Before I became a mother, when I saw a spoiled child at the supermarket, pitching a fit over a candy bar, screaming and yelling until their parents gave in, much like a hostage negotiator, I always said “that will never be me.” Fast-forward a few years, and now here I am, dealing with my spoiled child.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my child, but one of the most embarrassing things in the world is a public tantrum. Not only is it embarrassing, but it is also very overstimulating, so before it is all said and done, I honestly am so tempted to just give in. If I am being honest, I did give in for a while, until someone made a statement that floored me. There I was, standing in Target, my child screaming to the top of their lungs and throwing themselves on the floor over a toy that was about $100 over my budget. From the other aisle, I heard, “Listen to that spoiled rotten brat!”
At first, I wanted to get defensive, but I had to be honest with myself and my kid was acting like a spoiled rotten brat. So, I enlisted the help of some experts and they helped me to get to the root of the problem fast. Here are a few tips I learned along the way.
1. Encourage autonomy.
A major part of the root of the problem when it comes to spoiled kids is when a parent begins to do everything their child asks. Some of these things that we do for our kids, they can do themselves. For example, if your child can dress themselves, put on their shoes, or make their snacks, make them.
2. Set & enforce boundaries, consistently.
It can be hard to say no to your child, especially when, at the moment, it seems easier to just give them what they want. However, I assure you, this is NOT the way to handle things. If you give into your child’s every wish, then that is your problem. What you must do now is set boundaries and have clear consequences in place for when they mess up. When they mess up, you have to implement the consequences. If you are inconsistent, your efforts will not help.
3. Stop justifying your decisions.
Amid our journey, my daughter was upset with me because she had to go to bed an hour earlier than normal. After all, we had a very early appointment. It had been a tough day, and I was at my wit’s end. I was honestly about to just give in and had told my husband, “It’s just easier to let her stay up. What will one hour hurt?” My husband very quickly reminded me of what our therapist and pediatrician had told me: to stop justifying bad choices to make things easier at the moment.
4. Resist peer pressure.
In another instance, my daughter had spent Saturday with me, and we went and had ice cream and pizza. It had been a great day, and we were invited to our friends later that day. My friend had baked cookies and I asked her not to mention them to my daughter, but my daughter overheard my friend. I gently said, “No, we’ve already had plenty of sweets today, no more.” And my friend said, “Oh come on, one won’t hurt!” It was hard to resist – but I did, and I assure you it helps.
5. Expect meltdowns.
There will be days that no matter how much effort you put in, your kid just won’t want to hear what you have to say. They will get frustrated with you and they will blow up. Remember that is okay and let it ride, and no matter what you do, do NOT give in.