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Spoil the Child

According to renowned baby and child care expert Dr. Benjamin Spock, you can't spoil a child that is under six months old. After that, all bets are off. We get spoiled children for a number of reasons. Sometimes a sickly or needy infant ends up spoiled simply because his parents want to make him as comfortable as possible. Sometimes we inadvertently spoil our children trying to meet their needs. If you missed the cut-off between accommodating a young infant's needs and actual spoiling, you'll need to know how to unspoil your child.

How do you know if you have a spoiled child?

Most parents of spoiled children are pretty aware of the problem. Spoiled kids will do nearly anything to get their way. Parents are subjected to tantrums, breath holding, screaming, bullying, demands, and all sorts of other undesirable behavior designed to help them get their way. It's important to nip spoiled behavior in the bud as early as possible. Spoiled teenagers are prone to anxiety, depression, self-absorption, and a lack of self-control.

Spoiled Kids: Taking Control

Get ready for a battle. A spoiled child is accustomed to using any means to get his way. As the parent, you'll have to be in the game for the long haul or you're likely to slide back into spoiling patters simply because it's easier. But, take heart, your spoiled preschooler or kindergartner won't take four or five years of work to unspoil. Kids really do aim to please; your child's eagerness to make you happy will overcome his desire to control his environment.

Be Consistent with Parenting Skills

The most important factor in unspoiling your child is to remain consistent at all costs. Don't slide back into old patterns even once. If your child senses wishy-washy, he'll hold his ground until he gets what he wants. The rules are the rules, period. Remember, your three-year-old has far more energy than you do!

Stop Overindulging and Overprotecting Kids

Parents have to be able to identify the line between overindulging and needs, between overprotecting and protecting. Once you find this line, make sure that you meet your child's needs but enable him to try life on his own as well. Unless your child is in danger, let him figure things out on his own.

Mean What You Say when Parenting

Kids learn pretty quickly when you're serious and when you're not. If you've made it a habit to issue multiple warnings, but you never really follow through on those warnings, you'll need to change your way of doing things. Warn once, then act.

Provide Positive Discipline and Reinforcement

Many parents forget how much kids need a pat on the back when they do something right. Make a chart and use a sticker system to help your child visually document his successes. And, make sure that you reward him for a job well done. Talk about tangible rewards for a certain pre-determined number of "good jobs," like an ice cream cone, a small toy, a trip to the park, a play date, etc.