Spoiled Rotten

Kyler is 4 years old and thinks he’s the boss. He also knows how to push his mom’s buttons.

"He’s just rotten, like, Kyler gets what Kyler wants," says his mom, Katie Spicer.

Spicer says her son’s attitude is out of control.

"You go into the store and the first thing he asks for is a toy,” says Spicer.

To avoid a fight, sometimes this single mom gives in to what Kyler wants.

"Because you feel bad because the other parent is not here,” says Spicer. “He doesn’t have anybody. I want to be the one he can count on."

After years of fighting, Spicer says she’s at her wit’s end.

"I can’t handle the fights anymore,” says Spicer. “I just, I don’t know what to do.”

Licensed professional counselor Dawn Turner says it’s never too late to get your spoiled child back on track.

"It’s hard to say no,” says Turner. “We want to see our children get what they desire."

However, Turner says giving them everything they want could be turning them into a spoiled kid, and spoiled kids grow up to become spoiled adults.

"If they get told ‘No,’ and they don’t know how to react, how to cope with that, it’s going to cause problems," says Turner.

Problems like how they get along with professors, co-workers and bosses.

"If you’ve never been allowed to fail you, don’t know how to handle it,” says Turner.

She says this can lead to problems with gambling, drinking, overeating, over spending and an overall dissatisfaction with life.

“If they’re no longer getting their way all the time, they’re not happy. And they tend to depend on other people’s happiness instead of just being happy with themselves," says Turner. 

Turner says you can change your child’s spoiled attitude by following three simple steps.

Step one: Set boundaries.

"Sometimes saying no is the most loving thing that we can do for them,” says Turner. “They should be able to have a little more self-regulation when they’re told no."

Step two: Be consistent.

“You’re going to make mistakes,” says Turner. “There are no perfect parents, but if you can do it the majority of the time, the kids are going to learn what they need to learn."   

Turner says let them know upfront what your expectations are and what the consequences will be if those expectations aren’t met, and stick to it. If you don’t, Turner says you’re reinforcing that negative behavior and you’re going to get more.

Step three: Teach the value of money.

"I think that’s something that we’ve lost,” says Turner. “Give them opportunities to earn money. Also, give them the freedom to make their own spending decisions.”

Then evaluate those decisions together. Turner says this is a conversation that can help teach your child the difference between a want and a need, and the satisfaction from a job well done.

"It feels like it’s never ending,” says Spicer. “I feel like I’m failing every single time."

It’s familiar feeling for many parents, and Turner says it’s not going to be easy, but if you stick to these three steps, your child’s horns will eventually turn into a halo.

If you’re still having problems, Turner suggests meeting with a professional counselor.

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