All children are prone to tantrums, whining and attempts to get things done their way by crying and showing signs of displeasure. But how much is too much? How do you know if your child has crossed the line and you’ve raised a spoilt brat?
Tantrum kings and queens
You’ve probably cringed whenever you see frustrated parents trying to placate their wailing kids in the shopping centers. There are moments when your child would scream at you for something and you realise things aren’t that different afterall. Tantrum queens and kings would pout, wail, cry, yell, and throw themselves on the floor to get what they want.
What you can do: Be firm, and say “no”. It is best to nip the issue in the bud, before he learns that acting that way will always get him what he wants. Committing to the decision to refuse despite the tears, screaming and thrashing might be difficult but your child needs to see that you won’t back down.
They terrorise you or others by resorting to violence and inflicting pain by grabbing, snatching, hitting or pinching, and punching or kicking. It is likely that they’ve learnt that the best way to get what they want is to instil fear in others.
What you can do: Do not hope that your child will outgrow this “phase” because what he needs is firm disciplining on your end to stop violent and aggressive behaviour. Be firm and consistent with the consequences, and explain why violence is not the soluti
on to problems.
Respecting rules and boundaries is often a characteristic that is learned through social interactions and discipline, and it is common for children to struggle to comply. But if they seem to frequently act in ways to test them, both in school, at home and in play settings with others, then you need to step in, and fast.
What you can do: Firm and consistent discipline is needed. Explain to him thoroughly, and give concrete examples of why certain boundaries cannot be crossed. Make sure to focus on the process, and not the bottom line; it might take him some time to understand why he needs to behave in a pro-social way.
Me, myself and I
It is not uncommon, and even expected, for kids to see things only from their perspective but with some kids, they make egocentricity an art, where they refuse to be part of a group or activity, share things, or even help others. Brattiness is different from being shy.
What you can do: Start from the home. Give him opportunities to share things at home, and help with simple chores around the house. Get them to understand the importance of sharing, caring and service to others. Encourage him to join others and be part of activities in school.
They constantly like to show off what they have and what they can do. This sort of brattiness is usually derived from an inflated sense of self, a sense of entitlement and overindulgence. They also look down on others and aren’t afraid to show their boredom and displeasure in others.
What you can do: Talk to them about how their behaviour makes others feel and how their behaviour might affect their relationship with others, and expose them to others who are not as lucky as they are. Start creating a reward system where they earn little rewards like an extra hour of TV after they’ve helped with the chores, but ensure that they know these are privileges and not entitlements. Don’t succumb to their every whim and fancy.