2. Give that kid everything she wants, when she wants it. Don’t make your kid wait for anything. “No” is not an option, especially if she throws a tantrum. And God forbid you not get her the new iPhone. All 8 year olds need an iPhone!
3. Don’t make him follow any rules. If he misbehaves, just complain and whine, maybe yell, but don’t follow through with any consequences.
4. Placate her. Don’t allow her to have any bad feelings such as anger, disappointment, frustration, or sadness. If she does, buy her something to make it better. Plus, it takes too much energy to help her work through her emotions.
5. Rescue him from all responsibility. If there is something that he needs to do (homework, project, chores, detention, etc…), you do it for him. Your child cannot handle the daily challenges of life. If he steals something, don’t make him return it - just hide it for him (believe me, I’ve seen it plenty of times).
6. Allow her to disrespect you. If she talks back to you, cusses at you, or ignores your directions, just let it go. Whine, complain, maybe yell, but don’t hold her accountable. Your baby has a right to express her feelings…even at the expense of others.
7. Never give him honest feedback about his mistakes, efforts, or performance. Only tell him how amazing he is and that everything he does is perfect. Your baby is too fragile, and will not benefit from the truth.
8. Undermine the other parent’s attempts to hold him accountable (if there is another parent around). If the mother or father says “no”, make sure that you say “yes”!
9. Make it known that the whole world revolves around your kid. Not just your world, THE WHOLE WORLD!
10. Whenever they disappoint you, take it personal…because it’s really all about your feelings in the first place, right?
Some of the most difficult families that I’ve worked with in counseling are cases involving a spoiled kid and passive parent. These are cases in which the parent(s), usually the mother, have created a monster due to their inability to say “no” and sticking to it. This has less to do with the child, and more to do with the parent’s own emotional issues. Parents who create monsters tend to be guilty, anxious, depressed, narcissistic, or just don’t know any better.
For guilty parents, it is too painful for them to see their kid upset or angry. These are enablers who feel responsible for making everything better. There may be a history of substance abuse, divorce, or other issues that the parent is feeling guilty about, and therefore, overcompensating. Anxious parent can’t stand feeling out of control, so they placate. They don’t have the composure or resolve to deal with tantrums or emotional intensity in general. Some depressed parents just don’t have the energy to deal with their kids, so they buy them shit. Narcissistic parents want to be liked and adored by their kids so much, that they sacrifice respect to get a temporary smile. A good majority of parents who create monsters just don’t know any better. They are actually doing the best they can, with what they know. These are often very young parents who don’t have wisdom or patience to set limits and teach life lessons. Or, they are older parents who don’t have the energy.
These mons…, uhhh, kids are brought to me at various ages: 5, 8, 13, even 17 years old. By the time the kids are in high school, it’s too late. They are already spoiled rotten and believe they are entitled the world, without having to give anything. Getting them to understand otherwise is a very frustrating task. Equally as challenging, is helping the parents to modify their parenting styles. They carry their own emotional baggage that is decades old and don’t see their role in the child’s behavior. This gives me absolutely nothing to work with. To the parent’s disappointment, there is no magical pill or therapeutic wizardry that reverses the monster curse. I’m forced to let them know that their kid will have to learn the hard way. And life itself is the toughest, but most effective teacher.