Growing up is tough. One day a kid's being woken up by mom for school and the next they're packing the car for college; where did the time go! As an adult watching a younger person growing up, a parent can already see all the obstacles they'll have to overcome. It all starts when they're infants learning to crawl. Parents want to make sure their little one is on target for their age range and is on the track to success. Once waking is (literally) a walk in the park, next comes everything in between. Truth be told, it's hard for a parent to "back off" and allow their child to live their own life after they've been teaching them so many things since their first day of life.
Independence needs to be found, though. Having a parent handle all the ups and downs in a child's life leaves the child unknowing of how to handle difficult situations.
Are they handling their poor grade with their teacher, or is mommy sending off demanding emails? Are they cleaning their room on a Saturday morning, or is mom doing it for them because they don't trust their child will ever get to it? Doing one thing for our child usually leads to doing five other things, and while we feel like we're just doing our motherly duties, we may actually be creating a monster. And no one wants to say the words out loud that their child is spoiled — no one feels pride in that sentence. But maybe they don't have to. If a parent is doing any of these 20 things, they may just be creating the spoiled child they told themselves they'd never have.
Little kids get in arguments from time to time. It may have started with sharing in the first grade, but once you reach middle or high school, arguments can intensify. The last thing a parent should do, however, is get involved. Fighting their arguments for them is not only embarrassing, but it's proving your child can't stand up for themselves.
I'll never forget when I was in high school, I was in an argument with a boyfriend and my mom took my phone to put in her two cents... I was mortified, to say the least, and it's extremely awkward for the other party.
It's enticing to want to be your child's best friend. There's something peaceful knowing that no matter what happens in life, you're always going to have your "mini-me" next to you. And while this is semi romanticized, it's not necessarily realistic. You may want to be your child's best friend, but they might not want to be yours. And if you are the small percent who is best friends with your kid, that's spoiling them in a way that can't be fixed. No matter what problems find your child, they're not going to take them seriously because they know mommy is going to take care of the situation and make it all better. They're also less likely to get upset when things go awry because their best friend is their mom — what could go wrong?
This may upset a few parents out there, but your happiness is just as important as your child's. If both you and your child have a free day to spend together, it doesn't need to be all about what they want. You're entitled to doing something you want to do, as well.
When you're running on low, constantly giving, giving, and giving, you have nothing else to give at the end of the day. You're tired, worn out. Likewise, your child will also feel entitled. No matter how their mom is feeling, they know that she'll do whatever they want or need. After so many years of giving, when mom does eventually say "no," who knows how the child's going to react.
Whenever my mom feels like having a "proud mom" moment, she brings up the fact that she wouldn't let us quit things so easily. There would be days where I wanted to quit basketball, but she knew how much I liked my teammates or enjoyed going to practice after a hard day at school. She knew that one bad day doesn't mean I actually meant I wanted to leave the team. Sticking to something and really giving it your all shows tenacity and bravery. If there comes a time where you gave it your all and it's not what it used to be, then quitting can be reevaluated.
Manners are there for a reason; people enjoying others who are well-mannered. How frustrating is it when the person in front of you doesn't hold open the door? Or when you sneeze and no one around you says "bless you!"? It's frustrating. It can feel like everyone is out for themselves. What's worse is when a child is ill-mannered and a parent excuses their rudeness simply because they're a "child." When, in fact, being a child is the perfect age to learn manners! This is when children actually listen and try to be like mom and dad.
If parents ignore their child's poor manners, that will continue for life and may make it hard on them (and those around them).
I don't want to be the one to tell you this, but your child isn't always right. They're going to hope their right or say things confidently to fit in with the conversation, but that doesn't mean that it's going to work. If you're teaching your child numbers, and they give you the wrong answer, telling them they're correct is only hindering them. Not to mention making them feel confident in an area of study where they definitely should not be confident in. Telling them they're "right" all the time can create an ego and false encouragement. Be real with your kids and let them know where they need to work hard in.
When your toddler falls on the ground, do you run over and help them up? If you send your child to bed for misbehaving, do you run into their room and give up as soon as they start crying? Well, tending to your child's every cry is definitely a form of spoiling. There will come a time where you simply can't run to their room every time they cry, and they're gonna have to learn how to accept that. They're going to have to learn how to self-soothe themselves.
When they eventually get older, it's not like they can call mom and cry every time something goes wrong.
Buying a car is something that many parents do for their teens, and yes, it's very admirable. It's a luxury that not many parents can afford, so if they're able to, buying their teen a car is very 'cool parent' status. It's not to say that buying your kid a car will make them spoiled, but allowing them to get whatever car they want, not being grateful for the privilege, in general, can make them spoiled. At that age, a teen should be grateful for any car they're able to drive. If they're kicking and crying over a car that was bought specifically for them... that's one spoiled, ungrateful teen.
When I was in middle school, all I wanted to do was fit in. I didn't really have any style, but I knew what brands were trending. Every Christmas, I would beg my parents for all the trendy brands that the other kids were wearing, but instead, they would buy me a knock-off version. I never understood why they would do this! I specifically told them what I wanted and they got me a cheaper version? Why? Well, as an adult, I can laugh at my younger self because I clearly didn't understand the value of money. My mom and dad tried their best to make all of us happy with what they had, and I should have appreciated that more.
