What do television shows like “Nanny 911” and MTV's “Sweet 16”, have in common? The answer is spoiled children. When watching these shows, the viewer is given an uncanny look into the lives of some of the most spoiled children in America. What exactly though, are the causes of such audacious behavior? For one, many parents are poor disciplinarians. Rules cannot exist without enforcement. Parents need to take on an authoritative role without being seen as a tiger parent. They also need to reward positive behavior and have consequences in place for negative behavior. Many parents though, do not have such consequences in place. Rather than rewarding positive behavior, they continue to reward negative behavior.
In order for discipline to be effective, it has to be positive (Healay par. 6). Parents should maintain a supportive attitude when it comes to disciplining their children. They must be careful, however, for too much praise can create a delusional child with an inflated ego—especially when parents come to the rescue of their offspring time and time again. The parent should teach the child self-accountability. Children need to learn that even at an early age, they are accountable for their own actions, their own behavior. This would effectively curb any defiant behavior both in the home and at school. There is no doubt that the roots of self-accountability lay at home. Though self-accountability needs to be enforced at home, it also needs to be enforced outside the home at school.
Regardless of the home environment, however, children can continue to draw attention to themselves in order to fulfill their own, selfish desires. Overindulgence on the part of the parents of these children is chiefly to blame. One example of this is Lindsey Lohan who, as a child star, was overindulged by both her parents and the media. Certainly, her meteoric rise to early stardom had a hand in her over-drinking, drug use, and other illegal behavior. Justin Bieber may also be a victim of poor parental guidance, as evidenced by his out of control behavior in the media and tabloids. Had both Lohan and Beiber had consequences for negative behavior while growing up, perhaps both would have had better self-accountability as adults—instead though, as adults, both had unlimited access to large amounts of money that they abuse. Their overindulgence as children inevitably resulted in their overindulgence as adults.
Overindulgence, though a chief cause of negative behavior in children, is by far not the only cause. Defiance in children is another obstacle that must be overcome when dealing with spoiled children. Ideally, parents should equip their children with the life skills that are essential in holding down steady employment and dealing with the day to day challenges that adult life brings. Parenting, a difficult task in and of itself, is further compounded by children who simply are not taught that defiance is an unacceptable behavioral trait. Toddlers for example, who demonstrate defiant behavior by biting or hitting, need to have these behaviors immediately corrected and reshaped into more positive outlets. Parenting, of course, does not end there, and these problems may persist throughout adolescence and reach a zenith in the “dreaded” teenage years. Curbing defiant behavior is essential to maintaining critical to relationships, especially with parents, teachers, and peers.
Some causes of negative behavior in children though, cannot always be explained, at least from a parent’s perspective. Toddlers, for instance, are not necessarily being defiant on purpose. At such a young age, toddlers do not possess the same communicative language as adults. Crying may not be a defiant action insomuch as a physical manifestation of anger or urgency. There is not always an explanation for certain behaviors. When a child is obviously being defiant though, such behavior is to be treated with positivity on the part of the parent. Perhaps, in doing so, that child will grow up to be anything but a brat.
Healay, Maureen. "Creative Development." Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 3 May 2009. Web. 17 Mar 2014. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-development/200905/positive-parenting>.