Much like anything else, spoiling a child is a gradual process and doesn’t happen overnight. A number of factors contribute to a child sprawled all over the floor and crying his or her eyes out whenever they do not get their way or what they want at that particular moment. The primary issue here is that of power. Who has it as well as who has the ability and resources to manipulate it in order to achieve what they desire. These events then trigger a tussle for control between the parent and the child.
As a parent, have you noticed a lack of control in disciplining your child? Do they answer back? Are they disrespectful? Do they seem to defy your wishes? And most importantly, do you need to supply them with material possessions or favors in order for them to adhere to your wishes? (e.g., having to buy a new toy before he or she is willing to study or behave?)
If you can relate of any of the situations I have mentioned above, chances are, your young child could be well on their way to becoming “spoiled.” But depending on their age and openness to change, there is always a possibility to raise your child the way you have always wanted.
The path to disciplining a child starts with the parents. Is the family together or separated? Do the parents live together? How often does the child see their father or mother? What concessions does the father or mother give the child when their spouse is not around? Parents (together or separated) need to be able to communicated ironclad rules and regulations in how to handle their child when the other spouse is not present. These rules can extend to a number of areas such as: a) when and how long a child can watch television; b) what shows are they allowed to watch?; c) what time should they eat meals; d) when should they do their homework; e) when is the proper time to reward the child and by a toy; and most importantly in my opinion, f) what time is their bedtime?
In my experience, discipline equates consistency, especially if one’s word matches their deeds. Parents should be mindful that the impact they make on their child has the biggest effect on them during their first twelve years. After which, there is very little parents can do to change the mindset of their child as his or her values have already been set. As parents, ask yourself what measures you have taken to instill discipline within your child? Are you consistent? Lastly, is the discipline which you have set serve the needs of your child or that of yours?