How not to spoil your kids
Avoid raising spoilt children with these handy tips to live by
Who hasn’t heard someone say to them, “You’ll spoil those kids if you keep doing that”. But what really constitutes spoiling your children? Parents want to give their children everything they can, it’s natural and comes with the best of intentions, but when does it go too far?
Can you ‘spoil’ a baby?
Experts say it’s not possible to spoil your baby with your attention. Responding to their cries does not spoil them as they cry when they need something not because they are using their cries to manipulate you as they are simply not aware enough to do this.
What is spoilt? And are temper tantrums a sign of being spoilt?
As your child gets older it is possible to spoil them in various ways. One way is by giving them too much in the way of possessions, another is by not setting appropriate boundaries, and not expecting your child to do what's healthy.
Don’t mistake tantrums in 2-year-olds as a sign of a child being spoilt, as they are simply a part of normal development. They are not a sign you need to set limits for your toddler or that you should always give in.
How to avoid raising a spoilt child
These tips can help you avoid raising a spoilt child.
Only praise when it’s deserved
It’s important to praise your child when they have achieved something but it’s equally important not to over praise for everything as it can tell the child that they are brilliant at everything leading them to expect to be rewarded for everything, even if they weren’t the highest achiever. If they have not achieved so well in something, focus on telling them how pleased you are for how hard they worked rather than saying ‘you were brilliant at that’.
Listen but stay firm
Whatever your child wants to say to you whether you agree with what they’re saying or not, take the time to hear them out. It allows them to feel heard which will help them calm as they want to be listened to. Once they have finished, it’s your turn to have you say and it’s important to reinforce whatever limits you’ve set and ensure that your child accepts this and respects the rules. You can acknowledge they are upset about whatever it is but remind them the rule in this house is XXXX.
All children have to learn that they don’t always win, so don’t be afraid of letting them fail at something. It’s hard seeing your child disappointed, but you need to be there to help them manage that disappointment and carry on.
Only make rules you’re sure you will uphold
If you let your child repeatedly ignore boundaries you have put in place, it allows them to behave badly and teaches them they can ignore rules. Even if it is something quite small like taking their cup back to the kitchen, if you’ve explained to your child that’s a rule you expect them to follow, ignoring when they don’t do, sends the wrong message to them that they don’t really have to listen.
Signs that your child is spoilt
As they grow look out for these signs that may indicate your little one has been spoilt. They tend to show up at around the age of 5-6 years old.
If you have regular instances at home where you put a dinner in front of your child that you know they like and they point blank refuse to eat it and you find yourself out in the kitchen whipping up a second meal to try and get them to eat, this could be a sign they are on their way to being spoilt. If this happens only occasionally it may not be an issue.
While you shouldn’t consider a tantrum in a toddler as a sign of being spoilt, if similar tantrums continue to the age of 5 or 6, it may be a sign. By this age they have the ability to express how they feel about something so throwing a tantrum if they don’t like something is age-inappropriate and can show signs that they have learned that tantrums get them out of things they don’t want to do.
If your child won’t sleep unless you’re in the room with them, and refuse to be left with others when they get to the age of around 5 or 6, this could be a sign they have been spoilt with your constant attention. By this age they will be going to school so should be able to adapt to being with others that aren’t always you.