Telltale signs of a spoilt child include whining, pouting and an all-out tantrum. But then again, these could be just be typical behaviours of a kid. Yes, it can be hard to tell the difference, so take a look at your own parenting tactics to see if you’re unintentionally spoiling your child.
Do not give in
Saying “fine” to a yet another toy just to avoid a meltdown, even when you know it’s a bad idea, only teaches your child that he can have anything he wants, whenever he wants it. Even worse, you’re reinforcing bad behaviour. Giving in after he throws a fit just confirms that throwing a fit is the fastest way to get his own way.
Mean what you say
“If you throw that toy one more time, we’re leaving the library,” you might say to your child. If you do, follow through and leave the library should your child throw the toy. It’s an empty threat if you’re not going to follow through. And your child will probably sense it. That makes it easy for him to dismiss you and keep doing what he likes.
There are always exception to the rule, but it’s important to stick to your guns if you want your children to understand what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. If you’re fickle with the rules, you’re teaching your child to test you every time because there’s a chance you may give in.
Let them feel disappointment
Denise Schipani, author of Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later, highlights a parenting flaw of how children are “not allowed to feel disappointment, ever”. One of her anti-spoiling tip is to “let your child own her failures as well as her successes”.
If your child forgets his homework folder or hurts a friend’s feelings, don’t protect him from what can be a valuable learning moment. One of the best ways we learn is through our mistakes. When parents shield kids from a potential learning moment, we’re doing more of a disservice than our initial good intention.
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Do not bribe them, ever
As a parent, you should be able to issue directions to your children without resorting to bribery. Telling your kid that he’ll get a reward for taking out the trash or cleaning his room, sets him up to expect unrelated and external rewards for doing regular tasks. Instead, encourage him to feel proud for a job well done.
Model and tell your child the appropriate times to say “thank you” and he’ll pick it up and say it on his own. Thank him as well when he does something for you so that he knows this is what everyone does. Steer clear from allowing him to keep taking and receiving without so much as an acknowledgment to the giving party. The benefits of fostering gratitude are many and will help avoid spoiling your child.
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