Children: The Seven Myths
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
You will spoil your baby if you handle her too much. You should
let her cry sometimes.
You can not spoil a baby. Babies need to be touched, squeezed, coddled,
and held. Babies cry because they are hungry, sick, wet, messy,
or desire attention. Pick up your baby and hold her. Do it as often
as you like.
Kids should not grow up believing they can have anything they want.
It is desirable and an example of effective parenting to teach children
they can have anything they want. They may have to work for it though.
And they may not get it at this moment.
you are shopping and your child asks, "Can I have one of those?"
respond with, "Sure, how are you going to pay for it?"
or "What are you willing to do to get it?" Ask, "How
much money do you have?' or ""Do you have a plan for getting
job as parents is to help our children learn they can have whatever
they want if they are willing to work for it. During the process
of figuring out how to get whatever it is they desire, they may
learn about problem-solving, planning, setting priorities, and goal
achievement. They may even come to see themselves as being able
to create what they want in their own lives. That is about as far
from being spoiled as you can get. We call this phenomena self-responsibility.
Spoiled children exist.
There is no such thing as a spoiled child. Spoiled is an inference,
a judgment that people make after noticing behaviors.
there children who act as if they are entitled? Yes. Are there children
who whine until the parents cave in? Yes. Are there children who
pout if they don't get their way? Yes. Are there children who seem
unappreciative of small gifts? Yes. Does that make them spoiled?
NO. It makes them children who have learned or are trying out new
behaviors in an attempt to get what they want.
who do the behaviors in the paragraph above are not spoiled. They
are children who are choosing inappropriate behaviors, behaviors
that need to be redirected, that need to be replaced with other
choices. These are children that need to be taught more effective
ways of interacting, of asking for what they want, of expressing
Spoiled is a good descriptor of some children.
Spoiled is never an accurate descriptor of children. Spoiled does
not describe a behavior. It judges it.
not label children as spoiled. Not aloud, nor in your head. When
you label children as spoiled you tend to believe they are spoiled.
When you believe they are spoiled you are more likely to notice
anything they do that could be interpreted as spoiled. When you
see things that can be interpreted as spoiled you prove your belief
to yourself that the child is indeed spoiled. Your belief then becomes
entrenched and you eventually communicate your belief to your child
and she begins to see herself as spoiled.
It's important to tell children when they are acting spoiled and
call them on it.
Labeling children spoiled or telling they are acting spoiled in
never a good parenting move. When you call a child spoiled what
he likely hears is not "spoiled." He is more likely to
hear "spoiled rotten." Do you want your child thinking
of himself as spoiled rotten?
you notice yourself thinking a child is spoiled, ask yourself, "What
is the behavior he is doing that I am judging as spoiled?"
Then communicate a description of that behavior along with any other
helpful information you need to share. "Jenny, I see you sitting
with your head down and a frown on your face. Would you like to
tell me about that?" "Chico, that sounds like whining.
Whining doesn't work with me. Your best hope of getting what you
want is to tell me in a normal voice and explain what you are willing
to do to help get it." "Roland, I noticed you paid little
attention to grandma's gift and shared no words of appreciation.
Is there some way you could honor her giving even if you didn't
like the gift?"
Children who have an abundance of material things are likely to
friend of ours recently bought a horse for his two young boys. A
close friend of his, hearing of the purchase said, "There you
go again spoiling your children."
it spoiling the children if they contribute to the purchase price,
clean stalls, and play a role in feeding and grooming the horse?
Is it spoiling them if they learn lessons about safety around large
animals, bond with another of God's creatures, and learn about the
self-discipline it takes to become an accomplished rider? Is it
spoiling them if they connect with their father working side by
side in the barn, sweating, laughing, and learning about each other?
a child has a 10 speed bicycle, a horse, or a convertible is not
an indication of whether or not she is spoiled. Look instead to
how the material object was obtained, how it is used, and to the
child's attitude about it. That will give you more information about
"spoiled" than the amount of material things she has.
Spoiled children need to change
parents need to change. Parents need to change their attitudes about
spoiled children and see instead a child who is attempting to satisfy
his needs with an ineffective behavior. They need to change their
own behaviors and be willing to take the time to teach new behaviors
to their children. They need to be willing to confront, deal with
conflict, and take the time to do solution-seeking.
Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments:
Parenting with Purpose. They also publish a FREE email newsletter
for parents and another for educators. Subscribe to them when you
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are two of the world's foremost
authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children.
For more information about how they can help you or your group meet
your parenting needs, visit their websites today.