A spoiled and entitled kid is no fun to encounter. We’ve all seen them, either out in public, at a relative’s house or in the home of a friend or neighbor. So what exactly is spoiling and how do we avoid it?
A kid isn’t born spoiled. They are a product of their surroundings, their home life. Usually the parents are the culprits but sometimes it can be other family members such as grandparents. When a child is given anything and everything they want, a spoiled child is the result. Indulging a child’s every whim is not doing them any favors. First of all, kids need boundaries to feel secure and they absolutely need to be told no sometimes. It serves to teach them that the world doesn’t owe them anything. We get out of life what we put into it and that goes for children too.
There are parents who spoil their child so much they are overbearing, selfish and entitled. These are the kids who grow into adults who think the world owes them a living and whatever else they desire. When a child is given everything they want, regardless of the cost to the parent, they will believe that they are entitled to everything they want. This behavior will alienate people. Most of the time children like this only have friends because of their “things”. This results in a person who does not know how to have real, meaningful relationships.
Spoiling a child doesn’t always mean indulging with tangible items. Demanding children don’t just demand “stuff”, they demand actions too. Years ago my significant other and I were friends with another couple who had a young son. They would visit our home often in a social setting. When their son demanded to go home, they went. It made no difference if they were enjoying themselves and weren’t ready to go. When he said I want to go home, they left. In essence, they let the child dictate to them when their evening was over. The message sent to the child was that he was in control over his parents. This is unhealthy for the child and his development as a social person. One doesn’t always get their way and we must always be aware of others in a particular situation. By their actions they were teaching him that he could demand what he alone wanted, and receive it.
As a grandmother, I indulge my grandchildren often. The difference is, I’m not raising them. I’m not the one responsible for the end product. I even think that it’s a grandparent’s right to spoil their grandchildren (insert the eye roll of the parent here) as long as that grandparent isn’t responsible for rearing the child. As a parent, I cringed whenever my parents indulged my daughter, but I also knew, although their influence on her as a person was present, they were not responsible for teaching her how to be a good human. That was my job as her parent. That’s not to say that I won’t correct my grandchild’s behavior if they are out of line, but I give in to requests almost always. When my oldest grandson was young, and he was my only grandchild, I used to joke that if he asked me for the moon I would try to get it for him. I think I still would if I could. But conversely, if he acted out, I called him out on it. And I still would even though he is sixteen now.
Some parents just don’t realize that children need to be told no. It reinforces boundaries that kids need to feel safe and secure. Children who have no boundaries do not grow up to be adults that other adults like to interact with. They are socially awkward, overbearing, selfish and a sense of entitlement that pushes others away from getting too close to them. We want our kids to be accepted by their peers and to have healthy relationships. So, set some boundaries, draw lines in the sand and for goodness sake, tell them no sometimes.