And it’s not their fault
And before you start mom-shaming me, let me explain…
I, like so many others, dove head-first into this parenting thing with having absolutely zero knowledge of what I was REALLY getting myself into.
I’m just winging it.
I have learned a lot in my eight years of parenthood, but I can honestly say I still have absolutely no idea what I am really doing. Just a winging-it-as-I-go kind of parenting strategy, you could say.
I made some very crucial mistakes early on that at the time made my life easier, but in the long term, not so much.
My girls are 23 months apart and when I had a new two year old and a newborn, my husband worked out of state. He would work for three weeks, come home for three days, then be gone again for another three weeks.
Those days were rough… when the two year old started to throw a fit over a toy the baby had, instead of telling her no and to wait her turn, I would just simply oblige her to avoid the meltdown I knew was awaiting me if I didn’t.
If I only knew then what I know now.
I made all the terrible mistakes parents are not supposed to make in the early years. I always picked up after them, overindulged them materially, gave-in after repeated requests, never followed through with my gazillion threats everyday, and would lose my temper more than I would like to admit.
Once their little brother arrived I started to see the impact of my decisions and how it was affecting my sweet babies. I knew I needed a major mommy overhaul.
I started to see the big picture and evaluate each decision more in the long term. I switched them from an upper-class school district to a smaller rural district so that they can have some diversity and a better understanding of people from all different walks of life.
I decided to take responsibility for my awful parenting choices and to be pro-active in making sure that my children will be kind, loving, respectful adults who know nothing in this life is guaranteed to them.
What I Started to Change
Here are a few things we started implementing into our house to make sure this whole spoiled brat thing is just a phase.
- Teaching empathy – In almost every situation, the first thing I ask my kids is, “How would that make you feel?” I am constantly trying to teach them to see things from another perspective. I try to help them visualize that if the situation were reversed, would they still feel the way that they do.
- Be consistent with discipline & consequences – I am not doing myself or my children any favors with empty threats and being pushed to where I finally just give in to their requests. We have clear, concise guidelines in our house now and they are fully aware of the consequences should they veer off course.
- Teaching that a family is a working unit – I am often telling my children that there is only one mommy and three kiddos. I also explain that my lot in life is not to be their forever maid/waitress. We are a family that all pitches in to keep this house going.
- Give them responsibilities – my kids are now in charge of feeding the pets, and we have a lot of pets! They really seem to enjoy having their own tasks and I love seeing their confidence and independence grow.
- Community Service/Gratitude – We love to take walks and take trash bags with us so we can have an adventure and help clean up Mother Earth at the same time. I read once that gratitude is the cure for entitlement and I am hoping that is correct.
I’m still just winging it, but with some much better tools that will hopefully turn my spoiled little brats into respectable, hard-working members of the community.
What mistakes did you make early on in parenting? Do you have any tools to help combat spoiled kiddos?
If so, please share with the rest of us in the comments!