How to turn around a spoilt child?(5 Posts)
Today I am embarrassed, mortified and feeling very emotional and slapping myself about the face for my failure as a parent. Why? Because I have just realised that I have spoilt my son and now it has come back to haunt me. My eldest son (8) is really spoilt. We lived abroad for many years in an expat bubble and he basically got waited on hand and foot, was rather indulged and got whatever he wanted. I totally take the blame for it, although I must say that the other kids in the expat bubble were even more spoilt than mine. That said, I take full blame. Now I can see that my son is rude, obnoxious, very demanding and talks to me very disrespectfully actually e.g. get me this, I just asked you to get me that, where is it and if I tell him off I get told "yeah, whatever". My 2 younger children on the other hand have lovely manners and do not seem to be spoilt at all. In fact, whenever they get anything e.g. a party bag they are over the moon about it, whereas as son as my eldest has one gift, 2 minutes later he's already talking about what he wants next.
I really, really want to turn this around as he is actually a very sweet boy and good natured. This is totally my fault but I also blame his old school where the kids turn up in designer shoes and get whatever they want and have 2 maids each. Back here in the UK I can see that the children are a lot more disciplined and polite and I'm embarrassed! My son is like some spoilt kid off an American sitcom!
My husband says that I am to blame (although he never disciplines him - ever) because I shout at him, rather than punish him for what he is doing. People tell me I am a lovely mum and have lovely kids, but right now I feel like I've failed badly.
I need help. How can I turn this around?
First of all you and your H have to get on the same page and the blaming has to stop.
Second, your DS has to have established consequences for all unacceptable (sorry, v Jo Frost) behaviour and speech.
He is 8 so this is the perfect age to be given chores around the house so that he can develop true self esteem. In order for the chore regime to work the chores he does need to be meaningful and consistently supervised by you and your H. So you have to be on your toes and put in some heavy work..
He needs to get involved in scouts or some other supervised boy group activity, and competitive sports where he can get knocked over by other boys, as well as martial arts.
He has picked up the disrespectful speech habit from somewhere and both you and your H need to figure out where and to stop it immediately. Your H in particular needs to impress upon the DS how unacceptable that is.
I agree with math that you and dh need to talk this through together and find ways to deal with it without blaming each other. He needs to get involved in discipline, as boys need to be able to look up to their fathers and it is from their dads that they learn how to become responsible, respectful men. It may be hard if dh works long hours or isn't around as much as you are, if it is your role to take care of the kids, but when he is there he needs to be firm about discipline and certainly appear to be coming from the same page as you are.
I would push group activities and outdoor sports - scouts, football, getting out on his bike, any other outdoor activity he might enjoy. Getting out in the fresh air and interacting with peers is the best way to turn around a sulky spoiled child. They are too busy getting exercise, fresh air and enjoying themselves to focus on the next computer game or new toy they want bought for them. Treats can be more along the line of his favourite supper or a cake baked to eat after his afternoon running around playing football. I would enforce a decent bedtime as well, and make sure he isn't up till late in his room. He may also be feeling a little pushed out, if you have two younger children. Maybe he needs a bit of one to one time with both you and dh, to remind him that he is important and loved. Again, I wouldn't spend much money doing this, or it all becomes material treats again - stick to simple things like going for a bike ride, a trip to a museum, the library to get books out. I'm sure you can easily turn this situation around! I recommend Jo Frost's books as well from the Supernanny series - she has lots of tips and helpful advice for situations like this. Have a look at her books on Amazon. x
Want to add, when you assign chores, this should never be done in a tone that indicates it's a punishment. What you are aiming for is that your DS will understand he is part of Team Family, and that you are the captain. I think boys need a group to belong to (a need that is mostly filled by sports but a family can be an excellent team too) and they need a leader to whom they are accountable and from whom they receive appreciation.
We have the potential to spoil our dc, money isn't an issue, dh works long hours and I'm disabled.
But we've made a conscious decision that we're a team so all dc have chores (dishwasher, animal care etc) and we have a massive family mantra that "different people get different treats at different times".
We also have "family riles" that we designated together and everyone signed, and it's up in our kitchen.
1) Nobody is more important than anybody else.
2) Speak nicely, and if you can't say anything nice, say nothing.
3) Treat everyone else how you'd like to be treated.
It works for us.
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