It can start with something as simple as the occasional whining about something that your child wants you to get or do for them. You finally give in to it almost every time. It makes sense that you do. After all, you want your child to know that you love him or her, right? They should get what they want so that they know they are loved, right?
You might have a change of heart when their occasional whining becomes a constant barrage of unreasonable requests. It gets worse. You can quickly see this kind of behavior escalate towards blatantly disobeying you on purpose or throwing fits when you tell them “no.” It can get to a point where you do what they ask you to, and they completely stop showing you any gratitude when you make it happen. In other posts, we talk about developing independence and respect in your child. Here we will focus on how to nip those emerging aspects of the bud so it doesn’t become a habit. However don’t forget that we are our child’s role model.
Just because your child expresses these behaviors does not mean that you have let your child down. It is quite the opposite. You might be excessively willing to fulfill their requests and demands because you want them to enjoy the financial comforts. Maybe those you never had. Or your busy work schedule makes you feel guilty about not being able to spend enough time with your family. At the end of a long week, when you finally get to spend some quality time with your children giving in to your child’s requests can seem so much easier than putting your foot down. This can be especially true if a parent is absent a lot and you want to enjoy those valuable times together. In an article in Psychology Today, the leading behavioural expert Dr Susan Newman lists 9 signs of a spoilt child as:
- Expects bribes or rewards for good behavior.
- Rarely lifts a finger to help.
- Is more concerned about himself than others.
- Passes blame when things go wrong.
- Can’t handle disappointment.
- Needs a treat to get through the store.
- Expects to be rescued from his mistakes.
- Feels like the rules don’t apply.
- Constantly wants more and more.
If you can relate to some or all of these, rest assured you are not alone in thisThis guide will provide you with all the information you need so that you can learn how to raise an unspoiled child. All children, like all humans, show some of these attributes some of the time. This is not a concern. The problem is when it becomes the norm.
We will take a detailed look at some of the most pertinent dangers of raising a spoiled child. Then we will look at some of the ways you can unspoil your child and successfully raise a loving, caring, and thoughtful individual. It is essential to take the right steps as soon as possible.
The Dangers of Raising a Spoiled Child
Spoiling your children not only has the potential of making them unpleasant to be around while they live you, but there are also more significant problems at play here. When you provide your children with everything, you are also harming the aspects of their social and developmental growth. A spoiled child does not quite often know how to resolve his or her problems. That translates to them being unable to learn key life skills that they need to thrive later in adult life. There are long-term effects if you do not understand how to raise an unspoiled child. I detest the word ‘snowflake,’ but some of the attributes that can be leveled at some young adults, such as entitlement, lack of resilience, and the need for instant gratification, can be linked back to how they were raised. Very few of these individuals seem happy in adulthood, although they might have had everything they wanted as a child.
A spoiled child might not necessarily realize that they need to learn responsible behavior. Being in the incredibly comfortable environment they are in because of their parents taking care of everything for them, and they do not get the chance to learn how to become accountable.
They are unable to understand certain important concepts like boundaries as adults. This can quickly develop into major problems in adulthood like overreacting, drinking, gambling and overspending.
Here we discuss how to teach children responsibility.
Spoiled children can become too dependent on their parents. As they grow into adults, this can result in them being unable to make themselves fulfilled and ultimately happy. According to research by David J. Bredehoft and Connie Dawson, young adults who were spoiled as children had the inclination to believe that they would be unhappy if they were ever alone.
The college-age young adults felt that their source of happiness does not come from within themselves but through other people around them. That sets a dangerous precedent for happiness when they learn that things do not work that way. Beyond this, you might be buying them the new games console every year but are you also going to buy them the latest car every two years? It is far easier to set the boundaries in your house in the short term rather than having a toxic relationship in the later years.
Poor Relationship Skills
It gets from bad to worse as they grow older. One of the things that spoiled children can fail to pick up on is how relationships and social interactions with other people are about giving and taking. This means a spoiled child will have a tough time being able to keep loving and meaningful relationships. This translates to their friendships, relations with siblings, and any potential partners in their lives. You can not expect the spouse or future children to dote on your child the same way as you do and for them to maintain a loving relationship. In a way, you are setting them up for failure and deep upset.
Dr. Bruce K. McIntosh talks about how spoiled children can be quite insensitive to other people. Often without realizing it. They are more prone to tantrums of the worst kind and face difficulties deferring gratification to others even when it is due. Other children might not enjoy being around someone with these qualities, resulting in isolation starting at a young age.
These are the basic issues that can result from being unable to raise an unspoiled child. As children grow old, these become the basis for more complex problems in their adult lives. This is why it is important to take the right action early before it becomes ingrained
How to Unspoil Your Child
Raising an unspoiled child is a Herculean task, and if you want to learn how to unspoil your child, you should be warned that you are in for quite a show. Your child learned the behavior that has classified them as a spoiled child. They can also unlearn those behaviors and learn newer and better behaviors. Things might not be easy or pretty, but you can pull it off with hard work and persistence.
