Does your child treat you poorly? Do you find you can’t say “no” to your child? Do you make idle threats? Are you afraid of displeasing your child?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you may be spoiling your child.
But don’t worry. It’s not too late to change your spoiling ways. Richard Bromfield, Ph.D., clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, has some concrete tips for you to unspoil your child fast. In his new book “How to Unspoil Your Child Fast: A Speedy, Complete Guide to Contented Children and Happy Parents”(Sourcebooks), Dr. Bromfield lays out a plan to raise self-reliant, appreciative children.
According to Dr. Bromfield, today’s parents are so concerned with pleasing their children that they forget to set the ground rules. “A child who perpetually pesters her parents is still searching for the limits she needs to grow straight,” writes Dr. Bromfield, who explains that a child who gets everything they want never learns to appreciate things.
Dr. Bromfield cites a 2007 survey by AOL and the now defunct Cookie magazine which found that 94% of parents say their children are spoiled, up from the 80% back in 1991 when Time and CNN conducted a similar poll.
I am not among the 94% of parents who think that my kids are spoiled, but I do feel that at times, I let them make too many decisions around our house. And I admit that I occasionally make idle threats and negotiate with them. Reading Dr. Bromfield’s book reminded me that kids actually do better with set rules and structure. Sometimes it’s okay to command your kids to do something simply because “I’m the parent and I said so.”
5 Ways to Unspoil Your Child Fast
1. Don’t reward whining and demanding behavior — it only serves to reinforce bad behavior. That means don’t buy them candy after they’ve been begging for it all afternoon.
2. Avoid idle threats — Don’t make a threat when you know you won’t be able to follow through with it.
3. Don’t bribe your kids – It weakens your authority and then they’ll expect to be bribed for everything (although there is a difference between bribing and rewarding for good behavior).
4. Don’t ask for permission from your child and don’t explain all of your decisions and rules. Also, don’t make deals or negotiate.
5. Take back the power. You are the parent. Set the rules and don’t back down from them.
The good news is that it’s probably not too late to unspoil your kids. And, as Dr. Bromfield writes, “Being an unspoiling parent is a lot of work. But it is a small price to pay for an unspoiled child.”
Do you consider your kids spoiled? Do you agree with Dr. Bromfield’s advice for how to unspoil them?