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Posts Tagged ‘Spoiled kids’

Parents can become victims. It’s easy. You just cave in; don’t use the power you have. Instead, do what your perpetrator demands.

Children know you won’t cut them off. You won’t refuse to feed your kids, keep them warm and see that the basics are there for them. And they learn quickly that the services go a lot further than that. How about rides to school? Meals with their favorite food? Netflix account? TV? Cell phone? Ipod? Quick responses to provide rides to soccer practice? Providing spending money? (We don’t use the term “saving money” and they wouldn’t know what we meant, anyhow.)

What powers do you have? How can you reclaim them?

To reclaim your power, you don’t need to threaten to withhold these extras. Small adjustments in the availability of these perks can be effective if the connection to your child-teen’s behavior is clear.

Child-teen: “Come on, Mom. I should have been at soccer practice five minutes ago!”

Mom-as-chauffeur: “I could be quicker, but your slow reaction to the supper call flags my enthusiasm.”

C-T: “Mom, this is important. He won’t put me in the game if I don’t come to practice.  Supper is not a big deal.”

Mom: “It is to me.” Mom feels her point has been made and starts for the car. No punch line needed.

If the kids are going to retain their perks, they have to learn to cooperate in return. This happens at a nitty-gritty level as in the soccer-bound child example above, but if parents don’t insist on their rights, Mom and Dad’s welfare might be forgotten.

Often parents don’t use the power they have

If it’s time to feed the dog, you probably just do it.  The obedience class showed you that Fido could learn a lot by using his meal a reward, but often we feel, “Let’s fill his dish and get on with the day.” If we continue to fill the kids’ dish, they won’t learn much either.

Actually, once you feel like a victim, you can find some comforts in it:

1. You always have someone to blame.

2. You don’t have to change anything about yourself.

3. Whatever “it” is, it’s not your fault.

4. The news media and your congressman agree with you that kids make a lot of their own problems.

One mother told me that her son refused to do any homework until she started making all spending money and extra transportation dependent on homework finished each day. Each evening she would note his time on homework. Every 15 minutes of homework produced a quarter and a ride the next day if he needed one. No homework, no rides and no quarters. The ritual was a little inconvenient, but the school problem made it necessary.

For parents to stop playing victim in their family, they have to point out, and use, the powers they have and show the kids that fair helpfulness must go both ways. Mom could provide quick service for her son even when he refused to do homework or was nasty. But she would feel she was the victim of an inconsiderate child when she really was just avoiding her son’s flak.

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