Let's be real, unless you grew up eating leafy greens and vegetables from an early age, you're not going to choose broccoli over pizza. Kids are always going to want the junk foods. They're easy, fun, and tasty — what's not to like! However, most of these foods don't have any nutritional value. Kids need to eat their fruits and vegetables to gain nutrients for their growing bodies. It's been documented by professionals time and time again that kids need these foods to grow strong. Just because a kid kicks and screams that they want cake over dinner doesn't mean they should be given what they're yearning after. Parents have the ultimate say — not the other way around.
There's a difference between supporting and overpraising your child. Although a parent wants to do their parenting duties and cheer their kid on, no matter what, deep down they know when their child doesn't need the praise. Telling them they're the best ones on the field (after getting last place) and that the judges have no idea what they're looking at is overpraising. Telling them they're the best student in the school after coming home with an 'F' on their test is overpraising. It's a fine line, but a parent needs to be realistic. Cheering them on for doing so little doesn't really add up; it creates a false sense of reality for them.
Parents enjoy being in power. What they say goes. They can either make their child's life extremely easy or incredibly difficult; all the child needs to do is follow the rules. Now, what a parent considers a threat is different for everyone. Regardless of what it is though, they need to follow through. If you constantly tell them "If you don't clean up your Legos, I'm going to throw them out" and never throw them out, that's an empty threat. There will come a time where they don't take you seriously (because you've never thrown their Legos) and will continue to leave them out. Just how we test the waters in different situations, kids are constantly testing us. If you're going to make a subtle threat, follow through with it.
Kids need consistency in their life; stability. Having an inconsistent home life can making things like homework or after-school activities difficult. The kids aren't sure who they can trust or what to expect when they go home. As the Sleeping Should be Easy blog says “You see, it’s unfair to expect your child to know what to do when you’ve been inconsistent. He gets confused when his responsibilities aren’t clear, or if you don’t always follow through with consequences.” Creating a routine and sticking with it is imperative in creating self-sufficient children. This can also help a child learn to trust more and become comfortable in their surroundings.
I'm not saying bribery doesn't work, because it absolutely does. If you want your teen to clean up their room, telling them they'll get $10 for doing so will make them pop out of bed quicker than a cartoon character. However, like the Sleeping Should be Easy blog explains "bribes are short-term." She says "As bribes become the norm, your child will begin to expect better rewards before agreeing to do the task. Motivation wanes with each time you need to convince her to agree to the bribe." In the long-term, this can also make your kid seek for external rewards instead of internal.
Having an emergency credit card as a teen or young adult is extremely popular. It's a way for mom and dad to ease their minds when their teen is out doing their own thing. In case they need a ride somewhere or there's an emergency situation, they have mom and dad's bank account as a backup. If they're using the emergency card for frivolous things like clothes or coffee, that's when mom and dad need to step in and take control.
A great way to help your young adult with their credit card is teaching them about credit, too. Maybe learning how it all works will make them think twice before swiping.
Trust is important in any relationship. Sure, your kids were born trusting you but do you trust them? There are a few parents who blindly trust their child's words more than anyone else's. They need to look at the bigger picture, though.
If a teacher explains they saw this particular student looking off another student's test or plagiarizing a paper, a parent needs to take that information with a grain of salt and handle the situation wisely at home. Completely ignoring what the teacher had told them and never discussing it with their child is a sure fire way to have your kid feel like they can do and say anything.
No one wants to be stressed or go through hard times. We all want to live in a bubble where nothing bad happens to us. That's not real life, though. Life is filled with ups and downs, and it's a parent's duty to teach their child how to deal with it.
It's understandable when a parent only wants their child to be around positive, uplifting things, but that's not always the case. They may feel like they're shielding their teen from harm, but what they're really doing is secluding them from reality. Knowing both the good and bad things going on in the world can help a child learn their purpose in life.
I know a few families who already knew what their child was going to be when they "grew up" solely because it was their dream — not their child's dream. Similarly, if a child sees how much their parents want them to be a doctor, they're going to try their hardest to be a doctor. But it's not what they wanted — it's what their parents wanted. This, in turn, can create a resentful child who's only going about their future for the sake of their parent's happiness. It's great having all this support when choosing a field of study, but as a parent, choosing their future for them doesn't allow much time for independence and reflection.
Being competitive is natural. At the end of the day, we all want to be winners, right? As kids, we're usually shoved into activities to see which fits; what we're most attracted to. But when dear old mom and dad make their competitive nature their entire life, that's when it can become a problem. A child is no longer horseback riding because they like it, they're doing it because they feel like they need to "outdo" other people they know. Even when parents are leaving $100 bills under the pillow from the Tooth Fairy! This can make a kid feel like they're better than everyone else when they hear other kids their age get a dollar from the Tooth Fairy.
A child absolutely deserves a voice in the family. Mom and dad have the ultimate say, but a child can feel acknowledged when their parents ask for their opinion. A child can become spoiled, however, when they have too much of a say in the house. They dictate what the family is eating for dinner, where they're vacationing, and what TV shows they're watching. Instead of raising a mini-dictator, giving your child pre-approved healthy choices is a good way to go. Sleeping Should be Easy says "Giving your child choices is healthy, so long as the options are parent-approved and child-appropriate. You can ask him to choose between two sweaters to wear, but not to have the final say in clothes he wears."