There’s a thin line between showering your children with love and spoiling them. This message from Shridhar Maheshwari, will help parents put things in perspective. No parent wants to raise entitled children but is it possible that we are doing this unconsciously by pampering them? Below are 6 ways to avoid raising entitled children.
Some parents make the mistake of pampering their children. They think they are loving the child but they end up spoiling them. And if you are one of those parents, either you are already facing some trouble because of it Or the trouble is coming.
What kind of trouble?
You have probably made your child’s life so comfortable that they now fight with you the moment you ask them to do something difficult or something they disagree with. You have given them so many privileges or luxuries that they can’t adjust in tougher conditions outside the home.
You have perhaps been saying YES to all their demands and now they can’t accept a NO. They get angry and throw tantrums every time you refuse to fulfil their wish. You have maybe given them so much that they don’t even value any of it. In short, they are spoilt.
Why do parents do it?
There could be many reasons; You want them to have the life YOU never had; You don’t have time to spend with them and thus you just shower them with toys, gifts and luxuries; Maybe this is how you actually show your love. You don’t know any better way, Or you possibly think your child will HATE you if you say no to them, and you want your child to love you at least more than they love your spouse?
Whatever the reason you might have for pampering your child, my recommendation to yo is very simple. DON’T DO It! But of course it’s not that simple, the problem is complex. You as a parent have a certain level of wealth and resources. What will you do with it if you’re not gonna let your children enjoy them? And where is the line? How much SHOULD you give? How much is too much? How much is too little? There is obviously no measurable or one-size-fits-all answer for this.
As the cliche goes “It depends”. But I’m going to give you a framework to think about this problem.
Here’s how to avoid raising entitled children
1. First, try to predict and answer this question, “When this child becomes an adult, will they be able to sustain the current level of privileges or not?”.
The answer to this question will change every so often. Someday your child will seem very responsible and talented, some days, it will feel like they are incompetent. But you must keep those questions in mind. Will your child be able to afford the rent of the big house they’re living in? Are they capable enough to buy them so casually? If not, how will the future look like? How long will you keep giving these privileges? Ultimately, you will have to cut them off. You will have to make them independent, right? So why not start a little earlier? Why not start today?
2. You must, from the beginning, create a balance of responsibility vs. privileges in the house.
Responsibilities in childhood mostly include school work and house chores. Some other responsibilities could be to remain healthy, maintain decorum in the house, even being respectful to parents etc. You need to make privileges somewhat conditional on these responsibilities. Essentially, give them a taste of adult life. Which is, if you don’t work, you don’t get a car.
3. Ask yourself another question, are you giving them resources for their growth or for their pleasure?
If you’re spending money on your child’s music classes, sports classes, books, it’s very different from spending money on their toys, gadgets, clothes, birthday parties etc. Basically, is your child using what you’re spending on them to just have more fun or to try out a new skill or become better at something? The problem would begin when you start spending excessively or their fun without proportionately spending on their talents and growth. So make sure you’re investing proportionately in their joys and talents.
4. Are you making them grateful towards what you’re giving them?
“Ooh! I’ll give them everything and then in future, the children will love me…” Truth is, it won’t happen like that. They will most likely take everything for granted. More often than not, you’ll just find them complaining about the things they didn’t get. So, it’s your job to make them realize the value of what you’re giving them. It’s your job to make them thankful for it. It’s your job to tell them that millions and billions of people probably don’t have the same privileges. They must realize the value of everything you’re giving them for free.
Why spend so much money and time on them only to be hated later? You give them everything and they grow up resenting you and not talking to you? What’s the point of buying excessive gifts? Gratitude must be taught to them explicitly. And the first step there will be to show gratitude to your own parents consistently. [ READ: The Attitude of Gratitude – Benefits of Gratitude you Didn’t Know About]
5. You must make your child experience NO from time to time.
They must learn to deal with it. Of course, don’t do it arbitrarily, Say no, only when you have good reasons to say no. But do say it when needed. The main thing here is to learn to not be afraid of the child’s anger or tantrums. In fact, if they show tantrums or anger, then you’ll have to become even more strict in saying no.
Your goal is to make sure that they accept your NO, with respect. And your objective is to teach them that the anger and tantrums will never turn a NO into a YES. If you get scared and say YES to avoid fighting with them, you’re only making them stronger. This is basic operant conditioning. By letting their anger win, you’re reinforcing their bad behaviour. In fact, if they show bad behaviour, you need to not only stand your ground and stay firm, but you can even go on to cut additional privileges, Say no to something else as well, just as a lesson to them. As a parent, you must strive to have the authority to say no and still be respected.
6. Finally, follow the cliche because it is very true. Your time is the best gift.
Children need your time, your love, your care. That’s really the biggest gift. Pamper them with your time whenever you can. Not with things, if you really want them to love you all your life, give them good memories with you, not just stuff that anyone can buy for them.
In conclusion, “don’t pamper your child too much“. That’s it