Elizabeth Kolbert set the stage in her New Yorker article, “Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost?” She wrote, “With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world.”
Why You May be Spoiling Your Children
You can change unattractive patterns you may have inadvertently established. First, ask yourself if you grant unearned privileges or give your children too many things. Possible reasons why:
Parental patterns and attitudes may be the biggest contributor to their children’s value systems. If you feel your children are spoiled, it is time to re-evaluate what makes you happy and may be best for your children’s moral development by redefining your own priorities.
Think about your own spending. Do you have to have the latest electronic gadget? Do you shop in an Imelda Marcos-like fashion? Buy into the lastest fashion trends? In short, tame your own excesses. They might be having an unintended effect on your children’s values.
Changing Patterns for the Long Haul
Adopting new approaches and instilling different rules go a long way in tweaking and even deprogramming the spoiled child mindset. They may not be welcomed, but they will help a child distinguish between a “want” and a “need.” Chances are the changes will also temper the “I have to have it” syndrome. And, they just might thank you in the future. Established patterns that directly affect your children and may need altering include:
When Children Balk about the Changes
Remember, you are the parent. Parenting comes with the privilege of making and altering the rules. If the changes are because of financial pressures, explain that without frigthening your children. Reassure them that you will always keep them safe.
Stay calm and stand firm if, for example, a child or teen asks why you are changing “the rules” now. An effective reply is: “When you are a parent, you can make the rules.”
Copyright @ 2012 by Susan Newman
Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Spoiled Rotten: Why Do Kids Rule The Roost?" The New Yorker, 2 July 2012. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/07/02/120702crbo_books_kolbert