Many parents fall into the trap of spoiling children too much and give them everything they ask for so that they can be happy. Some believe that, otherwise, the little ones could have some kind of trauma in the future that triggers resentment towards the parents for not giving 'enough affection'. But is this really loving children? This premise can easily be misinterpreted in a discourse change on how to show love, such that 'if you don't give me what I want then you don't want me'.
The capricious behavior of children is normal at certain ages according to Freudian theory of psychosexual development. We must bear in mind that during the first years, the little ones are guided by their instinct for self-preservation, looking around for security and trustThis includes objects that attract their attention and that they want to always have with them, regardless of whether they belong to others or if they cannot give them to them. Because for them their feeling is the only thing that should matter.
This behavior diminishes once children overcome the 'Oedipus complex' and parents begin to teach values and moral rules, which helps modulate selfish behavior, in addition to learning about empathy and responsibility. This results in the recognition of needs and desires, but more importantly on how to differentiate them, since they cannot before.
Even today, many parents continue to believe that the best way to calm a child's temper tantrums is by giving them something. However, this behavior only makes the child learn that, every time they have a bad behavior, they will be rewarded by their parents. Therefore, that is the way you should act to get what you want or, failing that, something that pleases you.
What are the dangers of giving children everything they ask for and, in this way, indulging them? We see some of the consequences.
- Wanting more and more
Well, it is not only about giving him something to reduce his anxiety or discomfort, but the child will demand more and more, until creating a vicious circle that is difficult to break that will remain with him until he grows up and can use it to his advantage to continue satisfying their whims. Either in their interpersonal relationships, academic performance, moral indiscretions or transgressions towards others.
- Need vs wants
Another factor that affects is the lack of recognition and discrimination between needs and desires. In the absence of prior teaching on how to have a gap between the two, for children it will be exactly the same and they will not take no for an answer if they want to have something, no matter that it is impossible for parents to get it or it affects a third party.
- Little appreciation and empathy
As children do not learn to recognize what they want and what they need, they stop valuing what they have and even stop appreciating what others give them, even if they do so with the best intention. They no longer enjoy simple things or other scenarios, having in their mind a fixed idea of how their life should be and what should be in it.
- Dependence and co-dependency
Failure to modulate this capricious behavior can lead to two equally worrying aspects in their future: Dependence on people who they know can satisfy their whims, that is, maintaining relationships only out of interest. Or extreme manipulation towards the people around him to continue pleasing him using emotional games.
So, what should we take into account so as not to overindulge children and prevent them from becoming capricious? Let's see some keys.
1. Goal planning
From complying with the daily routine at home, to doing their homework ... It is very important that children have an organization for their day to day, as this gives them a guide to action and helps them regulate their disposition of the time to do the activities they want to do during this.
2. Use of educational consequences
Educational consequences are an alternative to traditional punishments that propose a more positive way for children to learn the consequences of what they have done wrong. It is about the little ones being able to repair the damage they have caused from their behavior.
3. Management of frustration
Children succumb very quickly to what they cannot do, becoming anxious and irritable people and it is precisely in those moments where parents choose to give them a whim to calm them down. Instead, you can give your child some object that can relax him (such as an anti-stress toy for children), play with him, explain that it is okay to make mistakes, how he can learn from them and guide him so that he can solve his problem.
4. Explain differences between need and desire
Although children still do not have the necessary mental capacity to understand complex concepts, you can explain to them through drawings, stories or simple examples for them the difference between wanting something because it caught their attention and something that they need for their development. It is very important to bear this in mind, since children always ask for explanations and when they do not get answers they assume that there is no reason why they should not continue asking for things.
5. Ask them why they want it
Knowing the reasons why children want something is key to determining whether it is a whim or they have valid reasons for wanting it. But keep in mind to put everything in perspective. 'Can you have it later', 'what if you don't have it?', 'Is there something else to replace it?'
6. Teach them to value what they have
The best way to diminish the natural selfishness of children is for them to begin to appreciate what they have. To do this, encourage them to use their things more and teach them the value of giving away the toys they no longer use to other children who probably would like to have them. Take them to volunteer or participate in toy exchanges.
As always, it is not about taking away or stopping giving gifts to the little ones, but about teaching them that they must earn it with their actions and take responsibility for their actions.
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