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Stopping the Spoiling Syndrome
At the beginning of this workshop, you tested yourself to determine how indulgent a parent you really are. Let's revisit this idea by taking some time to explore whether your child is spoiled and how you may be contributing to the behavior. Here's a simple checklist to help you get started:
How many of the following scenarios are true for you?
• Your child frequently whines (children who whine a lot usually have found that it is a useful strategy for getting what they want)
• You find yourself doing work around the house while your child is watching TV
• You can't think of a present for her birthday because she already has so much
• When your child complains about the food that you just served for dinner, you make something else
• You give your child an allowance without asking her to do any chores in return
• You jump in to help with homework at the first sign of trouble
• You grant your child's every wish without skipping a beat
Now ask yourself these questions:
• Do you know other children whom you consider spoiled?
• Do you recognize their behavior in your own children?
• Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled? If yes, why?
As difficult a task as it is to find fault in your child and in yourself, identifying whether your child is indeed spoiled and the situations where you may be supporting this behavior is a necessary step toward ending the cycle. Once you recognize these areas, you can begin to change your own behavior, which will ultimately affect your child's actions and attitude. For example, if your child is a picky eater - a common problem among parents - do not automatically offer to prepare alternative meals. Instead, attempt to get her interested in trying new foods by letting her help you plan the meals. If that doesn't work, offer to make something else only after your child has tasted what the rest of the family is eating. If your child is old enough, she can make her own simple substitutions, like a peanut butter sandwich, but nothing that is going to require more mess for you to clean up.
When creating kids of character, much of it comes down to how we act as parents every day. By completing this Spoil-Proof Your Child workshop, you have taken an important step in helping to change your child's behavior by developing an awareness of your own motivations - why you act the way you do with your kids. With an increased understanding of yourself, and consistent T.L.C. (time, limits and caring) for your children, you now have the tools to raise kids with character: that unshakable sense of self that sees us through life's vicissitudes and is the foundation of all meaningful relationships.