They say you cannot spoil a child with too much hugging, kissing, and cuddling. However, sometimes parents pay too much attention to their beloved children, and it takes a negative toll. What are sure-fire ways to spoil your child rotten?
How to differentiate between the ways to spoil your child rotten and healthy attitude?
This is a tricky question. The golden middle between spoiling and spoiling rotten is quite vague. If you hesitate in some particular situations, ask yourself a few questions:
- Can my child go without this toy/gadget/game when we cannot afford it?
- May I trust the tasks to my child without risks?
- Am I being too mild/harsh/rude/demanding?
- Does my kid take over the power?
- Do I reach a compromise, or just give up to kid’s own will?
- Is the child old enough to take the decisions in this life aspect?
As parents, we can be a bit subjective. so don’t hesitate to ask for the opinion of relatives or a psychologist – an external observer can see the situation better.
1. Do all the work for them
“If you want something to be done well, do it yourself” – that’s how many parents think. Why tolerate kid’s mistakes when you can just wash the dishes and clean around the house on your own? Why buy toys and sweets as a reward when they can be purchased for no reason? If you don’t want your little one to do things to deserve the desired gadgets, toys and games, the kid will start thinking that he has the right to demand it without raising a finger to help. Such assertion turns children into teens and adults living by “I want!” principle.
Lazy parents are happy parents. Trusting simple tasks to your kid has a double advantage: you lighten your load and teach them that rewards cannot be obtained without labor.
Even if your kid splashes water all around when washing dishes, or gets home all dirty after walking a dog, these little inconveniences are nothing in comparison with their personal progress and achievements. Assignments and tasks help children to get on the path to independence and self-sufficiency.
More on this topic: Forget about self-sacrifice, or how tomake your child independent
2. Use severe physical punishment and verbal abuse
After a hard working day, coming down on children upon returning home seems to be a natural thing for some parents. “All I wanted is rest, but I found them fighting over the TV set again, what was I supposed to do? I’ve already had enough problems to deal with!” But shouting and beating can lead to dramatic consequences. “20 years of research have proved that physical punishment elicits aggression and antisocial behavior in children” – said the report of Joan Durrant and Ron Ensom.
When you’re ready to burst, stop and ask yourself “Is it a teaching measure or I just want to vent my own anger?”
3. Make decisions for your kid
“I’m a parent, and I know better” – another misleading strategy. Maybe you do know better, but who wins, if your kid obeys all the time? Taking decisions for the children is self-deception: you just feed your own self-approval, while kid doesn’t reap any moral or mental benefits.
Your children won’t grow up until they start making decisions, both right and wrong
When you try to keep every kid’s step under control and dictate what to do, you raise a person who always needs someone’s approval. While as a parent you ought to take some essential decisions, you don’t have to manage every aspect of your child’s life.
More on the topic: Typical parenting mistakes we do every day
4. Let the TV raise your children
All of us need some privacy and a spare moment for oneself. That’s when TV helps parents out: it distracts kids for an hour or two. Of course, one hour of crazy cartoons like Adventure Time or Sponge Bob doesn’t seem to be among the ways to spoil your child rotten. However, binge-watching lead to overexcitement and has a lot of other side effects.
To top it off, TV screen is spangled with advertisements. Researchers say children under 6 are not able to realize that the real purpose of advertising is to sell the products. So don’t be surprised when your kid will start cajoling new toys and gadgets from you after watching cartoons. Always mind the screen time for kids to avoid negative consequences.
5. Always take your kid’s side
As caring parents, we’re always ready to stand up for with all our might for the kids – no matter whether they’re right or not. That seems to be a good thing to do until the child grows up to realize that whatever they do, you will always excuse their behavior. Children with super-defensive parents aren’t afraid of getting bad grades in school, bullying classmates, or breaking other’s stuff – they know their parents will let them get away with it.
Don’t rush to rescue your kid in all situations – let them “suffer” the consequences
6. Never say ‘No’
It’s so hard to say ‘No’ because we don’t want to deal with unhappy crying kids. Some of us say ‘No’ without really meaning it. That’s why kids take power into their hands as soon as they see the adults defeated. The worst thing you can do is ignore it. The best – move on without lengthy explanations or apologies.
When kids see that everything is negotiable, they become manipulative
7. Ignore whining
Tolerating the bursts of cries, shouting, and tantrums means raising whiny kids. When a kid notices that parents change their mind after a little (or huge) fuss, it encourages to act such tricks again and again. Listening to screams, cries, stamping, and phrases “I hate you” with a poker face is a talent – the vast majority of parents burst in aggression in return. But this should be followed by resounding “No, you won’t get what you want, at least now”.
8. Overload your kid with extracurricular activities
We all dream of raising sports superstars, talented musicians, and best chess players. In the society where being multi-talented is welcomed and expected, parents of ‘usual kids with average skills’ feel somewhat inferior. That’s why many of them strive to make their kid a prodigy and enroll them in a myriad of courses – dances, mathematics, karate, and drawing. As the results, children burn out and lose interesting to everything. Instead of multi-tasking, let the kid choose a couple of hobbies that appeal to them, and don’t hesitate to switch activities when the tastes and preferences change.
9. Share your adult problems
Of course, parents and children are supposed to be sincere and open with each other, but there are some borders that shouldn’t be crossed. You had a hard day at work? Quarreled with your partner? When there’s nobody to cry on their shoulder, you can be tempted to start discussing it with your kids. But for what? A child isn’t a psychologist – your kid won’t solve your problems. Instead, the little one may stay with the sense of blame on their shoulders.
10. Praise for nothing
Praise your kid for everything: “Oh, you’ve eaten your porridge! Nice job!”, “Homework is done? You’re a genius!” Yes, praising is a good thing, but even this can be too much. If you compliment your child on routine tasks or even things that are beyond their control, they can acquire a false sense of self-esteem that’s not justified by their real achievements.
You follow some of these rules? Congratulations! Your child is likely to be or becoming a spoilt brat. If you notice the signs of a spoilt child, it’s time to change your upbringing strategy.