February 6, 2013

How to Unspoil Kids

In my last blog post, I gave you a few ways to determine if you have a spoiled child. However, I didn’t give any tips for how to unspoil a spoiled child. If you have determined that your child is a tad bit spoiled, then it’s important to get it reversed as soon as possible. Right now, it may be inexpensive to spoil your little one as a small toy, ice cream or movie rentals may be all it takes to make her happy, but once she gets a little older she’ll start wanting expensive electronics, fancy dresses (and other clothing) and regular trips to the movies. So, how do you go about unspoiling a child?

1.      Look at yourself. Young children don’t become spoiled on their own. It takes adults to spoil a child. Therefore, the first step in unspoiling a child is to take an objective look at yourself and figure out how and why you’re spoiling the child. For instance, do you buy him things when you feel guilty? Is it because you don’t want to deal with a temper tantrum?

Next, figure out in what way are you spoiling your child. For example, do you buy toys? Take her places like the movies, amusement park, skating, etc.? Or do you have a tendency to do everything for her when she’s big enough to do it on her own? Once you figure out why and how you’re spoiling your child, you’ll be able to move on to the solution.

2.      Set clear expectations. The next thing you need to do is sit down with your child and tell him what your expectations are for his behavior. You need to stop the “If you promise to be good, I’ll buy you a toy” bargaining tactics. Instead, have a list of clear expectations, as well as, a list of the consequences for not meeting those expectations (aka “rules). Now, you can give your child an incentive for striving to meet your new expectations like renting a movie on Friday night if he has done a good job of following the rules (without complaining, whining or throwing a fit) throughout the week.

3.      Just say “No.  For some reason, many of us think that when we tell our children “no” that we have to give a good reason for telling them no. The reality is that we’re the parent, and that’s they only reason our kids need when we say “no.” So, don’t fall into the trap of explaining yourself every time you deny your child something. Eventually your child will understand that when you say no, it means no and there’s not going to be a 10 minute discussion/persuasion session over it. 

4.      Set up a chore/payment system. Finally, if you really want to unspoil your child then start teaching her the value of money. Have a list of weekly chores that she can do and at the end of the week pay her once all of the chores have been completed. This will teach your child that money doesn’t just “grow on trees” and that it has to be earned. It will also encourage her to appreciate her toys more when she uses her own money to buy them.