Signs You’re Spoiling Your Child and How to Fix That
Every parent knows the joys of watching your child grow healthy and happy and every parent wants to offer their child everything they need in order to grow strong, smart and never have to long for something they don’t have. It’s only normal to want what’s best for your children, to give them plenty opportunities for them to improve their skills and to better themselves and at the end of the day to make yourself feel like a good, accomplished parent.
However, in their quest of showing their love to their children, parents often lose track of where the line between a “need” and a “want” is when it comes to providing things for their own children.
Satisfying a child’s wants, not only their needs, is by no means something bad. Gifting them that one toy they’ve wanted since forever doesn’t make them spoiled, nor does it make you a parent that doesn’t know how to say no, so don’t feel like you should stop giving praise and gifts to your child after they have accomplished something and earned a special something, or when occasion calls for it.
Spoiling means providing a lot or too much, if not everything, without the child deserving of any of the things they’re receiving or the majority of them. It’s easy to say that yes, your child deserves everything in the world, sometimes solely based on the fact that they are your child, but spoiling them as a routine has little ups and way too many downs in the long-run.
While no one purposefully spoils their child too much, sometimes parents absentmindedly do so out of guilt. Maybe you want your child to avoid lacking anything unlike yourself while growing up, or maybe your busy work schedule doesn’t allow you to spend as much time as you want with your child and you feel the need to show your love in other ways, or to compensate for the lack of attention you can give them now and then, so you resort to showering your child with new toys, new clothes, a more relaxed schedule that allows more playing, later bedtime hours, junk food whenever they want it – the list can go on and on.
Even with all of that happening, the child doesn’t necessarily need to grow up as a spoiled brat, so how do we identify a spoiled child, you ask?
Here are a few signs that your child might be spoiled
The first sign of a spoiled child can be seen even from your own interactions with them. More often than not, the child doesn’t take you seriously when it comes to being scolded or they simply don’t pay attention to you when explained something, looking more interested in their current activity or trying to brush you off or even distract you by showing off something they find more interesting at the moment. Such issues usually mean they haven’t been properly taught how to respect someone when they’re talking and that they’re very much used to being given attention whenever they demand it, regardless of what the other person is trying to say or do.
Such behavior problems aren’t limited only to their own parents or family members though, and they can be witnessed when interacting with other children on the playground or at school as well. The child will try to grab everyone’s attention or decide on all of their game matters themselves rather than asking what the other kids want. And when things don’t go their way…
The child throws tantrums quite often. Whenever their wishes (regarding getting a new toy or going to the playground and so on) are not fulfilled by their parent, the child will start crying or screaming or hitting their parent, regardless of where the scene is caused at. At the store, in the middle of the other customers? You bet! On the playground, in the sandpit surrounded by both kids and their parents? It will happen. When you pick them up from school, in front of their teacher? They will stomp their feet and fold their arms and pull away from you there too, in a never-ending attempt to get things to go their way. Yes, it is a form of manipulation despite their young age, a way to try to control their parents and the people around them, but no, it definitely shouldn’t be excused just because of their age! With an appropriate approach, you can teach them to drop the tantrum throwing habit.
The saying “sharing is caring” isn’t there just for the sake of being there and it should provide a few hints regarding whether your child is spoiled or not. Being used to hoarding all of the attention of family members and receiving everything they point their finger at in a store, a spoiled child will have a hard time sharing their toys on the playground, sharing their school supplies to a kid in need when in class and not just because they simply don’t like to lend their stuff. They need to be taught to change their behavior and avoid being mean to other children who want to play with them.
If you’ve noticed any of these main issues in your child’s behavior, then you’re most likely dealing with a spoiled kid. What can you do now? Well, realizing that there is a problem with their behavior is in itself a good first step towards making things better, and you shouldn’t be the only one to know that.
Talk to your child about it
Let them know that throwing tantrums, making a scene in public, being mean to other kids or not showing any respect towards you are not things that should be happening, nor will you be allowing them to continue anymore. If they aren’t showing any signs of caring about this or aren’t paying attention to you, or if they even talk back and try to escape any consequences, bring it to their attention that they will start to get punished or grounded if they keep up with such a disrespectful attitude.
Decide on ways to ground or punish them
Depending on how they act spoiled, you can decide on how to punish them in educational ways or by forcing them to change their behavior if they want certain toys or part of their routines back, such as taking away game console or the usual trip to the playground. For educational punishments, you can reward them when they do something nice (such as sharing toys with a sibling or friend or allowing them to play a game in their place etc) by offering them extra time to play or by giving them, sweets. Remember to reward their good behavior, not to try to bribe them into not acting out, as the latter only shows them another way through which they can get whatever they want from you if they threaten to misbehave.
If the grounding or punishing doesn’t work right away, keep up your battle plan and don’t give up or trying to teach them how to behave, as they will only think their attitude is fine and they will return to being spoiled.
Make sure you don’t resort to any verbal or physical punishments, as they will worsen the issues.
Reclaim some of your free time
While you teach your child to act less bratty, it’s important to teach yourself how to step away from them every now and then to take care of your own work or schedule outside of your job as well. They might argue and throw tantrums now that you aren’t giving them all of your attention 24/7 anymore, but they have to learn that they can’t control someone else’s schedule and that people around have their own plans as well. Tell them when you’re going to visit a friend or going on a date or if you want to go shopping without them for once and leave them under the watchful eye of another family member or a trusted adult. That way, they will have to learn to entertain themselves and get used to the idea of not being around you at all time.
Another helpful tip is to momentarily ignore them whenever they start demanding things or whining to get your attention and wait until they calm down before you give them attention again. They’ll usually calm down in a few moments, once they realize their crying holds no longer holds any power over you. You can tell them to try asking again for whatever they were trying to ask whenever they are no longer crying or acting up and try to have them drop the habit of making a scene whenever they see something they want.
Last but not least, remember to make sure that every other family member is also joining in the attempt to discipline the spoiled child so that your efforts aren’t wasted. The last thing you would need would be another parent praising or being indifferent towards such toxic behavior. The child could form a closer bond with them solely based on the fact that they’re getting spoiled by one side and not by the other side of the family.