Children, while still in their formative years, need to be taught to respect boundaries and limitations. It is part of training them to become responsible adults. A spoiled brat or a spoiled child, by informal definition, is a child who does not know what those boundaries and limitations are. Often, a spoiled brat is a product of parents who give in to their child’s desires all the time or almost all the time. The spoiled child is often receiving more than what she or he needs and is almost always given whatever he or she wants. A spoiled child develops a manipulative habit that the child can carry with him or her on to adulthood, and it can negatively affect every relationship that the child forms with others during adulthood. Spoiled children can be reformed and saved from becoming adult brats. This article describes some tips and suggestions on how to reform a spoiled child.
- Fess up. As a parent, you have a choice here: lose some face and reform your child, or go on spoiling your child. Being a good parent does not necessarily mean always giving everything to your children. Provide for all of their needs, but keep your foot on the brakes when it comes to wants. Needs are necessary. Wants are optional. Many parents, out of good nature and often out of ignorance, forget to distinguish the two. If you have been giving in to your children’s every need and whim, now is the time to admit to yourself that you have been in error. Then, let your children know that you made a mistake in letting them have their way all of the time. This can be done in a heart-to-heart conversation. Be gentle but firm. Explain that you are going to implement some changes and that such changes are for the children’s benefit in the long run.
- Set up clear rules. First rule is to be clear about your own rules. If your rules are ambiguous, your children might become confused. Be clear and specific in setting the boundaries and limitations. Enforce the rules. Some occasions will require you to bend the rules a little, but you will need to explain to your children why such occasions allow the rules to be bent.
- Reward good behavior. Be lavish with verbal praise each time your child follows the rules. You can also give material incentives and treats for special circumstances.
- Resist the tantrums. This implies that you should mean no (and stick to no) each time you say no to your child. Through temper tantrums, a child can learn to manipulate others to his or her advantage.
- Teach your child to share and to help. Encourage your child to give a helping hand to others. You can do this by letting your child assist in house chores and by giving your child opportunities to share with others. The most important message your child needs to know is that your child is not a black hole that sucks everything into it; your child is also capable of giving.
Reforming a spoiled child takes time and a lot of patience. But, with your firm commitment to reform your spoiled child, you should be able to succeed.