How to ‘spoil’ your child, according to parenting experts

A spoiled brat is one who thinks and acts as if the world revolves around him. They’re used to getting what they want, when they want it – and if they don’t, they’ll throw a tantrum until they do. They show little or no appreciation for what they have and expect others to take care of them, often without providing anything in return.

Some parenting experts don’t like to use the word “spoiled” to describe a child because it implies that they are somehow “ruined.” Some prefer the word “entitled”, emphasizing the labeling of negative behavior, not the character of the child.

According to the parenting coach Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, examples of permitted behaviors might include “expecting things to be done for them, like chores, or given unnecessarily, like getting candy for trying a bite broccoli or get paid to do your homework.”

“Kids who qualify can also believe that they are the center of the universe and that the rules don’t apply to them,” McCready said. “They usually get what they want and don’t show gratitude.”

All children will have “off” days when they act out from time to time. So “it’s important to distinguish whether your child is just having a rough day or exhibiting ‘spoiled’ behaviors” consistently, said McCready, who wrote the book ‘The ‘Me, Me, Me’ Epidemic. : A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable and Grateful Children in an Over-Allowed World.

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It is possible to “de-spoil” a child who is entitled to it, but only if the parents are willing to examine their own behavior and habits.

Parenting coach Traci Baxley, author of “Social Justice Parenting,” told HuffPost that in her work, she focuses less on child behavior and more on parenting habits and approach. Caregivers rarely set out to raise a spoiled brat, but they may end up pleasing their children anyway for a number of reasons.

“Parents show up using the limited tools they were taught, or try to overcompensate for the lack in their own childhood,” Baxley said. “Parents are human first, with lived experiences and possible past traumas that manifest as fear, protection, and misguided but well-meaning love.”

One quick thing to clear up: Spoiling a child has nothing to do with “loving too much,” said Aliza Pressman, co-founder of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center and host of the “Raising Good Humans” podcast.

“There’s never a limit to the love you have and show the kids,” she said. “It doesn’t contribute to that sense of entitlement.”

But if your way of showing love to your child is to “take care of all their wants and needs without teaching them that there are limits, and that they can do and work for themselves”, then your children are more likely to qualify, McCready said. .

No child is born “spoiled” — it’s learned behavior, Baxley said. So the good news is that we can help our children lose their rights by changing our parenting approaches and helping them to change their behavior in turn. Here’s how to “de-spoil” a child, according to experts.

Reflect on yourself.

Take the time to think about why you make some of the parenting decisions you make.

Ask yourself, “Why do I have to overbuy for my child?” Why do I find it too hard to say no? How do I feel after buying something or saying yes when I really meant no? Baxley said.

“See what bubbles up for you,” she said. “See if you can connect anything from the past to your current parenting practices and commit to small, intentional steps to make changes.”

Be aware that this kind of reflection can be difficult for some parents, as it can bring back painful memories from their own childhood.

“Know that this process can include getting professional support, great patience, and grace along the way,” Baxley said.

Promote autonomy.

“That means not doing for your child what they can already do on their own, guiding and encouraging them to do what they can almost do, and teaching and modeling things they are not. still ready to do,” Pressman said.

Examples might include things like getting dressed, putting on shoes, or making a snack.

Set and enforce limits consistently.

You may hate setting limits or saying “no” to your child because it’s exhausting or painful to watch them fall apart. But kids want and need consistent boundaries, Baxley said. Nonetheless, they will push back – “and push back hard if they’re not used to their parent’s limits,” she said.

“During their breakdowns or lack of emotional regulation, acknowledge the feelings instead of rewarding the tantrum or negative behavior,” she said.

How do you do that? Say something like: “I see you’re disappointed you couldn’t buy that toy today” or “I know you’re angry about not being allowed to have a sleepover with your friends,” Baxley suggested. “It demonstrates that you have empathy and compassion for them in this situation, but you are imposing limits.”

Give them responsibilities at home.

When your child is used to you meeting their needs, it’s not easy to get them to meet your new expectations to do more at home. It may be helpful to use what McCready calls “when-then routines”.

“You can use a when-then routine for anything from housework – ‘When the dog is walked, then you can see your friend’ – at bedtime – ‘When your teeth are brushed and you’re in pajamas, then we can read your book. But remember, the lights go out at 8 p.m.,” she said. “Please note that the ‘thens are regularly occurring events and activities, not rewards!”

Give up rewards for daily tasks.

Rewarding your kids with money, treats or toys to motivate them to do their homework or brush their teeth can work in the moment – “but in real life, prizes for basic chores are rare or non-existent,” McCready said.

“TThat’s why it’s important to nurture long-term motivation – the ability to work hard and achieve – and the rewards that come from that effort alone,” she said.

Don’t save your child when he makes mistakes or suffers setbacks.

Parents tend to want to rush, fix things and save the day, often unnecessarily. It’s OK – good, even – to allow children to fail and suffer the consequences of their actions.

“If a child didn’t get the role in the game or wasn’t chosen for the football team, support them in their difficult feelings, but don’t offer to talk to the coach and change the situation,” Pressman said. “If they forget their homework, allow them the discomfort of admitting it rather than asking you to explain it to the teacher. It helps children grow up knowing what it is to be disappointed and to seek emotional support and move on.

Expect your child to be angry with you and accept it.

It’s inevitable: your child will sometimes get angry or disappointed with you. They might even say that they don’t like you or that they don’t need you. But being a parent isn’t about being popular or appreciated all the time, Baxley said.

“Don’t let their behavior and words determine your family’s values ​​and boundaries,” she said. “As part of a child’s development, from toddler to adolescent, he tests the power of using his voice. They are caught between two ways of being: being independent and caring for themselves and the need to be loved and nurtured by their parents.

You can give your child a space to express their feelings and frustrations without give in to them all the time.

“Listen carefully and with love,” Baxley said. “We want them to know that their voice and their opinions matter. Stay consistent with your established values, so they know your family’s benchmarks and learn to be accountable for their words and actions.

Reinforce values ​​such as community and teamwork.

Children who are entitled to it may find it difficult to think about the needs of others. Getting them to contribute to the household by helping with household chores, or involving them in volunteer work in the community, can help reinforce this.

“When we participate in acts of kindness, we experience a sense of joy,” Baxley said. “Whenever our children have the opportunity to do for others, we develop these habits of kindness. Over time, these habits will become the learned behaviors we desire for our children.

Help them be more considerate of others, shifting their focus from “me, me, me” to “us, us, us.”

“Look for those everyday moments to do it,” school psychologist Michele Borba previously told HuffPost. “Like, ‘Let’s ask Alice what she’d like to do,’ ‘How do you think dad is feeling?’ “Ask your friend what he would like to play” or “Let’s go volunteer at the soup kitchen”.

Refrain from shaming them.

Shaming your child for their legitimate behavior will not be productive for them Where for you.

“Shame doesn’t help kids stay intact,” Pressman said. “Avoid saying, ‘de·········ee dee dent dent dentment, unshehhedehede conted unconditional unconditional condition unconditional) you are spoiled.


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