Now, better than ever, is the best time for us to be alive – we live longer today than ever in history, economic growth has allowed for most of the population to achieve at least ‘middle class’ status who can afford their own houses, cars and other items people would actually consider to be luxurious just a few decades ago. While we celebrate and count our blessings to be alive in these times, we must recognise that such quality improvements does come with it’s own challenges, like increased social issues, greater stress and mental health related illnesses and most commonly faced by our trainers in the I Am Gifted! school holiday programmes, spoilt children.
You will know if your children are spoilt!
Truth is we can deny all we want but there are tell tale signs if our children are spoilt. They tend to be rude to you and other adults, they refuse to share with others, they tend to behave in a bossy and selfish manner, they make ‘demands’ instead of asking politely and the list goes on.
We have met many parents that are clueless about how to deal with their children especially when they are already exhausted from work and probably still have a ton of house chores waiting for them at home. Others tend to blame the child’s grandparents for being the ones that spoil the child in the first place and things can get sour. When this happens, most parents find it easier to give in to the situation rather than spending time to discipline their kids. But be warned – spoiling your kids or allowing others to spoil them without taking action can have very troubling consequences.
Here are the 3 steps that working parents can adopt to regain control:
- Make a real commitment to stop spoiling your children
Step 1 is all about getting yourself ready, mentally and emotionally, to commit. You have to stay true to the cause. Once you realise that things are slowly but surely getting out of hand, it is time for you to take action. And when you do, make sure you are ready to stick through what it. In fact, spoiled kids can return and potentially become worse if you do not stay committed. You kids will sense it if you have any hesitation or show signs of giving up halfway. Once that happens, not only are you allowing your kids to gain control and continue to behave like they used to, you are also showing your kids that you are not serious about the change and they will become tougher to discipline in the future.
- Do what you say you will do
The idea here is to set consequences. In the I Am Gifted! school holiday programme, we believe and share with kids that very choice has a consequence – making good decisions usually lead to positive consequences while bad ones lead to nasty consequences. In this case, you have to set the consequences for their actions. If they behave inappropriately or as if they are entitled, your kids must be aware that they are consequences for doing so and make sure that you stick to what you say you will do. Oh yes, did we mention that you do not have to get angry or yell? In fact, we recommend that you stay firm while handling the episode and speak in your usual volume.
- You are the parent and it is your job to discipline your children
Time and time again we find ourselves in the position to remind parents that they are the parent and it is their job to discipline their kids. No one will discipline your child for you and if you wait till they grow up to do that, you will find that it gets tougher every day or worse, realise that your child is suffering from the consequences of your poor parenting choice one day!
One way to do this is to avoid going into details and explaining why you are giving out the consequence repetitively, especially if it is related to regular everyday required chores like getting them to clean up after themselves or abide to the regular pre-agreed bedtime. You want to say it once, check that your child understand what is expected of them and the relevant consequence and when it is time to execute the consequence, make sure you do it and do it because you know that this is going to benefit your child in the long run.
Remember it is never too late to start now. If you wait till your child grows older and become teenagers themselves, chances are they would have become prone to behaviors like excessive self-absorption and lack of self-control. While some parents like to tell themselves that their kids will eventually grow out of it, the truth is studies have shown that these kids if not disciplined appropriately at the right time, can grow up to experience severe anxiety and even depression. So the next time you find it challenging to get your child to go to bed on time, test out setting the consequence of no handphone for the next 24 hours. You might just be blown away by the results if you follow the 3 steps mentioned above.