Many television shows, movies, and other media bombard children with enticing toys, games, and gadgets, and portray a life of indulgence. Our children are growing up thinking that they deserve to have what they want. Parents can stop spoiling their children and perpetuating a sense of entitlement by following these five suggestions.
Tolerate Your Child’s Unhappiness
One reason parents give in to their child’s wishes, desires, or demands is because it is painful for parents to see that their child is unhappy. As a society it seems that we’ve decided that part of being a “good” parent is keeping children happy all of the time (or at least appearing happy in public). To stop spoiling your child, you need to be willing to let them feel disappointed, upset, mad, or any other emotion.
Help Your Child Manage Disappointment
Helping your child manage their own uncomfortable feelings requires you to slow down from our frenetic pace and walk our child through their painful emotions. It’s easier and quicker to indulge them in whatever they want at the moment, but in the long-run, indulgence reinforces tantrums, emotional outbursts, and other spoiled behavior.
Look At Your Own Behavior
Are you spoiled? Do you impulsively buy yourself things in order to comfort yourself? Do you pout when you don’t get exactly what you want for your birthday from your partner? Too many parents are modeling spoiled behavior by compulsively buying “stuff”. Check yourself to make sure that you aren’t acting like a “big baby.”
Teach Your Child To Work
Teaching children to work can turn their sense of entitlement into a sense of contribution to the larger group. I have said to my own children, “This is our “family farm.” We don’t live on a farm though, so instead of getting up at 4:00A.M .to milk the cows, you have to take out the trash and mow the lawn. We need you to contribute.” Too often kids believe that housework or yard work are the parent’s jobs. Let them know that your family needs and appreciates their efforts to keeping the household running.
Worry Less About Your Child Fitting In
Some parents are overly worried about their child’s popularity and how their child’s appearance and performance measures up to peers. Wanting your child to be the top of the class, have designer clothes, have the latest gadgets, or be the best player on the team, can feed into your child’s sense that they deserve special privileges. Even the most dedicated mothers can use their child’s popularity to feed their own self-esteem.
You can decide to change your parenting style today and stop spoiling your child. By looking at your own behavioral and emotional patterns and making positive changes you can model responsible behavior. Additionally, by teaching your child healthy emotional management, the value of working and contributing to family life, and worrying less about your child being better than his or her peers, you can dramatically curb entitled and spoiled attitudes and behaviors.