How is a single dad to manage when his child is being spoiled in the other home? And how can he learn how to deal with spoiled kids and put them back onto the right path? Any time there are different parenting styles in separate homes, there is bound to be conflict. Do you think your son or daughter is being spoiled or is learning not to appreciate what we are given?
A child does not learn to be spoiled overnight, so it will be a process to turn your child back. When I ran a small group for single fathers, I would remind the guys of the importance of consistency and stability in their own house. If this is a challenge you currently face, here are 6 ideas for how to deal with spoiled kids.
1. Love and affirm them.
Before you begin any sort of talk about life with your kids, always affirm them as your son or daughter. Be sure they know that because they are loved, you want to talk with them about something that is on your mind and important to you. This sets the tone and foundation for the talk, and the right approach can lessen any confusion that may follow. It also builds your child’s confidence in your relationship.
2. Don’t slam the other parent.
Be especially mindful of how you are processing the situation and watch what you say about it around your children. A good portion of your children’s identity comes from their perceptions of the other parent. You don’t want to ruin that relationship. Even if your child is not around, it’s good practice to guard your heart and tongue when talking to others about the situation to avoid letting anger and bitterness creep into your life.
3. Don’t contribute to guilt.
Your child loves both of his or her parents and doesn’t have to feel guilty for receiving something from them. If they feel guilt, that’s not their fault and it needs to be addressed in a way they can understand. If you must talk to them about all the excess they receive in the other home, choose your words carefully. Think of the upcoming trip or the new toy they are genuinely excited about. The wrong words from us can be devastating to their excitement and kill their joy.
4. Talk with them about money and possessions.
As fathers, we have great influence in steering our kids toward effective money management. Dave Ramsey suggests that when talking to your children about money, it is best to start slowly and talk values, not figures. He also recommends having your children sit in on family budget meetings and help with planning family goals.
5. Don’t compete with the other parent.
Unfortunately, this is something I excelled in when I was a single father. I often found myself trying to one-up my daughter’s mom with gifts and acts of affection. Once I was able to slow down enough to enjoy the time I had with my daughter, my eyes were opened to multiple traditions and little quirks that were special between me and her. Today, we have plenty of memory-makers that are still ours.
6. Model responsible money management.
Stay consistent with the way you manage your finances and lead by example. Kids are naturally programmed to want stuff and it is OK to have some spontaneous fun, as long as all the bills are paid first. If something is not in the budget, be honest with your child about it. This is a great opportunity to teach the “needs” versus “wants” lesson.Your parenting today affects what sort of adult your child becomes tomorrow.
A co-parenting expert and friend of mine suggests the acronym T.E.A.M.M. (The End Adult Matters Most). It means that your parenting today affects what sort of adult your child becomes tomorrow. Keep this in mind when approaching delicate talks with your children. You cannot control the other parent, but you have complete control over how you react to what she does. What sort of impact will your approach today have on your son or daughter 5, 10, or even 20 years down the line?
Sound off: Do you know how to deal with spoiled kids? Share your suggestions.