How To Unspoil A Child – Steps and Resources

As a young mother (I’m not so young anymore), I didn’t think or plan on how to be a good mother. It just came naturally. I automatically set limits. I didn’t worry about rather it would make my children mad or unhappy. I did what had to be done and didn’t think much more about it.

When they were old enough to do certain things for themselves, I made them do for themselves. I didn’t jump and run to quickly do things that they were perfectly capable of doing on their own. I didn’t get up and hurry when they would call for me from another room. They came to me unless there was a reason not to.

I didn’t buy them something, like candy or toys, every trip to the store. They had to earn the things they got most of the time and understood the value of money. They appreciated the extra things they were bought or the extra work done for them from time to time. In other words, I never thought I would be trying to figure out how to unspoil a child.

Being a Nanna/Momma

Years after my own children were having families of their own, my son’s wife left him and their young son and daughter. Sadly, she never looked back. So there he was, a single father of a three-year-old son and a daughter just barely a year old. My heart just tore in two for them. I decided that the little girl (Serenity) needed to be with a woman and he desperately needed help.

And just like that, I was a mother for the second time around (be careful what you wish for). My husband and I proceeded to do what most any grandparents do. We have worked hard at being the most loving, giving parents/grandparents we could be.

We have loved her too much. I didn’t know you could do that. While trying to make her happy and feel loved we have ruined her! Now, at age six, this once sweet, beautiful little girl acts sooo ugly! She talks back, throws fits, acts up at school, and expects something every time we have to go in a store. What have we done!?

All Parents Make Mistakes

I am not the only mom in this predicament. We all make mistakes as parents. A good parent will admit it and fix it. We cannot beat ourselves up, nor can we just ignore it and pretend that we have awesome, well-behaved, respectful children. If you’re like me, you have a lot of changes to make and a lot of work to do. So, let’s get to changing.

Steps To Unspoil Your Child

While we do need to make our children change habits and behavior, we also must change certain habits of our own. After all, we allowed this to happen. Let’s look at some things we can do differently.

  • Say no and stick to it. Don’t give in to whining or fit throwing. Over time, they will get used to hearing no, realize that you’re not going to give in, and start to give less and less resistance.
  • Set limits. They can’t watch YouTube for hours at a time, for example.
  • Don’t run to their every call for you. Make them come to you. If it’s for something they can do for themselves, make them do it.
  • Set consequences to their bad behavior or disobedience and stick to them. They must see that for every bad action there is going to be some type of punishment.
  • Give them chores (perhaps with an allowance) to show that we all have responsibilities and things expected of us.
  • Teach them about the needs of others. If they have an excessive amount of toys, help them pick through and give away the things they’ve grown out of or are just bored with. They need to know that there are some who have very little and learn to appreciate their good fortune (we can lead by example in this area).

It Never Hurts To Ask For Guidance

None of us know everything about being a parent. There is always room to improve with anything we do. Being a parent is the most important thing that we should strive to be the best we can be. For those of us that have any time to read a book or attend a parenting class, it’s worth the while to learn from others who can add to what we already know or just plain help us in whatever area we might be struggling with, such as, how to unspoil a child.

Here are a few books that would be helpful:


There are free online parenting classes we might find fun and helpful:

The World Will Not Be So Kind

Our job is not about being their best friends. We are their parents. We have to show them tough love and prepare them for the world around them. We cannot always be with them to protect, instruct, or to do for them. They will be on their own one day and our job is to make sure they have what it takes to be productive, caring, successful adults.

Their employers will not allow tantrums and not many people are going to always let them have their way. And…one day they will have their own families to love, guide and mold. That’s when we can be proud of the work we have done. That’s when they will know what it meant to give them all that tough love. That is when they will thank us.

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