Parent to Parent: Help for spoiled kids | Parenting


By Jodie Lynn Parent to Parent

Q • How can we teach our spoiled children empathy, gratitude and respect for other people?

From a reader • Stop buying them everything they want. Stop giving them money and then expecting them to save. My ex-husband spoiled our twin boys by constantly buying them things. Much of it was sports paraphernalia. At first, I thought it was cool, then when he would go out of town for two to three weeks, they would actually miss that instant gratification of receiving something new and I just could not afford it.

They couldn’t accept that I couldn’t get them every little thing that they wanted, and it made for a lot of resentment toward me. Once they got older, they understood more about material things, especially after their dad remarried and their stepmother had two boys of her own. Now, they are both married with kids and work hard at not splurging on everything that comes out for their kids and try their best to keep things in check and surprise them only for special occasions, like birthdays or holidays. Be consistent in your rules with your children and teach them to give to those that are less fortunate. — Jean W. in Fort Wayne, Indiana

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From Jodie Lynn • Most kids, but certainly not all, just have it easier today. Many don’t have chores and have very little expectations for responsibility from their parents. In fact, we could discuss this for weeks and weeks and blame all kinds of things for this current dilemma.

Instead, let’s focus on the ways in which we can take action. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to keep up with what their friends have or will have. This sort of social pressure is all based on material things which usually results in a simple but debilitating disaster: the more you get them, the more they want. In other words, they expect to get whatever they desire.

Begin by teaching your kids the value of money by giving them chores, rules, a saving plan and maybe start them off with giving to a charity. You can also have your children volunteer at nursing homes and animal shelters, helping the elderly in your own neighborhood, doing things for their grandparents, etc.

Teach them to say thank you and be sure to do it yourself. Avoid piling on false praise. Make sure they mind their manners and treat people with respect. Emphasize why it is important to practice what you preach.

There are no more mask mandates at my children’s schools; how’s this going to help? My kids are continuing to wear masks but have already gotten bullied and teased about it. Exactly how am I going to handle this crisis, and what can I do to help them feel good about wearing their masks?

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email: [email protected], or go to, which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.


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