I almost forgot that it’ll only take me 3 more months before I give birth to our baby girl, Summer (yes, we want to call her “Summer Maria”). Heck, I haven’t uploaded a single photo of my baby bump! Maybe I should start documenting more about this first pregnancy of mine.
But one of the things that occupy my mind lately (aside from the anxiety of birth delivery! I’m chickening out!), is how to make sure my kid will not grow up with a false sense of entitlement – you know, the spoiled type!
I’d like to think we were raised well by my parents in a way that none of us turned out to be tantrum-throwing kids who were given what we want each time we cry or complain. There’s really a lot to say about emotional intelligence these days especially now that we are living in an ever challenging world. There’s so much noise in this age that some parents tend to give in to anything fed to them as a “nice to have” for their child – even if it’s really a little too much, in my opinion. Maybe the material reward isn’t the issue, but the chances that your kid did not pick up the virtue of hard work.
False sense of entitlement
That is what I’m most afraid of to be instilled on my own child. As early as now my husband and I would come into disagreements over not having to buy everything new for the baby – especially if our well-meaning families and friends have a truck load of hand-me-downs for her. Why buy when we already have what we need? Do we ought to show off? How does that come into play when your kid finds out we buy ALL things new for her?
Of course, each to his own. I’m sure all mothers know what’s best for their children. We know what works for us us, don’t we? Really none of my business. What I’m only concerned about is how to raise a kid who will grow up to be happier to give, than to receive. To be someone considerate of others. A person who knows that the world does not revolve around her – but has a gifted sense of confidence to face the world. And of course, someone who will grow up knowing the virtue of goal-setting, hard work, and dependence on God.
Stop Spoiling Your Kids by Dr. Phil
I’ve read up a few things over the Internet and came across this page of Dr. Phil pointing out some insightful notes on how not to “Spoil or Ruin Your Kid”
Of all the things he mentioned, I like these three best:
“Redefine what taking care of your children means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren’t teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.”
“Your job as a parent is not to make yourself feel good by giving the child everything that makes you feel good when you give it,”
“Be a good role model. “We’re not the only influence in our kids’ lives, so we better be the best influence,”
Here’s the complete list:
Over-indulgence, Dr. Phil explains, is one of the most insidious forms of child abuse. Here is a perspective that might help you stop.
- Your primary job as a parent is to prepare your child for how the world really works. In the real world, you don’t always get what you want. You will be better able to deal with that as an adult if you’ve experienced it as a child.
- If your parent/child relationship is based on material goods, your child won’t have the chance to experience unconditional love.
- Be a good role model. “We’re not the only influence in our kids’ lives, so we better be the best influence,” says Dr. Phil.
- Redefine what taking care of your children means. Are you providing for them emotionally and spiritually? You need not buy them material goods in order to create a bond. Instead of tangible gifts, how about spending some time together? Be careful that you aren’t teaching them that emotions can be healed by a trip to the mall.
- Don’t let your guilt get in the way of your parenting. “Your job as a parent is not to make yourself feel good by giving the child everything that makes you feel good when you give it,” Dr. Phil tells one mom. Your job as a parent is to prepare your child to succeed in school and when they get out into the world. “Kids have to be socialized in a way that they understand you work hard for what you get.” You don’t want to teach your child that they will get everything through manipulation, pouting, crying, door slamming and guilt induction.
- Make sure your children aren’t defining their happiness and their status in the world as a function of what they wear or drive. Sit down with them and have a one-on-one conversation about what really defines their worth ” their intelligence, their creativity, their caring, their giving, their work ethic, etc. If you spent equal time sitting down and talking to them about what really mattered as you do shopping, you might be able counterbalance the countless images they see telling them otherwise.
- Understand “intrinsic” versus “extrinsic” motivation. Intrinsic motivation is when people do things because they feel proud of themselves when they do it. They feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Extrinsic motivation is when someone does something because of external motivation. For example, they will receive money, a toy or priviledge if they do the task. If you are always rewarding your child with material things, he/she will never learn how to motivate themselves with internal rewards like pride. They also will never learn to value things because there are so many things and nothing is special.
- Make sure your child understands the value of hard work. For example, Dr. Phil explains, “I always told our boys, ‘If you make Cs, you’re going to have a C standard of living. If you make Bs, you’re going to have a B standard of living. If you make As, you’re going to have an A standard of living.'”
- Dr. Phil reminds one young guest who aspires to be wealthy that it’s not a bad goal, but it takes a lot of hard work to get there. “The difference between winners and losers is winners do things losers don’t want to do. And that’s work hard to get ready to be a star,” he says.
- If your child idolizes a celebrity, ask him/her why. Dr. Phil speaks to one young guest who looks up to rich girls like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. “What have either of them ever done, except spend money that they got from somebody else? What is it you’re looking up to?”
- Your child does not have to love you every minute of every day. He’ll get over the disappointment of having been told “no.” But he won’t get over the effects of being spoiled.
- Help your child set goals. Teach him/her that striving to own nice things is fine if he/she understands how much hard work it takes to afford that, and then doesn’t base his/her self-worth around what she buys.
Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
– Proverbs 29:17