The benefits to this strategy are numerous: you’ll know everything is always done right (because you’ll be doing it all yourself); you’ll always feel needed (because someone has to do those things!); you’ll never have to hear your kids complaining (since they’ll be off enjoying themselves while you’re slaving away). They’ll definitely want to stay near you with all those pay-offs.
If, on the other hand, you ask them to do age-appropriate chores, like making their own beds, putting their toys away, and feeding the fish, that will only encourage them to take responsibility, be reliable, and have a sense of self-efficacy. We all know what that leads to—getting a job, going to college, getting married—that won’t keep them near you!
Saying no to your child will only make him cry. No one wants to hear that, especially fellow shoppers in the grocery store or other parents at the park. If your kid wants to stand up in the shopping cart and dance, who are you to deny him fun? If he wants to climb to the top of the jungle gym and jump off, cheer him on. No one else in his life is ever going to say no to him; why should you be the one to upset him? If you do say no, he might learn to think before he acts, be safe, or develop empathy—all things that will encourage him to grow up, take on adult roles, and leave you far, far behind.
You love your kids, don’t you? Then why should you deny them anything? Especially when they’ve been good, you have a few dollars left over from your paycheck, and they want that toy they just saw on TV “because everybody has one!”
If you make him earn what he wants, save up for expensive things, negotiate with you, he might learn to be patient, respect your budget, delay gratification, and plan. This sort of behavior is far too mature for the child you want to hang onto.
What a hassle it is coming up with goals and expectations and challenges for your children to meet. That means you have to monitor their progress, cheer on their successes, help them learn from their failures, even stay in the background when you know you could make that papier-mâché volcano stand up straighter. Much easier just to take the road of least resistance. If they have a huge project due on Monday but they’ve left everything till Sunday night, jump in there and make that poster about South American rainforests for them. You want them to get an A, don’t you? Hey, if you don’t expect anything from your kids, they’ll never disappoint you.
Never, never let your kids be in charge of money. Only by being in control of the purse strings can you have even a hope of controlling your children. If they do chores, earn an allowance, learn how to budget, and really understand how the outside world works, there’s no way you’re going to have the thrill of them moving back in with you at 30, broke, jobless, and in debt up to their eyeballs. How are parents supposed to feel needed if their kids move out and start their own family?
Of course, if you’re one of those odd parents that feel that your job is to teach your child how to be a responsible, mature adult who can make his or her own way in the world and pass along your wisdom to your grandchildren, please disregard this article. Better yet, do the opposite of everything on this list.
By Debbi Miller Gutierrez
We all want our children to love us, don’t we? We want them to be happy and secure, never having to face the hardships and struggles we went through as children. We want them to enjoy their childhood and know for sure that their parents love them. And we want to keep our sweet little kittens as close to us as possible for the rest of their lives, right? Spoiling your kids is a sure-fire way to keep your kids near you forever. Here are five things you can do to make sure they are spoiled rotten.