How to, and how NOT to spoil a child…..

by Rod Smith

How to spoil a child

Run interference for your child as much as possible so that nothing has a chance to teach your child that actions (an inactions) have natural consequences.

Give your child the distinct impression that teachers and coaches and school authorities are idiots who deserve little or no respect.

Break rules of civility yourself so your child will naturally learn that your child is above them and that they do not apply to anyone in your family.

Praise your child indiscriminately for everything but most especially where little or no skill or talent is demonstrated so that the pain of having to learn something new or difficult may be delayed or at least avoided.

Blame the teacher if your child doesn’t do homework: attack the way it was assigned, or the timing of the assignment, or the lack of access to what was required of the assignment on the Internet, or the relevance of the assignment – but never even vaguely suggest the child’s homework is the child’s responsibility.

Do your very best to live as though every discomfort in your life is someone or something else’s fault so that your child may carry the same sense of blame into the future.

How not to spoil a child

Have a full, meaningful life before you conceive, adopt, or foster a child. Do this so the child is unlikely to become the center of your universe and therefore have to occupy a place in your life, and have power in your life, that no child is designed or equipped to hold. It’s not too late to develop a life outside of your child. Children who are LEAST important to their parents’ salvation (success, reputation) are more likely to enjoy healthy adult lives than those who are faced with the unreasonable task of making their parents happy or appear successful. (Ed Friedman, Generation to Generation – liberal paraphrase)

Allow natural, reasonable consequences to occur so that your child may appreciate the power of cause and effect, as imperfect as it sometimes is.

Get out of the way as much as possible so your child learns to show up, speak up, and self-advocate as early as possible. Be this way especially with the school.

Try to do fewer things for your child so that your child has to do more and more. Self-sufficiency is among the holiest of gifts you can give your child and it is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

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