How to avoid spoiling a child
The word ‘spoilt’ is an emotive word with negative connotations. When it is used to describe children, it refers to those whose parents do not discriminate between their requests and will grant them everything they ask for.
Parents who indulge their children too much do so for a variety of reasons. They may feel guilty because they do not spend enough time with them, or worry that the child may feel left out if he does not have the same things as his peers.
The child may have been ill and so is seen as being extra special and vulnerable, or may be the youngest of a large family and the parents are aware that this is their last child.
However, the effect of overindulging children is generally the same. Children who grow up believing they can have everything on demand and do not need to respect others as a result can have problems in a number of areas.
The ability to form and maintain friendships is vital to the emotional wellbeing of children and adults. Children who have not learned to engage in the give and take of friendships will find forming relationships tricky.
They may try to dominate games and impose their own rules. They will often seem immature in social settings and will find it difficult to solve the usual problems experienced in friendships without the continual input of their parents.
This may work when they are small, but as they get older other children may begin to avoid them.
This is the tragedy of being indulged — parents will do it with the best intentions, but in the long run they are moulding a child who will run into many problems with his/her friendships, which is one of the key ingredients to emotional wellbeing.
It is important to raise children to be assertive and questioning, but also to know their limits. There is a positive trend to empower children to make their own decisions and speak out for themselves, but this does not mean they do not need to respect others in their family. If a child verbally abuses his parents it could be the child has not been checked early on. As he grows older and more capable of insulting and belittling, his parents feel powerless to remedy the situation.
The difficulty for spoilt children is that they are never satisfied. These children grow up with unrealistic expectations of what they should get from the world and, as adults, they may find little satisfaction in their life.
Food may become a big issue for children whose parents find it difficult to say no. Many children have a sweet tooth and it is important that parents say no to too many sweets and fizzy drinks, etc, or the child may run into problems with weight and obesity.
Parents who find it difficult to say no to their children will find it particularly difficult to effectively teach their child the rules of society. The child will run into problems in the outside world because he is constantly misbehaving and parents may also find him more difficult to manage as he gets older.
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