Spoilt Brats Anonymous

When we think of spoilt kids many of us have visions of kids like Suri Cruise in her designer outfit clutching an iPad. But if you had the money, wouldn’t you too dress your child in head to toe expensive brands? And if so, wouldn’t this then also make your child spoilt, or is there more to it than looking good and harbouring the latest gadgets? Even the wealthiest of children who can want for nothing can grow up to be loving, caring, sharing, patient and dare we say unspoilt people, and all the while, having received the best of the best.

This brings us to the question. What makes a spoilt child and how do you know if you have one? The definition of spoilt in the dictionary is vague, so it is left up to us to decide what constitutes being spoilt, and how someone gets there. What we do know is that our job as parents is to create responsible, respectful adults that will positively contribute to the community, and by spoiling our kids, we water this down and increase their chance of being depressed unhappy adults.

Spoiling to me means excessive, and while most people would agree, I believe it’s not about the amount of materialistic items the child has, but rather the accepted excessive behaviour by parents of their children. Think about the behaviour of the typical two year old. The toddler displays many of the traits that a spoilt child consistently does. Tantrums, aggression, self-centered actions, defiance and general non-compliance. Got a ten year old displaying these traits often, then there is a good chance you are spoiling them. So how did we end up with this spoilt child? The big offender here is the absence of the no. Some children don’t tend to receive too many no responses from their parents, having been taught their boundaries well by mum and dad. These kids are able to self assess with relative accuracy, knowing what the response is more than likely to be before they even ask.

It’s hard to say no. We want our kids to like us, and many are making the mistake of trying to become their child’s friend by saying yes even at a cost to others and without a doubt the child. When we avoid the no at all cost, we send kids the message that life is easy with everything being obtainable, when of course this is not the case especially in the adult world we are preparing them for.

It’s easy to convince ourselves we are doing the right thing by avoiding no, often excusing our decision with reasons such as tiredness, lack of time or simply having an off day. While we all have these, it’s the frequency of these episodes that will produce the spoilt child.

To avoid this happening, a good place to start is not to be afraid of how our children will react to our no’s. Do not be frightened of yelling or crying. Children need to learn to cope with the no and we can certainly assist them by standing firm when we say it, explaining our reasons why, and all the while remaining calm and ignoring tantrum like behaviour. This will decrease the more practise the child gets with the coping of a no. A child who learns to accept no, learns that the world does not revolve around them, giving them a much greater chance for a happier adult life.

So to conclude. Just because Suri Cruise has designer clothes, toys galore and possibly even her own mobile, doesn’t mean she is spoilt. Stuff does not make a spoilt child, and unless you knew Suri Cruise and knew what her behaviour was like, then how can we state that she is spoilt? Shame on the media for that.

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