Most parents do not intend to spoil their children. Rather, this happens gradually: you give in to whining, allow certain tasks to skip, or buy too many toys and snacks. However, there are some ways to teach your child how to be grateful for what he has and how to behave well and strive for the things he really wants. To achieve this, you must fight to uproot old habits, be the adult person and teach principles of gratitude and responsibility.
Part 1 of 3: Uproot Old Habits
Step 1. Identify the consensual behavior
Does your child usually have tantrums or say mean things to get what he wants? Does he harass you and ask you for something even after you have said no? Do you act as if you expect everything to go according to your will without having to do anything to earn it? Does he say please or thank you when ordering or receiving something from you? These are all symptoms of consent.
Step 2. Ask yourself how you may be contributing to your child's spoiled behavior
There are many factors that you must take into account, such as:
- Are you afraid to say no to your child? Why? What happens when you do it?
- Do you usually give in to requests that you know you shouldn't accept?
- Do you have a rule, directive, or punishment for these cases and then back down when your child reacts negatively?
- Do you buy your child gifts that he does not need often? Do you do this excessively? Has your child got used to this pattern?
- If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may have contributed to your child's spoiled behavior. Your child has learned that you don't like saying no, that you are inconsistent with rules and regulations, and that you don't need to do anything special or even behave well to get what he wants.
Step 3. Break the cycle of saying "yes" when you should say "no."
It's simple, but this is a very difficult habit to uproot, and sometimes it is easier to give in to demands and avoid a tantrum. However, with this behavior, your child learns that it is he, and not the adults, who has the power to make decisions.
- When you start saying "no", prepare for a big reaction. This is usual. However, if you give in to pleading, tantrums, or whining, the reaction will get worse and worse.
- Once children begin to hear "no," they will gradually get used to this answer. It is a fact of life that one cannot have everything and you must teach that to your child or else he will go out into the world and face him will be much more difficult.
Avoid giving long explanations to say no. Remember that you are in charge. There is nothing wrong with a short answer, but do not start long discussions or you will give the impression that you are trying to convince your child instead of communicating what the decision is.
- For example, there is no way to convince a young child that they cannot eat ice cream for dinner, so you should avoid doing so.
- Indeed, children will respect what you say more if you have good reasons for your decisions and if you do not change your mind.
Step 4. You must be in harmony with your child
This can be difficult for working parents, but knowing babysitting routines and rules can be important in stopping spoiling a child. If you and your child have built a relationship lacking in good interpersonal connection, healthy boundaries, and appropriate roles, it's time to address these issues.
- If you have hired a babysitter who does not enforce the rules while taking care of your child, this is an issue you should address with her. What you ask of him (and possibly you are paying for it) is to take care of your son and, essentially, to be an authority figure while you work. This requires effort on your part, and you don't want to entrust your child to someone who is lazy and has no rules.
- Even when you and your child are at home, do you know what he does while he's in his room? Are you going to see him occasionally to find out? Does your child have his own television and video games and start watching shows or playing games without asking for permission? If this is the case, you should place the television and video games in a family room.
- Does your child leave the house to play with the neighbors without asking for permission? If this is the case, you should stop this behavior immediately, as it shows that your child has no respect for you and does not see you as an authority figure. In addition, it can be dangerous for him. A parent must know where their child is physically all the time.
Step 5. Start negotiating wisely
Every time your child asks for something, ask him to do something for you first. If he wants to play with a neighbor or play video games, instead of saying "go ahead," ask him to clean his room first or to help you wash the dishes or take out the trash.
Step 6. Make family time a priority
One of the main reasons a child becomes spoiled is because parents feel guilty about not spending as much time with their child as they should. Between your work and your child's activities (soccer, dancing, etc.) and the social life of each of the family members, it can be difficult to do simple things like having dinner together as a family.
You should spend time with your children, whether it's sharing a lunch or just relaxing and talking. Also, your children should spend time with the extended family (grandparents, uncles and cousins). Don't forget that work, extracurricular activities, and friends can come and go, but family relationships last a lifetime
Part 2 of 3: Being the adult
Step 1. Set the limits
Introduce your child or children to the guidelines for family life: rules, expectations, tasks, etc.
Make it clear where these rules come from. You are the adult and you help others to improve. Also, the rules help everyone know what is okay and what is not. Explain that children do not have to agree to the rules, but are expected to follow them
Step 2. Set clear and simple expectations
It also includes instructions on when and how. Remember that your child must know exactly what is expected of him. For example, "Every time you change, I want you to put your dirty clothes in the basket and not on the floor" and "I want you to put your toy away when you are done playing with it, before you start playing with something else." Don't forget to be as specific as possible.
Step 3. Be consistent
Once you have established the rules, see that they are followed. If you don't, your child will simply learn that he can challenge you, ignore you, or negotiate with you.
- Don't question yourself. If you said "Just one cookie" and then you start to think it would be okay to give him another, keep your first position. Even if eating two cookies isn't a big deal, kids might think they can challenge you in everything.
- When a rule is violated, show the consequences without getting into unnecessary arguments. For example, if your child does not clean his room even if you have asked him and even if you have given him a warning, he simply applies the punishment.
Step 4. Avoid empty threats
Do not threaten your child with punishment that you cannot or will not be able to carry out. Sooner or later, your child will challenge you to comply with your threats and believe that you will not follow through and that there will be no consequences.
If you are not sure what the appropriate consequence is for a certain behavior, say that you need time to think about it. Remember that consequences must be given in accordance with the misbehavior. For example, if your child forgets to complete his homework, but spends a lot of time on his iPad, take it off until you see an improvement when it comes to homework
Step 5. Don't give in to whining, complaining, pleading, or any other bad behavior
Once you've said "no" to something or given a punishment as a result of a particular behavior, don't back down. Stay calm, even if your child makes a scene. If you never give in, your child will learn that these tactics no longer work.
