Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Spoiling Children

You go to the doctors office and there is a mother and son who just came in, there are two chairs left, an adult size chair and a little kids chair. The son sits on the adult chair, the mother tells her son to get up, that the chair is for her, and the little kids chair is for him. But he persists on sitting on the adult size chair, the mother having no other choice squeezes herself into the little kids chair.

Now what is wrong with this situation? The child is a spoiled child. Children of this generation are becoming more spoiled, they have power over their parents, don't let this happen to your child. According to Dan Kindlon, author of "Too Much of a Good Thing", 60% of parents thought their kids were spoiled, and 15% of teens think they themselves are spoiled. We will go through what causes a spoiled child, why spoiling your child is not good and how to prevent your child from becoming spoiled.

What causes spoiled children:
The main cause is permissive parenting, where parents don't set limits and give into tantrums and whining. Holding a baby is equivalent to loving the baby and does not spoil the child.

Why spoiling a child is bad:
A spoiled child is one who can use a bit more discipline, they find it hard to share, wait their turn, appreciate what they have and accept that they can't always get their way.
Spoiled children run into trouble by the time they reach school age. Other children won't like them because they are too bossy and selfish. Adults don't like them because they are rude and make excessive demands. Eventually spoiled children become hard for even their parents to love because of their behavior. Spoiled children eventually become unhappy cause they can't get along with others. Spoiled children may show decreased motivation and perseverance in their school work. Overall, spoiling a child prepares a child poorly for life in the real world.

To Prevent your child from becoming spoiled:
1- Provide age-appropriate limits and rules for your child:
Children need external controls until they develop self-control and self-discipline. Your child will still love your if you say "no" to him.
2- Require cooperation with important rules:
Have 10 to 12 important rules that are not open to negotiation and make sure that other adult caretakers of the child are consistent with them. Then give your child choices in other areas that are not important. Show your child the options of which cereal to eat or what to wear and let the child choose.
3- Expect your child to cry:
Respond to crying immediately when dealing with needs of the child. However when its part of a tantrum ignore it. But be careful to avoid denying him his feelings and don't call him a cry-baby or punish him for crying.
4- Don't allow tantrums to work:
As long as your child stays in one place is not too disruptive or in a position to harm himself, you can safely ignore him during a tantrum.
5- Don't overlook discipline during quality time:
When spending quality time it should be enjoyable, but also reality based, don't ease up on the rules.
6- Don't try to negotiate with young children:
Don't give away your power as a parent. Only by age 14 to 16 a teenager can be negotiated with as an adult, you can ask for his input about what limits and consequences are fair. You don't have to give a reason for every rule. Sometimes it is just because "that's the rule".
7- teach your child to cope with boredom:
Assuming you talk and play with your child several hours a day, you do not need to be his constant playmate. Sending your child off to "find something to do" is doing him a favor. Much good creative play, thinking and daydreaming come from coping with boredom.
8- Teach your child to wait:
Waiting helps children learn with frustration. Delaying immediate gratification is something your child must learn gradually, and it takes practice.
9- Don't rescue your child from normal life challenges:
These are opportunities for learning and problem solving. Always be available and supportive, but don't help your child with situations he can handle by himself.
10- Don't over praise your child:
Praise your child for good behavior and following the rules. Praising your child while he is in the process of doing something may cause him to stop at each stop, expecting more praise.
11- Teach your child to respect the rights of adults:
Spending every free moment of your evenings and weekends with your child is not good for your child or for you. Schedules nights out with your spouse or friend will not only nurture your adult relationships, but also help you to return to parenting with more to give. Your child needs to learn to accept separations from his parents.

In conclusion, spoiling a child is not good for you as the parent or for the child, prevent your child from becoming spoiled. To un-spoil your child you need to set firm limits, be consistent and provide choices. But keep in mind that when children ask for things, a lot of times there can be more to what their asking, something deeper. You have to look at their request and see what's behind it. If the child asks for a new toy, it could be more than just the toy they want, they could be asking for time with their parent. So spend quality time with your children, but remember who is in charge and don't let your child become spoiled.


  1. Beautifully written and absolutely true!
    This post should be read by all young parents. I will be the first to link to it and help spread the word.

  2. I also agree with all of the points, except for the last ones. Children let their parents know when they are ready for separation.

  3. SuperRaizy:
    Thank You!

    Mother In Israel: From Babysitting, there is one baby that is very difficult and always cries when she's away from her mother. It is because her mother has been spoiling her and her mother never encouraged her to be with other people. Her mother always kept her for herself. The baby is now a year old, and if her mother is away from her for just 5 seconds she'll start crying hysterically. What's going to happen when she starts going to nursery, she won't be able to leave her mother, it will be very hard. The families, where the mothers aren't always with their babies, but let other people hold them too, and let the babies play with other babies, are better off. If a parent never puts a separation between them and the baby, then the baby will never be ready. Its one of those things that are great, a baby wants to be with its mother and won't willingly separate, you have to do it gradually.

  4. That's why I'm a big proponent of daycare. Kids learn how to interact with others without having a parent around.


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