“Spoiled! Not my kid!” Right?
Or would you admit that your child is just a tad bit spoiled? All the polls say that most Americans feel kids today are more spoiled than ever. A TIME/CNN poll found that two out of three parents feel their kids are spoiled.
A poll by the New American Dream showed 70 percent of parents believe kids are too focused on buying things.
I have to say I agree with the polls.
(Parenting expert Michele Borba tells TODAY's Natalie Morales what parents can do to end those temper tantrums. Watch the video.)
Of course we love our kids and want the best for them. We don't want to see them unhappy for a single second. But indulging their every little whim doesn't do our kids any favors. In fact, there are a few dangers to overindulging kids:
They won't win popularity contests.
Forget the birthday party invitations. Spoiled kids are not pleasant to be around. Other children don't like them because they're too bossy and selfish. Adults don't like them because they're often rude and demanding.
They have reduced perseverance.
Because everything comes a bit easier, a spoiled child has a tougher time handling the downsides of life. They're used to getting their way ASAP so they not only may have reduced perseverance when it comes to schoolwork, but also a tougher time handling adversity.
They have lower self-esteem.
New research shows that always getting what you want leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, more psychosomatic complaints, and worse relationships with parents.You're in danger of getting an always-unsatisfied kid who always wants more.
They may lack character.
Watch out. Spoiled kids often measure their worth based on what they have instead of who they are.
The truth is there is no gene for spoiled. We have ourselves to blame for this one -- it's clearly a learned behavior. But how do you know if your kid is spoiled? Here is my four-word test...
The Borba Four-Word Test of a Spoiled Kid
There are four words that typically describe spoiled children. How is your child doing?
She can't handle the word. He expects to get what he wants and usually does. Take my Toy store test: Your child is walking down the toy aisle and wants a toy he doesn't need. You say "no". Can your kid handle "no" -- or does he beg, nag or have a tantrum to get his way?
She is self-centered and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks more of herself than about others. She feels entitled and expects special favors and generally succeeds in getting them. He watches TV. You do the housework. She doesn't like the dinner. You cook another meal just for her. He wants an extension on his homework assignment that he never got around to doing and expects the teacher to give it to him.
He is more into getting than receiving, because he has so much and he just wants more. She's generally unappreciative and a bit greedy. You can't think of what to give her for the holidays because she already has everything. He requests things only by brand name. She bases her character on what she owns and wears instead of who she is. Do you feel more like an ATM machine than a parent?
He just can't wait and wants things ASAP. It's just plain easier to give in to this child than to postpone his request. She interrupts when you're on the phone and expects you to stop. And you do. She whines to get the cookie "now" -- and can't wait until after dinner.
Any of those words fit your child's typical behavior?
Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled?
If so, it's time for a serious makeover.
Next time, I'll give you tips for turning a spoiled kid around. But first, what are your best tips and advice? I'd love to hear from you.
How do you deal with a spoiled child? People on the street share their thoughts.
Dr. Michele Borba is the author of Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me: The Top 25 Friendship Problems and How to Solve Them.