It is but natural for us parents to want to give our children everything within our power. We provide them everything they need, and buy them whatever catches their fancy as long as we can afford it.
We all know, however, that we’re not doing anyone any favors when we freely give our kids anything they want, from material stuff to a significant part of our time and attention. Not our kids, and certainly not ourselves. Being given everything they want breeds irresponsibility, rudeness, selfishness and a sense of entitlement that will tend to become even worse as they grow older.
No one wants to raise a spoiled, entitled brat. If you’re a parent who feels that way, know that there are a number of ways you can avoid raising a spoiled child. You can actually create the kind of environment at home that will help you instill the positive character traits that you want them to possess. For parents who genuinely love their children, here are some tips on how to avoid raising a spoiled child.
1. Make kids work for what they want
Instead of just buying them the toys or shoes or gadgets they want because they demand it, why not make kids work for what they want? You can promise your child, say, the latest Sony PlayStation if they get straight As in school or if they manage to do certain household chores you assign on a regular basis. When you make kids work for what they want, you are basically teaching them a lot about the value of hard work and responsibility. In addition, it cultivates their own sense of accomplishment.
2. Make them aware the world does not revolve around them
Kids who are given everything that they want whenever and wherever they want it tend to conclude that they are the center of the universe, and that they control their parents. If you don’t want this to happen, make sure you make a real effort to make sure that your child knows that he or she is part of a family unit. Learning to say no to children would be a great place to start.
3. Teach them that life isn’t perfect
Failures and disappointments are a part of life, but when you give kids everything they want, they will only think that they will always get their way in life, which we all know isn’t true. While you cannot really protect your children from inevitable disappointment, you’d be doing them a favor if you teach them how to handle it. Again, you can start by learning to say no to children every now and then.
4. Be consistent
Let’s say you disciplined your child for doing something bad one day, but chose to ignore it when he or she did the same thing a few days later. When you become inconsistent with implementing discipline, you are basically telling the child that the rules at home don’t really matter. If anything, you should follow through with consequences, at all times. Make them aware of certain boundaries, and make them fully understand that they will have to go through certain consequences if they do cross them.
5. Cultivate empathy
You certainly would want your child to be able to connect with other people, so it’s always great to have them play or join activities with other kids. Have conversations with your child, read them stories or do anything that will encourage them to put themselves in the shoes of other people.
6. Assign chores
No matter how you look at it, children who don’t help out at home will always be seen as spoiled brats. By making them do chores, you are in effect making them feel like they’re part of a team, which they actually are. Chores done together by the family put an emphasis on the importance of family over self. Teach your child responsibility, regardless of how young they are, by giving them opportunities to help out at home.
7. Teach children manners
Some parents might think that their kids are too young and too little to have any use for good manners, but kids are never too young to be taught how to demonstrate respect to the greater community. In fact, the habit of always saying “please and thank you” when the situation calls for it has a better probability of sticking with a three-year-old child than with a seven-year-old.
Of course, the best way to teach children manners is by example. Kids, after all, learn more from what we actually do than from the things that come out of our mouth. If we really want to teach children manners and respect, we have to be role models, and consistent ones at that.
Children who have been given everything are not really bad kids, and it’s not really their fault they’re that way. If anything, the blame completely lies with parents who spoiled their kids rotten instead of actively teaching them manners, responsibility, respect, empathy and the value of hard work. Hopefully, the tips listed above can make you reconsider the way you’re raising your kid, and help you avoid raising a spoiled child.