Ten tips on how to unspoil your child.
NEARLY 95% of parents feel like they are overindulging their children, but feel powerless to stop themselves. Harvard Medical School psychologist Richard Bromfield arms you with 10 quick tips for taking back control.
Commit to unspoil. The surer your lead is, the quicker your children will follow. They will see through tepid and weak gestures to unspoil. Unspoiling can go quickly, but requires fortitude.
State your case clearly. Tell your children what you expect in no uncertain terms, and follow through. Speak in specifics, as teachers do in the classroom.
Create a bribe-free home. Bribes work in the moment, but parents (and children) pay a high price for bribery in the long run. You may have to pay for every ounce of cooperation in the future.
Avoid deal-making. Negotiations have their place, especially in the courtroom, car dealership, and so on. Show your child firsthand that not every aspect of life and its demands is a deal to be fought and wrangled till midnight.
Be the boss. I don’t mean a cruel, tyrannical Marine-boot-camp-officer kind of boss. I mean a boss who understands and is comfortable with the leadership and authoritative role of a parent. “Because I say so” would not be an especially good mantra for all of parenting and home life, but it sure has its place at times.
Buy less for the kids. Obvious, but as true as it can be difficult. For one week, tally how much you spend on the children, including toys, books, school supplies, clothing, snacks, treats, sports equipment, entertainment, learning enrichment, music lessons, and so forth. You may be surprised at what your spreadsheet reveals.
Buy less for yourself, too. Some parents roll their eyes at their children’s indulgence, even as they – the parents – spend much of their days buying, shopping, and lamenting that they do not have bigger homes, better cars, and such. Your children notice if you are forever browsing the Internet for things. Children adore their parents and look to them as their ultimate role models.
Reward effort, not product. The self-esteem movement was a bust. Children do not gain self-confidence by shallow flattery and trophies for doing little. True competence comes through learning real skills and lessons that teach the child that he or she can handle things and life.
Invest time in your children. Seek experiences and activities that, rather than cost money, involve time: bikeriding, hiking, gardening, building a birdhouse, helping do projects around the home or for others, and so forth. Maybe spend less time at the mall and more in the woods or at the park.
Take pride in the new you. Your children are obliged to protest and throw wrenches in your unspoiling efforts. But you know better than to surrender to their easy tears and earth-shaking tantrums. Your parenting will grow more as you wish it to be, and will give your children a different kind of gift that will last a lifetime. – McClatchy-Tribune News Service