Every parent wants to see their kids grow and become the best person they can be. But rearing a child into a mature and intelligent individual is a real challenge. In fact, carrying a child for nine months is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of tantrums, nonstop crying, stress and imposing discipline.

As a parent, you want to make sure that your kid gets the best this world has to offer. That is why the first five years is crucial in the development of the child. However, giving everything comes with a price, especially when you smother him/her too much. People will often tag your child as a “spoiled” one which can, later on, translates into a “difficult” one as s/he grows up.

But is there such thing as a spoiled child? Find out whether or not your child is spoiled and tips on how to prevent raising a spoiled child.

Is there such a thing as a “spoiled baby?”

No. According to David Elkind, professor of child development at Tufts University, an infant cannot be spoiled. Infants need all the love, care and sustenance to build the feeling that the world is a safe place. However, research shows that parents who respond quicker to the baby’s needs are happier and more independent because the concept of “trust” was developed.

Hence, it is important to provide a positive and safe environment as early as pregnancy. Based on research, a fetus experiences what a mother feels which can influence the development of the brain and nervous system. In other words, positive or negative energy is transferred to the baby even when inside the tummy.

What makes a spoiled child?

It is important to provide relief and calmness to your child every time s/he throws a fit. As a parent, you need to strike a balance. Here are signs that will help you distinguish whether you’re spoiling your kid or not.

  • When the tantrums become age-inappropriate.Again, tantrums for 2-3-year-olds are normal, but not for 6-year-olds.
  • When the child is too dependent on the parents. Kids need to be independent as they grow older. They also need to learn to be comfortable around other people.
  • When the child insists on certain meals only. Unless the child has special dietary needs, s/he should eat whatever is on the table.

 The Terrible Two’s

Two years old is the time where your child is more observant on everything around him/her. While you may be impressed with the development, two years old is a time where s/he knows nothing but “no” and tantrums. Experts say that tantrums are part of a child’s development. Every scream, cry and “fit” is the child’s way of communicating to the adults that they are scared or under stress. It is a time where kids are starting to differentiate themselves by saying “no.” At this point, don’t set limits yet but don’t give in to the demands all the time.

Therefore, it is important to provide a calming response from parents or professional childcare attendants. Through repetition – getting upset, being soothed and calming – the child will learn to soothe themselves in a healthy way.

How to raise an “unspoiled child”

To prevent a spoiled child, it is important to start as early as toddler years. Here’s what you can do as a parent.

  • Explain the importance of safety. At the same time, explain what should and should not be done in terms of safety.
  • Reinforce positive social behaviour. Teach your kids to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you.’
  • Explain the importance of what you’re doing in a calm manner. Talking to them calmly instead of losing your temper can make a difference. At the same time, explain the values you are trying to instil on them so they can understand.
  • Be consistent. If you say “no TV,” then mean it.

Strike a balance between what’s right and not. By understanding your child and setting reasonable limits, your child will grow up to be an independent and loving person.