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10 Ways to Unspoil Your Child

Jan 15 2014 - 7:48am

No parent sets out to intentionally spoil their child, but inevitably it happens. Frequently overindulged tots can turn a temper tantrum here and there into significant behavioral issues as they get older. If you could identify with several of the signs of a spoiled child [1], it's time to take control of the situation and start unspoiling your little one. Here are 10 tips to get you started.

Make a List

Start by writing a list of all of the times your child has exhibited bratty behavior in the past week. Look for patterns that can be tied to a certain time of day or specific locations to help you figure out how to prevent them from happening again.

Acknowledge Why You Spoil

Perhaps you feel guilty that you can't be there all the time. Maybe it's related to something you couldn't have as a child. Or maybe you are just too tired to argue about it with your wee one. Whatever the case may be, figure out why you spoil your child, and look for alternative ways to compensate.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Rather than threatening to take away privileges or even a treasured toy, follow through on your threat, and remove the item from your little one's grasp. Doing so will show them that you mean business.

Don't Give In to Peer Pressure

Just because your tot's friends have the newest toy or the latest shoes doesn't mean your child needs them right now. Save buying these items for when you want to reward her for good behavior.

You Can't Always Get What You Want

The Rolling Stones said it best, but the phrase holds true for children too. Tots need to learn that it's OK not to get what you want when you want it. Teaching them that people have to work to get what they want is a lesson that will last them a lifetime.

Get On the Same Page

Make sure everyone who interacts with your little one, including doting grandparents and babysitters, are aware of your efforts to unspoil him. Tell them your plans and ask them to comply while you test out your new efforts.

Consistency Is Key

When the rules of the game change from day to day, it's hard for a child to understand what is expected of them. Be consistent with what you expect from your tot and how you plan to get it.

Don't Settle

After a drawn-out argument, it's common to settle with your child just to move on from the situation. Unfortunately, this teaches your little one that they can try to negotiate their way out of a situation. Stick to your guns, and don't compromise with them.

Don't Justify Your Reasoning

There is no need to explain why you are asking your child to do something. When we spend excessive amounts of time rationalizing our decisions, children can sense our own doubts.

Don't Negotiate

You are the authority figure in the parent/child relationship and should not have to negotiate to have your tot complete routine tasks. Explain to your child that going forward, she will have one chance to do what she is asked, and if she doesn't comply, there will be consequences.


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