Do You Have A Spoiled Brat? Here's How To Raise A Resilient Child Instead
You’ve heard of apathetic Gen X-ers and entitled Millennials, but have you heard of the “Durian Generation” of youngsters? What are their unpleasant traits? More importantly, how do you raise your child not to fall into that prickly category and be branded as a spoiled brat?
What Is the Durian Generation?
The name “Durian Generation” was coined across the straits to refer to a new generation of youngsters in Singapore. This (not so affectionate) label refers to kids who are obnoxious, self-entitled, yet soft on the inside and unable to fend for themselves. Because of these traits, they rely on their sharp and thorny exterior – their parents – to protect them.
Sound familiar? This term could very well describe many children in Malaysia. And hey, we love the durian too.
Of course, the old-fashioned name for this is simply “spoiled brats” with overprotective parents. But what makes this Durian Generation different from your garden-variety brat? And how do you as a parent avoid raising your child to become one?
Spoiled and Entitled
It is a part of a young child's development(1) to assert their self-reliance by saying "no", and it is also normal for them to whine or grumble sometimes – because adults do it too!
Toddlers (between the age of one and three years old) are also prone to temper tantrums, which is all part of normal development.(2)
But if your child is constantly whining to get what he wants, is rude to you and other adults, acts bossy, has a horrible outburst when you won't give him that new toy he's been eyeing, then you may have a spoiled child on your hands.
Parents of the Durian Generation will often treat their children as if they are much younger than they actually are. They will be quick to come to their rescue instead of allowing them to preserve in resolving problems on their own, similar to the way helicopter parents do everything for their little ones.
They might even think that their child's negative behaviour – such as being rude to adults, being aggressive towards other children, acting bossy and demanding – is actually "cute". And they will and smile as their little one continues with his unpleasant display – a classic just sit back display of permissive parenting.
How Parents Spoil Their Kids
There is a difference between showing your affection to your child and being a permissive parent, overindulging them by giving in to their every whim.
You might be spoiling your child if you:
● Don't set age-appropriate boundaries
● Easily give in and let him have his way instead of enforcing limits
● Let him regularly interrupt and take over adult conversations
● Constantly buy toys and other treats just to pacify him and avoid tantrums
● Allow him to set the rules
● Do not correct him when he is rude or aggressive towards others
● Make excuses for his misbehaviour and blame others instead
Of course some parents think that their child can do no wrong and feel defensive if someone points out their flaws. But it is not healthy nor is it helpful if a child's parents constantly shield him from the real world and allow him to get his way all the time.
A spoiled child has never had the chance to handle disappointment at an early age. Lessons that they should learn as toddlers, such as adaptability to any situation, delaying gratification and acting within limits, are behaviours that they will carry into adulthood.
Why Do Parents Spoil Their Kids?
In a recent poll(3) conducted among 250 parents, 95% of them regret spending too much time working during their children's early years.
So it is possible that some parents may feel the need to compensate for their absence by overindulging their child. When they do get to spend some time together, they allow him to get away with anything, so as to avoid "ruining" what little time they have together.
Some parents also might make the mistake of offering their child too much help.(4) They are quick to jump in to fix his problems instead of encouraging him to do things for himself as an authoritative parent might do. This spoils the child because he will rely on his parents for everything and be unable to do things on his own.
There are also parents who want to give their child everything they never had growing up. So they somehow end up replacing quality time, physical contact, and bonding activities with materialist things instead. Or they don't want their child to feel "left out"(5) if they don't have the latest toy or gadget that everyone else does.
Then there are those who always brush off their child's misbehaviour with the excuse that, "He is just a child." That is fine for a two-year-old who is asserting his own self-reliance, but not for a 10-year-old who should know better.
How to Stop Spoiling Your Child
If parents don't set age-appropriate boundaries for their children – even as toddlers – they will never learn what their limits are.
Here's what you can do as a parent to nip the problem in the bud:
1. Set age-appropriate boundaries
Depending on your child's age, there should be some rules established so that he will know when not to cross the line.
For toddlers, it is better to stick to three or four non-negotiable rules such as: no hitting, no biting other people, clean up your toys after you play, etc. It might be overwhelming if there are too many rules.
2. Be consistent
There's no point setting rules if you are not consistently applying them. So if you've told your child that there will be consequences to their behaviour, but you allow them to continue with what they are doing, they will never learn to take you seriously nor respect the boundaries. This is an important part of being an authoritative parent,(6) one who has high expectations but leads by nurturing instead of using threats or force.
3. Talk openly
If your child is old enough to understand, it's a good idea to sit them down and talk openly about their behaviour. If they did something you did not approve of, you should pull them aside and tell them immediately.
It also helps to let them know beforehand what is expected of them, for example if you are bringing them to the library, you should gently remind them to be quiet, not to run around or play catch, and not to tear out pages of the books there. It will also helps your child to be more daring in having a difficult or uncomfortable conversation with you later on in the future.
4. Let them make mistakes and face disappointment
If parents are quick to swoop in and rescue their child from making any mistakes, then it may just set them up for failure(7) later on in life.
You might think that coddling your child is helping his self-esteem. But by shielding him from disappointments in life and over-praising him for every tiny achievement, you will reduce his desire to put in any effort. It also affects his ability to persevere because he won't be given the chance to challenge himself.
There is nothing wrong with coming to your child's defense or showering him with gifts. But you will actually be doing more harm than good if you hand him the world on a silver platter.
The effects of parenting styles on child development are many and far-reaching. You can make a difference in your child’s behaviour. Let's turn the Durian Generation into sweet and respectful children on the inside, who are self-reliance, resourceful and persevering to face challenges, and fend for themselves. They will realise that sometimes life just isn't fair, but that's ok.
Article sourced from theAsianparent Malaysia: