start with…
How Does A Child Become Spoiled?
No child is born with negative tendencies. These actions develop over time.
Harsh claim, right? Yes, we know. Sadly, there’s no way of getting around it without pinpointing the main culprit – “us” as parents! And it all boils down to the idea of “permissive parenting”.
Do you give your child too much power over your actions?
For example, do you easily give in to your child’s whining and tantrums? If yes, then you might be a permissive parent!
To be fair, most permissive parents aren’t aware that they are. Most of the time, they become lenient with their child because they just want their child to be, well, happy. Come on, what parent would prefer seeing their child cry rather than smile, right?
But by giving in to a child’s whining, they’re only teaching their child to continue doing said action to get what he/she wants. Thus the start of a trend that could eventually embed itself as part of a child’s personality.
How Parents Spoil Their Child
We at Kinacle talked to a child psychologist about this. And though the insights we got were very enlightening, it’s way too technical for it be an interesting read. So we decided to go with a more practical and relatable approach, and that is to give you some scenarios of what we believe are actions that contribute to a child becoming spoiled.
You Have A Hard Time Saying “No” To Them
The issue here stems from not being able to set, and keep boundaries.
Sometimes the idea of love, or by means of just being exhausted with all the whining, forces you to cave in. When this becomes a habit, your child will eventually try to test the boundaries you laid out.
And if you cave in and allow them to get what they want, the vicious cycle will start all over again.
Don’t think of it as your child having concocted a scheme to get what he/she wants. This just comes natural to them and stems from their innate curiosity.
So you being the “adult” in the relationship must stay firm when it comes to saying no.
You Mistake Overindulgence For Love
This can be divided into two things; providing “material gifts” and too much “attention/affection”.
“Material Gifts” is self explanatory. And though we would like to believe that no parent gives their child material things in the hopes of them becoming spoiled, the act if left unchecked definitely leads to it. Of course there’s no problem in showering your child with gifts. But if it’s done without any reason, then your child will demand for more.
When it comes to giving too much “attention/affection”, it’s not about giving random hugs and I love you’s. Rather, it’s about being too overprotective of your child in terms of letting them experience negative emotions.
Again, your reaction as a parent is completely understandable. But what you’re doing is putting your child inside a protective bubble, with you on constant guard detail. The outcome, a super sheltered child with limited knowledge of how to deal with emotional scenarios without the help of his/her parents.
Look, we absolutely get it! And to a certain extent, guilty of it as well. But overindulgence should never be used, or confused, to convey unconditional love.
As parents, yes, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child feels loved. But you should also allow them to deal with things by themselves – for them to develop important life skills that they need in the future.
You Make Excuses For Their Behavior
Now this one is a bit sensitive as some parents are indeed enablers. But if you’re not one of them, then it’s time for you to stop doing it.
For example, some children don’t like sharing their toys with others – especially if he/she is an only child. Though that might be a bit cute for toddlers, but for a 5 or 6 year old, that’s a sure fire sign that you’re raising a spoiled brat.
Saying that “she’s an only child you see, so she doesn’t really have anyone to share her things with.” Wrong, she has her parents to help her learn how to share with other people.
So rather than make excuses for your child – and sometimes for yourself as well – why not be more proactive about it?
How To Help A Spoiled Child
Stop Buying Things That Your Child Doesn’t Really Need
Go buy things that your child really needs, rather than getting him/her things just to make her feel happy.
Before you buy something for your child, ask yourself what purpose does it serve? If it’s just to make him/her happy, then don’t! You can make your child feel happy and loved through other ways. Doing it by means of gifts will only teach him/her to demand for more.
Lay Down Rules & Its Consequences – And Be Consistent With It
Teaching discipline is about establishing boundaries. And if those boundaries are broken, your child must understand that there will be consequences.
For example, if you say that your child can only have one cookie after each meal, then stick with with. If they insist, or take one behind your back, make sure that they face the consequence of their action.
No, this is not about showing them who’s boss. It’s about teaching them that rules are meant to be followed, and that you can’t always get what you want. How’s that for a life lesson?
Teach your child what you want him/her to do, or how he/she should conduct herself in public.
You can do this by listing down things, for example; I want you to be nice with your schoolmates and listen to your teachers. Or, when adults are talking, you shouldn’t butt in on the conversation.
Kids naturally want to please their parents, so by somewhat giving them the idea that “if you do this, it would make me happy” they would be more than willing to do it, if only to make you feel happy and proud of them. And of course, you’re also indirectly use it to teach them good manners as well.
Practice Using A Reward System
Apologies for using this example, but you can liken this system to how you would train a dog. For example, if you tell the dog to sit and it does, you give it a treat for doing so.
Same with kids. Make them understand that for every good action they make, they get something worthwhile for doing so.
Remember, a spoiled child is just a mere reaction of the environment the child grew up in.
But of course, we know that there are a lot of variables at play as to why a child becomes spoiled, and how to fix it. But hopefully, this article will give you a general idea of where to start – and hopefully help you turn things around if you already have a spoiled child.
So keep in mind to lay down rules and consequences for breaking them, don’t mistake overindulgence for love, and stop making excuses for your child’s bad behavior.
Do all of that, and we’re pretty sure you’ll child will come out ok.