“The world is being run by irresponsible spoiled brats.” – P.J. Rourke
The sentiment by P J Rourke is being echoed by most modern-day parents who agree with the fact that today’s children are more spoilt than ever. And, this isn’t far from the truth, as most children nowadays believe in the notion that they are ‘special’ and, hence, deserving. They also exhibit a distinct lack of responsibility for their actions.
Needless to say, these are not the qualities any parent would want their child to grow up with. Yet, what is the reason that more and more children are behaving like spoilt brats?
To a large extent, the blame lies with the parents – the way they bring up their children. Here are some of the things that we parents do which transforms our children into spoilt brats.
- Overpraising: It’s common to see parents overpraising their child for even doing things like taking out the trash or keeping their room clean. While it is important to show appreciation, overpraising can backfire. Showering the child with compliments like ‘good job’ or ‘awesome’ for every small thing they do can make them feel overconfident at best and narcissistic at worst. It makes a child discount the contribution of others and think that success is solely a result of just his own effort. And, when it comes to responsibilities, overindulged children think that doing their duty is nothing short of doing a favour to others, for which they deserve to be thanked. Overpraising also undermines the value of true praise for sincere efforts.
- Overindulging: Parents working long hours are unable to spend much time with their children. This makes them feel guilty, especially mothers. As a result, busy parents try to make up by lavishing their children with extravagant gifts. Unfortunately, such overcompensation doesn’t do anything to make up for the lost time. On the contrary, it makes the child materialistic, greedy, and demanding. It also undermines the importance of quality time and proper bonding within the family.
- Setting bad examples: The quote, “Your child will follow your example, not your advice,” has withstood the test of time. Our children observe everything we do and learn from the examples we set for them. When parents indulge in doing things like overspending, leading an overly materialistic life, talking back to their elders, or treating the powerful with respect but disrespecting the weak, it sets a bad example for children to follow. Such children grow up to be insensitive individuals.
- Failing to implement consequences: Often, we threaten our children with dire consequences, but don’t follow-up with it. And, very soon, our children begin to realise that we’re not going to do any of those things we have threatened them with. However, life outside of home is not so forgiving. Children who do not face consequences for their actions end up becoming irresponsible adults, which makes it difficult for them to survive, adjust and succeed in the real world.
- Promoting self-centredness: Your child is the apple of your eye, but making that your parenting motto is a sure-fire way of spoiling your child. However, this phenomenon is on the rise, as most parents now opt for just one child and plan their lives around their child’s convenience. Children who aren’t used to being sidelined or ignored can suffer from behavioural problems such as having a bossy attitude, not willing to share, and feeling entitled.
- Being overfriendly: Most parents of earlier generations were strict and authoritarian, some to the point of being abusive. However, with time, the attitude of parents changed. Nowadays, parents share a close bond with their children and encourage open conversations. However, a few parents take things a little too far by becoming permissive and ‘overfriendly’ with their children. This approach is fraught with risks and may give rise to several issues such as children failing to respect elders or ignoring their authority, which can be difficult to correct later and lead to power struggles.
- Relaxing discipline: Do you allow your child to do as he pleases? For example, eat and sleep when he wants to or spend most of his time with gadgets. If so, this indicates that the only rule followed by your family is to please the whims and fancies of your child. Children who don’t follow the rules set by parents or are given the freedom to do whatever they want to, lack discipline and the ability to adjust to a regimen. They also lack self-control, which prevents them from achieving success in life.
As parents, we shoulder a huge responsibility to ensure that we raise our children to become compassionate, successful and well-balanced individuals. Educator and parenting expert Amy Chua said, “Kids raised to be pampered and spoiled don't really end up being good leaders.” Taken with P J Rourke’s quote at the beginning of this article, it is obvious that the way we treat our children today determines what they would grow up into tomorrow.
Pratibha Pal is an avid blogger and writes regularly on her eco-parenting blog, www.pratsmusings.com, and her blog on social media, www.socialmediawired.com/blog
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