A.F. asks from Waterford, WI on April 29, 2008
I Think My 7 Year Old Is Spoiled Rotten!
We are a normal middle class family, nothing fancy. For some reason my child has it in her head that she does not have enough. She is constantly complaining about everything that she doesn't have or doesn't get to do. She has become very disrespectful toward us, her brother and her friends. She has started whining, throwing tantrums and yelling at us. We have tried every form of discipline from grounding(from friends, tv, computer, toys) to taking away certain privileges, but her attitude has gotten worse. She is a great kid at school, for the exception of talking too much every now and then. I am looking for some ideas on how to teach my child to be thankful for what she has and realize that there are children in this world that have it alot tougher than she does. I feel like I am a good person, with good values and try to teach my children the same, but somewhere we have gone wrong. I don't want my child growing up thinking that she is "entitled" to everything. Thanks in advance for any input.
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
I want to thank everyone for the over-whelming response. I got some great advice.
We immediately took action. We had her clean out her room, anything that had not been played with recently was taken out and was taken to the cancer patients at Children's Hospital. My husband and I also agreed that we would not buy things for her while we are out at the store. We also told our family members what we were trying to do, and asked that they not buy her anything else as well. I have also shown her some "tough love", she is not catered to like she was before, and I have also brought back time out for her. I thought that she was too old for time out, it turns out it was one of the best things I have done. The amount of whining has gone way down, and there have not been any tantrum or yelling. We are constantly having conversations about less fortunate people and are always letting her know how lucky she is to have a roof over her head and people that love her. It is far from over but we are headed in the right direction. Thanks again.
G.S. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
Children love stories, and they can learn through them. Please tell her other people's stories. Tell her my story how I grew up having to make my own toys. My boys love it, and every now and then will come up with a toy they made. I tell them how I ate rice and beans everyday.
Please do intervene right now so that she won't become a runaway teenager who feels she can find bigger and better things elsewhere because she is not happy at home.
C.G. answers from Jacksonville on April 30, 2008
Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. I can't tell you how much seeing how bad others have it will help put her on the right track. I mean really doing it, not being a socialite as you do it. Really let her see how much worse she could have it. It's a good thing to start now, because my son is 14 and he is barely getting it. On the bright side my other son is 7 and he is benefiting from seeing the homeless and what they don't have.
L.D. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
I would take her to a shelter where she would be able to see how the children are so grateful for all that they are given...First prior to viait i would have her box up clothes and toys she has no interest in(gently used) and take with her....You and all family members need to be on same page as far as responding to her behavior...
C.F. answers from Dallas on April 29, 2008
My daughter is 7 (almost 8) and we went threw this issue as well. I finally had to sit her down and ask her "why do you think you need to have more and why do you think you don't have enough". She finally told me it was because kids at her school had made comments towards her saying hateful things like "you don't have one of these, what's wrong with you". At that point I realized that it wasn't so much that she wanted the items it was she didn't want people to talk bad about her or treat her differently. I told her that threw life you will always meet people who think they are better than you because they have something you don't. It doesn't change the fact that you are an amazing person. I told her the next time the kids at school asked if she had something they did to tell them "Nope, I don't want/need one because I have tons of other things I would play with more". After that talk things got a little better, she says there are still some kids who are ugly about it but that's a fact of life. I don't blame the kids for being that way, it's all they know (which is unfortunate).
I've read over what everyone has recommended and have to say I agree with some things but not all. For example it would be a great idea to have her get into some sort of charity/volunteer program, however I would be careful where you do this at. Not all places are safe for children her age. I don't agree with pack up everything and give it away, you've spent your hard earned money on those things and unless she doesn't use them it would be a waste of your money. I have in the past taken everything out of my daughter's room, boxed it up and put it in the garage. She then had to earn her toys back (not with chores because that's something she has to do period). The only way she got them back was by doing a RAK (random act of kindness).
