Don’t Do This If You Don’t Want to Spoil Your Kids

It can be very easy to stare at tantrum-throwing kids, or their parents rather, prior to having kids. However, once you’re a parent, you quickly realize we’re all in the same unsteady boat— just trying to avoid spoiling our children, if we can help it.

But is that even possible? According to Hal Runkel, a marriage and family therapist who’s published numerous books on parenting and relationships, one way to keep from having spoiled kids is to stop lying to them about the way the world works.


Don’t Ignore Consequences

“What spoils kids is not letting them taste the natural consequence of their mistakes,” he told Business Insider. “When we give them the impression that their choices don’t have natural, logical consequences and we rescue them from those— when we say, ‘Hey, you do that one more time, I’m going to take that thing away,’ and then we don’t take that thing away— that’s actually what spoils kids.”

Runkel explains our job as parents is to prepare kids for life without us.

Don’t Do Everything for Them

“The world is not going to allow them to continue to depend on us forever,” he says. So think twice before you wake your kids up for school when they’re old enough and, not to mention, perfectly capable of setting an alarm themselves— that’s a one-way ticket to Spoil Town.

Don’t Worry About Not Being Liked

According to Fran Walfish, PsyD, author of The Self-Aware Parent and family and relationship psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, parents are much too worried about what their kids will think of them, or feel guilty about not giving their kids enough attention, so they overcompensate.

Instead, you’ll want to try to establish yourself as an authority figure,  otherwise “kids believe they have an equal or stronger vote than the authority of their parents,” Walfish says.

Don’t Ignore Their Feelings

If your Mini is throwing an epic tantrum, your simple “No!” or “Because I said so!” likely isn’t going to stop them and in turn, may keep them from feeling comfortable enough to express themselves in the future, says Walfish. She suggests instead to get on their eye level, take a deep breath, and acknowledge their anger, let them know that you see they’re upset. This will help them work through their frustrations in a healthier way and see your calm demeanor as something to mimic.

But if you’re unsure about whether or not you’re being a great parent or being too harsh, simply check in with yourself.

“Your gut gives you a good indication of when you’re being too harsh or depriving them,” says Runkel. More often than not, you’re going to err on the side of leniency than being too harsh.

How do you avoid spoiling your kids? Tell us below!

Think you’re prepared for baby? Maybe think again. Read How Much It Really Costs to Have a Baby then move on to these 25 Moms You Should Be Following Instagram.

Opening Image: Brooke Schultz for Mini Magazine