Are your kids spoiled? I want to outline here the 7 things you must know about spoiling children because much of this vital information seems to have flown under the radar of many parents. It appears that most parents are vaguely aware of the risks of overindulging their kids. Estimates from various research projects put the figure from 60% to 75%!
1. A new generation is born
Elizabeth Kolbert, the well known anthropologist, caused quite a stir when she claimed that spoiled children went through a period of ‘adultescence’ as they entered adult life. There are tons of projects which show that spoiled children are subject to bouts of anxiety, depression and will have many problems in maintaining friendships and relationships. In other words, the effects of spoiling are long lasting and often difficult to eradicate. Simply put, spoiled children are deprived of the chance of learning basic life skills.
2. 15% of teens are aware that they are spoiled
It was Ruth Peters who put the situation quite bluntly in her book ‘Laying Down the Law’ when she said that spoiling children lays the foundation stones for heartache and unhappiness in later life. Spoiled teenagers are even aware that they are overindulged although only 15% of them would admit it. We can safely assume this is just the tip of the iceberg.
3. Why the things you must know about spoiling children are often hidden
Parenting myths abound and that is why the real facts and risks of overindulgence lie hidden. Many parents are convinced that if they actually hold the child when they cry and need comfort, this is the road to spoiling them! Nothing could be further from the truth because all the parent has to do is to make sure that the child is held affectionately much more often in calmer and happier moments. Similar things occur when positive behavior is ignored and bad behavior is hyped up.
4. Top ten US cities for spoiling kids
Guess in which city parents spend 90% more than the national average on their kids? New York comes out on top. The other cities/areas in descending order are:
- Miami FL
- Tulsa OK
- Dallas TX
- Los Angeles CA
- San Diego
- Fort Worth
Actually the cities at the end of the list are spending only a small percentage more than the national average. (survey reported in Bundle.com). We can play with statistics all we want but the point here is that the risk of cultivating consumerism instead of encouraging social solidarity. How many times do we remind our kids about which toys to donate to children’s charity organizations instead of just throwing them in the trash?
5. Overprotecting our kids
The problem here is that many parents are convinced that they have to do almost everything to help their kids because they are too young to do these things themselves. The fact is that the child has to learn how to gradually cope with all the daily tasks and if he is cosseted, then we are really not helping him/her to develop at all.
6. Are you a strict disciplinarian?
Many parents believe that strict discipline is the answer to not spoiling kids. But harsh measures and punishments can sow the seeds of power struggles and resentment. But if family rules and limits are clearly defined and carried out in a loving atmosphere, then children will thrive.
7. Recognize the child’s wants and desires
How many times have we told a child that we cannot buy him the latest gadget or toy? We may do this because we are convinced that this is the road to spoiling our kids or there may be financial reasons. Usually we just say no, so the child’s request is rejected outright. But if we actually acknowledge that we might be able to buy it for Christmas or a special occasion, then we have built a bridge. We have opened up other scenarios and avoided rejection and possible resentment.
There is no guarantee that our children will not end up spoiled. But if we bear the above facts in mind, this could certainly help in raising happier and more responsible offspring.
Robert Locke MBE is a health enthusiast specializing in children’s health and has written extensively on ADHD, parenting, mental health, anxiety and depression. You can discover more about the things you must know about spoiling children by visiting the Problem Kids Blog.