Like most parents, you probably want to give your child as much as you can. But you run the risk of spoiling her – something you should try to avoid because nobody likes a brat.
Yet spoiling is hard to define. It’s not simply buying her more and more or letting her have everything she wants; every toddler manages to get what she wants from her parents sometimes.
It’s also not simply allowing her to do as she pleases; all children should be allowed to make their own decisions at times.
And it’s definitely not loving your child too much; you can never do that.
Spoiling is less about how much you give your child (whether presents, attention or freedom) and more about the way these are given and the reasons why.
One tot might have so many toys that she can’t close her bedroom cupboard and yet not be spoilt because she doesn’t always get what she asks for, while another can be spoilt because her parents allow her to do as she pleases all the time.
Look out for these 10 signs that your toddler might be spoilt:
1. You always give her whatever she asks for.
2. She throws a tantrum when she doesn’t get what she wants until you give in.
3. She doesn’t say “please” or “thank you” when given a new item.
4. She only thinks of herself and not about the needs of others.
5. When she doesn’t immediately get what she wants, her temper flares quickly.
6. If you say “no” to her, she behaves rudely towards you.
7. Getting new toys doesn’t seem to make her happy any more.
8. She doesn’t do what you tell her, even when your request is reasonable.
9. Other children don’t like playing with her because she won’t take turns or share.
10. People tell you that she behaves as though she’s the mum.
How to unspoil your spoilt child
Few parents deliberately set out to spoil their child. It usually creeps up without them noticing, until one day, a good friend or close relative is courageous enough to point it out.
Comments like “You let her get far too much for her own good” or – even worse – “Your child is a spoilt brat and it’s time you taught her how to behave properly” are bound to make you think again.
Here are five suggestions to help you break the pattern of spoiling:
1. Don’t buy her what she wants every time
Make sure there are occasions when she does not get her own way. You aren’t being cruel when you do this; you’re helping prepare her for the outside world.
2. Point out she already has plenty of toys.
She says “I want” very easily, and may start to ask just for the sake of it. Every time she does this, show her that she already has lots of similar items. That helps her focus on what she has, not on what she hasn’t.
3. Encourage her to think about other people.
A spoilt kid only sees the world from her perspective, so don’t hesitate to point out how awful her friend felt when she snatched the toy from his hand.
4. Have consistent and structured discipline at home.
Although you may find it easier to give in to your child all the time rather than to say “no” to her, she needs to have a clear set of rules to follow at home.
5. Don’t confuse spoiling with loving.
It’s an easy way for parents to say “yes” to their toddler because it avoids having to set limits, but that doesn’t mean you love her more.
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