05 March 2011

Parenting Magazine: How To Unspoil Your Kids

RafaelImage by Chris JL via Flickr


From Denny: Need help with your No Manners Munchkin or Bedtime Beast? Parenting Magazine's Ana Connery and psychiatrist Gail Saltz are here to share tips to help your parenting formula be more successful.

They are sharing tips on how to effectively unspoil a child and raise a grateful person with realistic expectations and the ability to deal well with the disappointments in life.

The pivotal issue is the pendulum swing of giving your child too much or giving in to them too much. Everyone loves their children and it is easy to get caught up in wanting to give them everything and make their lives easier than perhaps it was when you were growing up. Unfortunately, we can end up creating a difficult person no one else will like, hire or marry.

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz says there are several areas that need to be taught in parenting for the child to make their way into adulthood as a balanced and happy adult. Without teaching these tips to your child they can learn to behave as if they are entitled to everything and responsible for nothing:

* Teach about Life disappointments
* Help your child learn frustration tolerance
* Teach your child about delayed gratification
* Teach your child about how to learn to work hard for something they want. Don't give in to them for the short term. They must learn a long term work ethic. They will learn a lot about themselves on their journey of self-discovery.
* Teach your child how to deal with loss, whether it is over a toy, the death of a pet or the death of a loved one
* Remember: you are your child's most immediate and constant example. Are you living up to what you teach them? Are you modeling the behavior you expect from them?

Here are some useful tips to help create a child that will grow up to be a happy adult, equipped with the ability to handle anything Life throws at them.

Store meltdowns with a five year old: Most parents have encountered this and it sure is embarrassing. The pressure is on to stop the behavior quickly in public so the parent often gives in. Unfortunately, what giving in teaches your child is a positive reinforcement of bad behavior.

Stick it out and refuse to give in. If you do give in you send your child the message to do more of the bad behavior. When kids figure out it works they will do more. Shut it down now before it gets out of control.

Trust that most people passing by you in the mall are parents and have experienced the same when raising their children. Know they are quietly wanting you to succeed as a parent.

When you hold the line you show your child a negative reinforcement to their wrong behavior or attitude. Eventually, your child figures out they can't push your buttons to do what they want and the bad behavior disappears over time.

Can you unspoil them? The answer is yes. Working with them when they are younger is easier than dealing with a teenager. You can "unring the bell" with teenagers though it is a more difficult process.

Unspoiling a teenager is more difficult because you have lost a lot of parental control over the years. In essence, you have given over your authority to the child to do with what he or she will.

The Mall Brat: When they demand the latest toy or technology, don't give in to them. That is responding to bad behavior and zero respect for you as the parent.

With teenagers who have had the run of the house - and you - for years, the most effective way to start the process of unspoiling them is to sit them down for a heartfelt talk from you. Tell them you have made parenting mistakes and it's time to chart a new course and revamp the system. Tell them you honestly love them and want the best in life for them. You want them to be a happy adult able to take on any life challenges with ease.

With an older child you may require the help of a professional counselor. "Just know that it is a stoppable cycle," says psychiatrist Gail Saltz.









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