How to Unspoil Your Child

By JustMommies staff

Admitting your child is spoiled isn't easy. But if you have come to the point where you realize your child has become spoiled, you're halfway to recovery already. Many parents aren't willing to admit they have a spoiled child, because it reflects poorly on them as parents. However, it's best to deal with it early and move forward.

Not every child is spoiled with material things, although that is often a large component. Some can be spoiled by simply getting their way, or by not being given boundaries for behavior or how to treat others. If you want to unspoil your child, don't go "cold turkey." Your child wasn't spoiled in a day, and won't be unspoiled as quickly. Go slowly and make little changes at a time so they don't become resistant. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Getting to the bottom of "why" - Are you compensating for things you lacked when you were a kid? Is giving your child what they want a way to make them be quiet or sit still? Do you give them what they want because it's a way to bond with your child? Are you more concerned with being a 'friend' to your child than a parent? It's important to get to the bottom of what role you played in spoiling your child and why. Kids weren't born spoiled. Assess what you can do differently before you tackle their issues.

  • One thing at a time - Don't try and tackle every issue you notice all at once; it will frustrate and overwhelm both you and your child. Instead, choose one issue and start to work on it. For example, if your child becomes demanding at bedtime, start by establishing boundaries and sticking to them, while not changing anything else. Once she's accepted the bedtime boundary, work on the next one, like staying at the dinner table without an incentive. Expect this process to take some time, and remember to be patient. Observe your child to see which issue should be addressed first.

  • Pull rank - If your child is spoiled, chances are respect for your authority is going to be a problem. Don't go to the opposite extreme and hammer down. Instead, when you do start this process, lay out the new rule and stick to it. Be prepared for arguments, tears and anger. Don't stay to argue. Also, don't fold because of tears and if anger becomes disrespect, be prepared to address it with a consequence. Remember, you're training yourself, too. Respect will need to be built and your child may accuse you of being "mean," but don't let it get to you.

  • Stand strong - Spoiled kids have gotten used to having all the same things, or even more things and privileges as their peers. When all else fails, your kids may try to pull at your heartstrings by crying about being left out because they don't have 'this' or can't do 'that'. If you want to unspoil your child, you can't cave into what everyone else is doing. While this will be tough, keep your goal in mind. It's in the best interest of your child that you're doing this, and "everyone else" isn't raising your child.