I wish you the best of luck and I hope that your daughter is not having kids be mean to her like mine did.
2 moms found this helpful
L.H. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
I really like all of the ideas everyone has given you (especially Connie's idea of earning back things by doing random acts of kindness! I love it!).
I don't have too much else to add, but just wanted to offer that I think it is a pretty normal stage. My 8-year-old daughter is also going through a difficult period. Her thing is not so much wanting "things," but complaining, being negative, picking on her siblings, finding fault, arguing, etc., and I do think it is a pretty normal developmental phase at this age. I have talked to many of her friends' moms and it seems that almost all are dealing with something along these lines. Not that that makes it OK, of course, and we still have to deal with it, but it makes me feel better to know that I'm not the only one dealing with this and I haven't "ruined" her or spoiled her or negelected her moral education, that it's something she'll grow out of if we work on it. To reinforce that belief -- I also have an 11-year-old daughter, and she used to be nearly impossible and make me want to run away from home daily :), and now she is generally very grateful and generous and sweet.
Hang in there with the consistency and demonstration of your values, and she'll come around. Just the fact that you're putting thought into this shows that it is something you care about, and she'll pick up on it eventually.
1 mom found this helpful
M.M. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
There is a book by about entitled kids that I read after the love and logic series. It was helpful. When my son went through this we took EVERYTHING out of his room, including furniture. We left a mattress. He had to earn his pillow, furniture, toys, books, everything back. We talked about how he doesnt "deserve" anything without participating in the climate of the house. We also didnt let him be with the family if he couldnt be basicly kind...
I know it may be too extreem and it is a lot of work but it was a big learning experiance for him. The things he didnt want bad enough to earn back I had him take to good will. That made him feel good.
If you are going to do this take everything away while he is not there. You need to try and be non emotional and matter of fact.
Hope this helps...M.
1 mom found this helpful
T.T. answers from Dallas on April 29, 2008
Let her help you deliver meals to shut ins...See if you could visit children that want to be adopted...Take her to visit the elderly in assisted living homes...have her do volunteer work at a church, helping other families clean, paint, fix, etc. their homes...Just some suggestions...I happen to agree with the other mom too...let her keep 1 or 2 things and give the rest away...tough love, better now when it's not too bad.
Good luck - I'll say some prayers for you both!!
1 mom found this helpful
L.G. answers from Dallas on May 03, 2008
To put it to you the way the older generation would say, "When you spare the rod, you spoil the child". A good old fashioned spanking just might cure your 7 year old. Try it, you might like it!
J.W. answers from Dallas on April 29, 2008
I agree that working a dinner to serve at a homeless shelter or time at CCA pantry may do something to see that she does have enough--lots of children would love what she gets to throw away.
Had the same issue with my daughter and observing some others less fortunate helped.
T.H. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
You didn't say if your son does the same thing or not. My guess is that something else is going on to upset her. You may want to try and talk to her when she seems to be in a decent mood. Take her to a park and spend time with her, try to get her to talk about her life at school. Other than that, you may want to take her some place where she can get a reality check about other people's lives.
M.C. answers from Dallas on April 30, 2008
I'm sorry that you're having to deal with this. Personally, I think alot of it is age. She's got the gimmies. Does she have to do chores? and help pay with her own money to get extra things that she might want? I know that I was raised that way and it really helped instill into me the value of a dollar and that in order to get something we want we have to work for it. And then you still might not get it. I saw some of the other posts regarding having her volunteer at the hospital etc.. she's too young. But...there are usually alot of opportunities around the holidays for families to "adopt" another family in need that you could all participate in. Also, check with your church. Often the mission ministries has something going on that she could participate in. I also know that Girl Scouts does alot of volunteer work that is age appropriate and it's with other kids her age. I hope this helps. Hopefully, your daughter is just going through a phase and will outgrow it but at the same time it's wonderful to get the whole family involved with volunteering.