When I was pregnant with my first son my husband and I were struggling financially. One of my fears at the time, as silly as it may sound, was that my son would not have any toys to play with.
Fast forward five years and two containers full of toys, there was obviously nothing to be worried about. However, to this day, I still constantly worry about my child not having enough or being unhappy and, I can admit, I do spoil my son (sometimes).
But how much is too much? At what point does the occasional spoiling turn into a bad habit that could lead to the creation of a “spoiled brat” in your home. Here are five signs that, maybe, you need to make some changes.
1. They ignore you and don’t follow rules
Kids, in general, are not the best listeners in the world, but if your children constantly ignore you or disobey you, then you may have a problem.
Children who ignore their parents’ instructions or rules, in most cases, do so because they know that there will be no consequences for their actions.
In most cases, you, fed up with the lack of respect, may yell a bit and probably just end up giving a lecture on the importance of listening and following the rules. This is usually followed by an empty threat about what will happen the next time they don’t listen.
But children, apart from being masters at tuning out things that they don’t want to hear, such as quarrelling parents and boring lectures, are also brilliant at noticing patterns of empty threats.
To leave an impact on your kids, follow through on your threats. If you tell them that every time they disobey you they won’t be allowed to use their tablet for however long, then do it. No matter how much you think you need that digital babysitter for your moments of escape, your child needs the discipline more.
2. They throw tantrums when they don’t get their way
Toddlers are known for throwing tantrums. Even the Duchess of Cambridge has had to deal publicly with Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s Royal baby meltdowns. This is normal, annoying, but normal.
However, if your 7 or 8-year-old starts reverting to his or her 2-year-old self simply because you told him to turn off the television and go to bed, that’s a problem.
Kids will naturally get upset or disappointed if they don’t get their way, that is just human nature. But to have a full blown, screaming, stomping, crying tantrum when they don’t like what is being told to them is a sign that their behaviour needs to be put in check.
If your children do behave like this, it is most likely because they firmly believe, in their adorably naive minds, that they should have what they want, when they want it, at all times and throwing a tantrum probably worked in their favour in the past.
3. They don’t appreciate what they have and always want more
Now, I have to admit that this is where I see some signs of spoiling in my own son.
As I mentioned before, he has a lot of toys, and although he does take good care of his toys, he is always asking for more.
Even though this is normal to some extent (I mean we can’t expect children to go into a toy store and not lose their minds), it should still send some warning signals if your children tend to get bored with their toys quickly and are never satisfied with what they have.
4. They don’t do chores or are not helpful
Nobody likes chores, even I hate ironing. But when your child does not feel the need to help around the house, it is probably because he is under the impression that he does not have to help around the house.
My son is 5, soon to be 6, and his regular chores are taking out the garbage and cleaning up his toys. In between, he may even ask to help wash the dishes and sweep the floor. He knows that helping around the house is something that he, like all of us, has to do and that mummy and daddy don’t exist purely to fulfil his every desire.
5. They are demanding
Does it ever seem as though your children are the ones in charge in your home? They talk to you in a very authoritative manner and interrupt your conversations so that they could be heard at all times.
This is a sign that the child does not recognize or acknowledge the different levels of authority between children and adults and expects his demands to be met at all times.
Children only behave this way if they are allowed to and we as parents need to stop being afraid to discipline our kids. Not setting boundaries and allowing our children to have control over us creates a path for our children to suffer when they are adults and have to survive in the real world, away from mummy and daddy.
Below is a video from Kristina Kuzmic which pretty much sums up the need to discipline our kids.