Is My Kid Spoiled?
by Chris Grannis
The screaming child in the shopping cart grabs at the candy while his frazzled mother tries to unload the groceries at the checkout. Before she has the chance to react he rips off the wrapper and proceeds to cram the chocolate into his mouth. Does this sound all too familiar? Have you ever asked yourself the question, 'Is My Kid Spoiled?' Well, you are not alone. According to a recent study* 94% of parents believe that American children are spoiled. Deciding if your little angel is, in fact, a little devil is not rocket science. Thankfully, neither is the solution.
Asking yourself these simple questions will solve the mystery for you.
•On shopping trips, do your children always demand candy or a toy?
•Does your child throw a tantrum when asked to do a chore or task?
•Is bedtime a battleground?
If any or all of these scenarios is true in your family then, I'm afraid the answer is a resounding YES! Momma, you have one spoiled kid on your hands! That's the bad news. The good news is that changing this behavior does not require the use of a magic wand. To help them feel safe kids need rules and boundaries. And, because we love our children, we want them to feel safe, too. If you have asked yourself the question, 'Is My Kid Spoiled', and you've ticked at least one of the boxes now is the time to do something about it.
As the mother of the chocolate-guzzling terror what should I do? The fact that the candy is already unwrapped is not an excuse to let the child have his way. Mom should calmly take the bar away from him, tell him that she is going to pay for it, and then drop it in the trashcan. Believe me, this works! Yes, the kid will probably bawl for a few minutes but he will soon get over it. The added bonus is that the mother will have gained some respect from the store staff!
Whether tidy-up, homework, or bedtime, she refuses to do what I ask her. Well, yes, she is a bit of a princess but this is nothing a few routines won't fix. Give her five minutes notice that she will soon have to put her toys away. This will help her mind go from play mode to put-away mode. Likewise, with homework and bedtime, advanced warning helps kids shift gear and prepare for the next task. If she still refuses to do as she is asked then there is always time-out! Children should remain on the designated spot for one minute per year of their life. Three minutes for a three-year old really does seem like an eternity. If she tries to get away from the time-out spot just put her back on, without engaging in conversation, argument, or cajoling. She will be determined to get your attention, one way or the other, but you can be even more determined. Remember, this is a child you are dealing with! You are older, and bigger, and stronger, and you will win in the end. Be patient but firm.
Is bedtime a battle? A good bedtime routine will go a long way to helping your child settle down. A warm bath helps him to relax and is a good signal that it is almost time for sleep. A bedtime story is essential for many reasons. Story time is a great opportunity for parents to spend some one-on-one time with their child. It creates a feeling of love and intimacy between parent and child. It also stimulates an interest in reading, which is of paramount importance in the overall education of children. And, a story will help kids wind down and relax after their very busy, very active day.
Ignore excuses of hunger, thirst, or a sore tummy. If all is obviously well then it is important, just as with time-out, that you put him back to bed without engaging. Should you have to repeat the process ninety-nine times on the first couple of nights it will definitely pay off in the end. He will get the message and a good night's sleep, and you will have a restful evening of 'me' time. What more could a mom ask for at the end of a long day?
Parenting is the hardest job in the world, but it really is the most rewarding. With a bit of consistency and determination you can turn the time you spend with your children into the best part of your day.
* "94% of Parents Polled Say Today's Kids Are Spoiled, But 55% Say Their Own Kids Are Part of Problem:" Cookie Magazine/AOL Survey, 2007.
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