Here’s a look at all the things you need to do in order to be able to raise an unspoiled child properly.
1. Accept that raising an unspoiled child is not the easiest thing to do as a parent.
The first and most important step is to decide how you will parent your child. That is the only way you can set things into motion and unspoil your child, and everyone involved must be consistent. If two partners do not agree on this, it can be tough if the parents do not live together. It would help if you examined your style of parenting properly. Below are some of the things typically exhibited by parents that raise spoiled children. Read them carefully to see if you can relate.
- As a parent, you want a much better life for your child. You want them to have all the things you did not growing up.
- Never saying “no” to your child or being afraid to set limits. It can give your child too much dominance over you.
- Thinking that saying “no” can be harmful to the child’s self-esteem.
- Constantly exposing your children to the consumer-driven culture.
- Being so tired from work that you barely get to spend time with your child. When a situation presents itself, instead of no, it is a lot less tiring to give in to their demands.
Are any of these qualities something you can relate to? If yes, you need to decide to actively change how you are in those situations and respond to them.
2. Set Clear Limits
Set clear boundaries of what you will and what you will not listen to. When you set concrete boundaries, it becomes a little less difficult to cave into your child’s constant whining. Make it a point not to budge from that decision, and hopefully, you will be able to get a clear message across how whining will not work all the time. Manners are not necessarily old-fashioned.
As mentioned above, those in the household must all be on the same wavelength. Schools are likely to follow similar guidelines, and most children can follow these consistently. It is not a problem if when out with Grandparents they get one too many treats! Accept the fact that saying “no” to your child on reasonable occasions is not bad, so you can stop feeling guilty about it.
Here is a nifty trick you can use. When your child starts to whine and talks in a rude tone, pretend that this kind of tone is something you cannot hear. Tell them very respectfully that as soon as they stop nagging, you will understand what they are saying.
Things can get pretty messy if they throw a proper tantrum, but you must stand firm as a parent who wants to raise an unspoiled child.
3. Enforce Being Patient, Delay Gratification, and Teach Them Value
Children thinking they can get what they want straight away stamping their feet will cause them harm. That immediate gratification can be incredibly harmful to them, and that’s why you need to set the crucial trait of being patient in them. It can significantly affect success in their studies and employment as they learn to associate work over time (such as revising) with the meaningful reward of grades and success. It can also cause problems with credit cards and spending later. Teaching the value of time and money is not easy.
Remember how you would have to save money as a child? Maybe from your first job or allowance because you were taking care of the chores in your home? That kind of gratification sticks with you, and you understand the value of hard-earned money. Here we talk about pocket money specifically. We also look at whether you should pay children for chores and age-appropriate chores.
When children are provided the things they want freely, they do not grasp a sense of value. They do not understand how gratifying it can be to earn something.
Try this the next time your child asks you to get him or her something. For instance, if your child asks you to purchase a new action figure when you are in the store, do not immediately pick it up for them. Instead, either talk about if they would like to spend their own pocket money on it – that is then entirely their choice then. (link to pocket money article) or would they want it for their next present? This then helps them realize that things aren’t limitless and not important enough for them to spend their money on what they shouldn’t expect you to. Instead, tell your child that you did not budget that toy into the expense of this trip to the store, but you think you two can come up with an idea to help the child earn the new toy soon. Ask your child how they feel like they can earn the privilege to have that new toy.
4. Engage Your Child in Discussion
The most important thing you can do to raise an unspoiled child is by engaging them in wholesome conversations and discussions. The best way to help your child learn how to stop being selfish is to talk to them about it (with a lot of patience and understanding from your side).
Let them know that the things they have in their lives are all there because you and your partner worked very hard to provide for them. Talking to them about it and a practical demonstration by suggesting ways to earn their allowance and toys is a good way to instill that value. You are not trying to instill guilt but rather an understanding and appreciation, so don’t lay it on too thick.
You could also ask your children to engage in charity drives with you, like giving away coats for the needy or food collection. Take those opportunities to talk to them about how other people cannot afford these things, and they should think of ways to help them. Perhaps something along the lines of “Hey, I think you have outgrown that jacket of yours from last year. What do you say we donate it to someone who cannot afford one?” You might be surprised at how charitable young children can be. Here are some more suggestions to develop empathy in your child.
Make sure that you talk to them about how they feel when they give their old things away. Discuss how they would feel if they did not have enough. That will teach them to be more grateful for their things and help them reflect on their actions.
Final Thoughts on Raising an Unspoiled Child
It is human nature when born to look after yourself. However, selfish behavior is learned, and it can also be unlearned. Raising an unspoiled child is not always an easy task. It is also upsetting when you see that behavior in your child. The older the child is, the harder the battle will be, but you have to stick through it. If you cannot unspoil your child right now, life will become too difficult for them to handle later.
Follow these guidelines and lead by example. It will take time to see significant changes, but sticking it out will be more rewarding than that first thing you bought after saving your own money.