'Can you throw away the spoiled ones? '

By Dr. Sonya Rogers
Contributing Writer
Posted 6/5/07

While visiting a friend at the beach, I noticed her teenage daughter’s spoiled disposition and thought, “Wow! I sure am glad my daughter doesn’t speak to me that way.”

Then I started meditating on why that child behaves the way she does. …

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'Can you throw away the spoiled ones? '

Posted

While visiting a friend at the beach, I noticed her teenage daughter’s spoiled disposition and thought, “Wow! I sure am glad my daughter doesn’t speak to me that way.”

Then I started meditating on why that child behaves the way she does. Is it okay to spoil your kids? Most people are annoyed by the attitude and demanding behavior of spoiled children. As a teacher, I can admit these students are some of the toughest for educators to teach. One reason is they often portray a sense of “self-centeredness” and inconsiderate responses to the others in the classroom. They often have a “What can you do for me?” attitude.

I believe some parents often confuse spoiling a child with giving too much love.

There is a difference! Children need lots of love; just as they need shelter and nutrition. However, giving a child every material need requested is not the same as giving ‘love.’ Indulgence in any fashion can result in negative consequences.

Spoiling a child can foster his or her desire to look for outside activities and resources to fill an emptiness that should be felt internally through caring and creativity. It is wise to make sure as a parent you are not training your child to become addicted to food, toys or other things that interfere with a healthy family relationship. It is also imperative that quality time is spent together to strengthen the level of unity and compassion needed to keep the family cohesive during tough times.

As children become adolescents, they are faced with the dilemma of identifying who they are and how others perceive them. Strangely, even as adults, we may view ourselves differently than others do.

Unless parents teach their children to value their inner qualities, they will make the mistake of spending too much time being concerned about how they look, how many toys they have, how expensive their clothes and possessions are, and who they choose to befriend. Children should be taught that it isn’t wise to determine self-worth based on material possessions or the approval of others.

One of the greatest gifts a parent can offer a child is love. This is a genuine act of understanding, compassion and caring. It entails spending time listening, watching movies, playing games, or attending important events. Bikes and phones can be replaced, but family memories are forever embedded in a child’s mind.

Although there is no one right way to discipline and rear a child, parents must consider what parenting style is most effective for each particular one.

Some children receive an authoritarian style of parenting, which is considered overly strict and somewhat bossy. Other children are familiar with the permissive style of discipline, which is over-lenient and lacks limits and boundaries.

Effective parenting includes understanding children’s behavior better, how to deal with and prevent misbehavior, and how to present more acceptable ways to behave in the future.

Discipline also varies at different ages.

I have not met a perfect parent yet.

Dr. Sonya Rogers is a certified counselor who serves as an English instructor for Daphne Middle School and Faulkner State Community College.

Rogers’ column runs twice a month, exclusively in the Daphne Bulletin and on baldwincountynow.com.