In public, this strategy can be embarrassing and stressful. However, it is still better than giving in to bad behavior. If necessary, leave the scene and deal with your child at home, but don't back down from your decision
Step 6. Involve other authority figures
Make sure you and your spouse or partner are on the same page and let grandparents, babysitters, and others involved in caring for children know what you are doing. It's best if these people don't undermine your efforts by giving in to extreme whining, justifying bad behavior, or showering your child with gifts.
Part 3 of 3: Teach Gratitude and Responsibility
Step 1. Teach your child to say words that show good manners
"Please" and "thank you" should have been taught early in your child's vocabulary development. If this is not the case, it is never too late to start. A simple way to teach a child to use these words is to use them yourself.
- Say, "Clean your room, please" instead of saying, "Clean your room right now!"
- When your child receives something, encourage him to say thank you with a phrase like: "Now, what do you say?"
- Ask your spouse for help. If you prepared dinner, have your spouse say: "Thank you for preparing this meal, it is very good … What do you guys think about dinner, kids?"
Step 2. Set rules for the whole family
When children are very young, it is natural to fix their disasters. However, as soon as possible, start teaching them the principle of self-reliance and emphasize the fact that each member of the family must contribute to the success of the home.
You can start by teaching your child to pick up his toys after playing with them. Add additional expectations as your child grows
Step 3. Be a good example
Expecting your child to work hard won't work if you don't, too. Make sure your child sees you working and knows that you often run chores and errands even though you would rather do other things instead.
Be polite in public. Say "please" and "thank you" to store and restaurant employees when you buy things or order a meal. Say "I'm sorry" if you bump into someone by accident or if you must interrupt a conversation to get someone's attention
Step 4. Complete the assignments together
Large tasks, such as cleaning a room or washing dishes after a meal, can be overwhelming for children, so they should work together, at least initially. Doing so will allow you to teach your child how to perform tasks properly. It will also allow you to feel more comfortable and capable.
Step 5. Follow a homework schedule
You will be more successful in getting everyone to complete their tasks if you follow a schedule. A child is less likely to complain if he realizes that, for example, he is always expected to clean his room on Sundays.
Also, teach her that homework comes before fun. If he has a responsibility to fulfill that day, but Jake, the neighbor across the street, called to hang out with him and play ball, have your child complete homework first and then let him go outside to play
Step 6. Teach him to cultivate patience
Children often struggle to learn to cultivate it, but they will be more successful if they learn that they must wait or strive for rewards. Explain to your child that they can't have what they want right away or all of the time.
- Involving your child in planning something desirable, such as a trip, can be helpful. Explain that they must save a certain amount of money first. It also emphasizes how much more enjoyable the trip will be because they waited and made plans.
- Let your child see that you don't get everything you want right away. If you go shopping and see jeans that you like, but don't think you should buy them, say, “Maybe I'll just wait until they are on sale. I have others that still look good. "
Step 7. Emphasize non-material rewards
Regardless of whether you have money to buy things, it is better not to buy your child everything he wants. In particular, try not to reward good behavior solely with material things. Instead, reward your child with time to spend together doing something fun.
Give encouragement instead of gifts. If your son plays a great soccer game, tell him how proud you are and how excited the coach was, rather than buying him a gift. If your child brings home a great report card, tell him that you are extremely proud, give him a hug, and offer to take him to see a movie or take a bike ride with you in the park, instead of buying him something
Step 8. Teach your child to work for certain things
If your child is particularly interested in acquiring something material that he does not need, use this opportunity to teach him the value of money. Help him earn money doing his homework and save it. For more expensive things, you can ask your child to earn and save a certain percentage of the price and tell him that you will pay the rest when possible.
Step 9. Ignore complaints related to what other children have and do
When your child says “but the other children have…” or “but my friends don't have to…”, tell your child that they must follow the rules of their family. Emphasize the fact that you are doing what you think is best and that he should be grateful for what he has, as some children have less than that.
Step 10. Don't apologize for setting limits or saying no
If you can't buy your child something because you don't have enough money, there's no need to apologize. You just have to tell him the truth: “I'd like to buy it for you, but I can't. Maybe it's possible on a special occasion, like your birthday. " You can also mention that he could save to buy what he wants for himself.
- Don't apologize for applying the designated punishment for bad behavior. Consequences are a part of life and your child must learn that he cannot act as he pleases all the time. Learning to obey the house rules now will help you obey the rules at work and obey the laws as an adult.
- Save your apologies for when you've done something wrong (for example, if you lost your temper and feel bad about it). Saying "no" is not wrong; it's part of being a parent.
Step 11. Count your blessings together
Even if your family is not spiritual or religious, there is nothing wrong with saying out loud the things they are grateful for. Children often talk about their toys at first, but encourage them to also talk about having each other, their pets, their health, their home, and their food.
Volunteer to help those less fortunate. Find ways to do this at a local animal shelter, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen. Alternatively, you can make a list of products and organize a donation for other people to bring the necessary things for people (or animals) in need. This will make your children feel good about giving help and will also make them feel more grateful for the things they have
- Understand that stopping a child is a gradual process. It takes time to stop and it will take time to teach him new values and better behavior.
- Most children have natural urges to show compassion and help others. Cultivate these urges by emphasizing how good it feels to make others feel good.
- Ask for help. You may need support, even if it's just advice, from other more experienced parents. Talk to your own parents, your spouse, parenting support groups, family therapists, or social workers, or else find a parenting education class that gives you more tips on how to be a better parent.
- A great way to teach values is lead by example. For example, if you don't want them to swear, just don't use it in front of them.
- Don't let the situation get out of control. In this case, it is already said that the child is spoiled.