Is Your Child Spoiled Rotten?
Experts tell parents how to decode the spoiled child.
What Kids Need continued...
If there are extenuating circumstances -- such as an extended
vacation, divorce or a major crisis in the family -- it's even more vital to
enforce the rules. Structure helps children adapt to stress, says Kindlon.
Yet moms and dads also need to be sensitive to the needs of the
child. "Parents have a job of figuring out what is behind the pleading and
demanding," says Tanner, noting that kids' desires might be momentary --
such as if they saw something appealing on TV or in the toy store -- or the
child might be signaling a deeper need, such as time with a parent.
Unspoiling a Child
If parents find themselves always angry at their child, because
the kid doesn't answer to them, or if they feel their rules have become too
excessive in response to the child's bad behavior, then it may be time to make
changes, says Ross Black, MD, a spokesman for the American Academy of Family
Moms and dads who want to do something about spoiled children
need to do the basic things that need to be done to prevent spoiled kids in the
first place, including setting firm limits, being consistent, and providing
The process of unspoiling, however, may be a lot harder because
it would be like breaking a bad habit, says Black. He suggests having an
initial conversation with the spoiled child, laying down what is going to
happen to avoid confusion.
"You can approach it by saying, 'I don't like what has
happened with what we've been doing, so we need to change. I still love you as
my child, but when you do these kinds of things, I feel concerned and I would
like to change that,'" says Black.
The child may say she does not want to change, but parents need
to stand firm and say things will change, and to present options of how the
change could take place.
For more help with disciplining a child, Black suggests the
following resources: self-help books, courses that offer a special technique
called Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), pediatricians, and behavioral