There are many methods that even well-meaning parents use to raise spoiled brats instead of wonderful, creative, well-behaved, civil, strong children. The fundamental factor in raising arrogant, selfish, nasty brats is their parents’ consistency in attitudes, approach and actions. The underlying attitude that creates demanding, bullying tyrants is that if children are never thwarted or forced to do what they don’t want to, they’ll be more creative and happy, and their self-esteem will be higher. This attitude is very prevalent among the helping professions; especially therapists and teachers.
What I say will anger people who think in black-while, all-none. Those are people who think that the only choices are total freedom and praise, or total repression and beatings. How silly to think that way.
What do you see other people doing to train their children badly?
My top 10 attitudes, approaches, techniques to create willful, domineering brats and teenagers are:
- Never correct them or say, “No.” Help them think they’re sensitive, weak and fragile. Be afraid that if their feelings are hurt, they’ll never get over it.
- Always give them everything they desire. Don’t teach them that they might not get what they desperately want at the moment and that they can still be happy. Give them control of every decision. Never force them to do what you want. Instead, always try to get them to understand that you’re right so they’ll willingly do what you want them to.
- Never show displeasure or tell them that they failed to meet your high expectations. Always tell them that their efforts are always good enough; no matter how good or pathetic the results.
- Always tell them that they should succeed instantly or that what they can’t do, isn’t important. Also, tell them that hard work and struggle aren’t important. Blame everything that they don’t like on other people (bad friends, bad teachers, bad schools, bad society), not on their insufficient or mediocre effort. Always tell them that the world is supposed to be fair and make them happy.
- Always let them misbehave without correction or consequences, instead of calmly applying consequences whether they like it or not. Hold your tongue or repeatedly tell them not to do something, but don’t actually do anything effective until you can’t stand it anymore and you throw a fit.
- Always give in to their fits and temper tantrums in order to get them to stop. Train them that you’ll give them whatever they want if they throw fits in public.
- Always excuse their bad behavior because they’re “cute” or “creative.”
- Always allow them to avoid chores or helping out because it’s no fun for them.
- Be afraid that if they’re angry, they won’t love you. Always try to be their confidant and best friend.
- Never smack their bottoms or grab them to make your point or to let them know that sometimes they will do what you want, no matter what.
To raise spoiled brats, consistently give in to them and excuse their bad behavior. Of course that doesn’t prepare them to succeed in the real-world they’ll face as adults.
If you start these approaches with infants, you can create manipulative, demanding teenage bullies who think that they’re entitled to everything they want and you’re supposed to provide it. They’re the kind of children who may be living at home when they’re 40. And you’ll wonder why, deep down, you don’t like them any more than they like you.
But don’t go to the other extreme and beat them into submission.
Think of the qualities you want them to develop and make sure they have many opportunities to practice these qualities. For example:
- Will, self-mastery, courage and discipline.
- High energy, emphasis on action and seeking solutions instead of blame.
- Grit, determination, dedication, drive, commitment and focus.
- Persistence, perseverance, patience, endurance and tenacity.
- Resilience, flexibility and humor.
- Comfort in ambiguity and productive inconsistency.
- Heroism in the face of discouragement so you’ll treat obstacles like speed bumps.
- Learning from great models, heroes, mentors and coaches.
- Taking calculated risks and making the most of opportunities and luck.
Without your guidance and discipline, they won’t magically develop those qualities when they’re 25.
You’ll find examples in my books and CDs of case studies, “How to Stop Bullies in their Tracks” and “Parenting Bully-Proof Kids.” Of course, coaching can help you design tactics that fit your specific situation.