13 ways to spoil your child
North County Times
So you had a hard childhood and now you want your own child to have everything and do everything you missed out on. Often, the pendulum swings and parents who had a strict upbringing feel the answer is to give their child as much freedom as possible. Research shows that this results in whiny, spoiled, even delinquent kids.
It can be enlightening to assess just how sloppy your parenting skills have become. Answer these telling questions with a "yes" or a "no."
1. Rather than telling the child he has done something wrong, do you use the silly term "inappropriate" or "unacceptable"? If you answered yes, boldly teach the difference between right and wrong by using these more understandable words such as good, bad, yes and no.
2. At the end of the day, do you pick up after your child ---- dishes, toys, books, clothes ---- since that's easier than asking her to do it? If yes, you are getting her accustomed to having an expensive personal servant when she becomes a young adult.
3. When a child expresses an interest in a toy or sport, do you quickly fulfill his desire to attain it or participate in it? If so, you are teaching him that the world owes him everything he wants without effort or anticipation on his part.
4. Have you abandoned family mealtimes in favor giving your child fast foods and snacks whenever she wants them? In doing so, you are depriving her of three things: good nutrition, learning to enjoy a variety of foods, and participation in family togetherness at mealtimes.
5. When your son makes a crude remark, uses profanity or sneaks sips of alcohol from you, do you excuse it as "growing up"? Be prepared that this kind of "cuteness" will encourage language and activities that will shame you later in life.
6. Do you treat the possessions at your house, your car and in the community as if they were as disposable as toilet paper? If you do, this will result in a messy, uncaring citizen who does not value anything but herself.
7. Is your son given an allowance that is so generous that he has no incentive to earn any money? Then be prepared to support him for his entire life, buying him a car, paying his credit card bills, giving him down payments ---- none of which he will appreciate.
8. Do you feel that giving a child a good understanding of ethics, morals and spirituality will stifle her creativity and warp her spontaneity? Doing that will reward you with a child who doesn't value herself, her body or her ability to function harmoniously with others.
9. When your son is reprimanded (by a teacher, activity leader, neighbor or law enforcement officer), do you immediately assume that they are picking on your child? This teaches lack of respect, the ability to politely defend oneself, and a warped sense of prejudice leading to the feeling that "everyone is against me."
10. If you and your spouse have an argument about something, do you then bad-mouth your spouse in front of your daughter, filling her with hatred? If so, you will turn her against marriage and the needful art of problem solving.
11. Do you permit your son to engage in every teen fad so he can be "one of the crowd"? Then prepare for a wardrobe that causes you embarrassment, problems with bad hygiene, and the child's inability to think for himself and be an individual.
12. Do you figure that sex and violence in television and movies will prepare your daughter for the "real world"? Wouldn't it be better to help her enjoy and create a better world?
13. Is it your opinion that "kids must be kids" and dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, minor shoplifting and graffiti are an inevitable part of "growing up"? Start teaching your child that one doesn't have to experience these activities to know that they are totally wrong, a waste of time, illegal and eventually costly.
If you said yes to 10-13 of these questions, your child is heading toward delinquency. If you said yes to 6-9, your child is spoiled. If you said yes to 2-5, you should assess your parenting while you still can. With just one yes, congratulate yourself!
Caryl Krueger is an Escondido child development specialist and the author of 15 books, including "Family Traditions." She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.