In Part I, “Spoiled Kids Now – Unhappy Adults Later” we reviewed the hidden cost of spoiling our kids and the toll it takes on a child’s self-worth and emotional development.
Dr. Harvey Karp,MD, creator of The Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD and book says that the overall pattern is more important than any given moment. “Do it right 80% of the time and you will end up with a really good kid.”
So search your heart about the following Do’s and Don’ts of parenting today.
DON’T make your child the center of the world. Making your child’s wishes a top priority teaches your child that the world owes him. This could prevent your child from learning to consider other people’s needs and wants.
DO Ask yourself these questions: “Am I doing this to meet my own need to be the perfect parent?” Or “Am I attempting to be in control of my child’s happiness?”
DO Help young children understand give and take.
DON’T ignore your child’s positive behavior. Parents may not notice when children behave well. If we don’t let them know when we are pleased, we miss an opportunity to motivate them to behave positively.
DO Catch them being good. Whether it is a toddler or a teen, point out accomplishments describing what you see without giving it a value or praise. “I noticed that you stacked your blocks.” “I noticed you are home on time, thank you.” This will reinforce positive behaviors.
DON’T accidentally reward bad behavior. If we notice our kids when they whine and cry, we send them the message that tantrums and tears are the best way to get our attention. Worse yet, when we give in, it proves this will get them what they want, which is not how life works.
DO Teach your children to take NO for an answer.
DO Practice saying: “You have had enough for now.” Whether it is food, video games, TV, playtime, shopping etc., Explain that you understand that they are disappointed or upset, however, tears, tantrums or disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.
DON’T fail to put clear limits on your child’s behavior. If we don’t set and enforce guidelines for good behavior, we are likely to raise a child who is rude, uncooperative, and disrespectful.
DO Teach your kids how to take responsibility for their behavior, and guide them on how to fix problems they create.
DO Teach your kids to make good choices just because it’s the right thing to do.
DON’T neglect home rules. While some parents fail to set rules, others set “wishy-washy” rules. If we don’t enforce a few good rules regularly we give our kids the message that the rules don’t matter.
DO Write out clear rules and decide consequences for breaking the rules. Consequences can range from losing privileges to taking a belonging for a time.
DO Explain why it is a special situation if you decide to bend a rule every now and then.
DON’T let your kids ignore taking responsibility for bad behavior. Refusing to make our kids responsible when they do or say something wrong sends the message that they are never wrong. This teaches our kids to blame others whenever problems arise.
DO Teach them respect for people and property. Insist that your kids figure out how they will make amends or replace something they broke or damaged purposely, or accidentally.
DON’T act like a spoiled child yourself. How we act in our marriage and in our family has an influence on our kids. If we nag and complain they learn from our behavior. If we gossip or go on facebook and rant – our kids learn to bully or be fearful of those who do.
DO Show respect and consideration toward your spouse, your family and others and your kids are likely to follow your lead.
DON’T swoop in and do things for kids that they are able to do themselves. When we do, our kids can feel inadequate, insecure or develop a pattern of learned helplessness.
DO Allow your child to struggle. If your child is going through a tough time, be careful, it may not be necessary for you to run in and rescue. It is very important that kids learn at a young age how to cope with stressful situations.
DO Show them the pros and cons in making decisions. Teach them to make decisions that are age-appropriate.
DON’T ignore chores. Teach your kids to do chores and expect they be done the right way in a timely manner.
DO Have your children help you create a rewards chart or an agreement for rewards or privileges for chores done properly. This will help kids develop responsible patterns in sports, school, college and careers in their future.
DON’T think that it is ever too late to start over. Examine the things you need to stop doing, do better and start doing for your kids to finish well.
DO “Tell your child the truth as Psychologist Ruth Peters, PhD., author of the child discipline manual, Laying Down the Law, suggests. Say, “I have blown it as a parent and explain why there will be some changes.” Less nagging and more action are better.
We want to believe we did our best to prepare our kids as we send them out in the world as adults. You parents with young children still have time.
Experts say that three of the most important gifts parents can give their kids growing up are to help them understand:
The self-confidence they acquire when they understand how to manage their own emotions and happiness.
The satisfaction they get when they are able to give to others and contribute
in the community.
The independence they gain when they learn to earn what they want.
In closing, We do our best, God does the rest.
Resources: Sherry Rauh, David J. Bredehoft, Ph.D., Harvey Karp, MD, Ruth A. Peters, Ph.D.