English 101 – Essay 3
PARENTS SPOILING THEIR CHILDREN
OBJECTIVE GLANCE AT SOMETHING PROBLEMATIC
With the advent of
technology, social media, living quality and even ideology, one person needs to
be taught in certain ways to fit in this complex society. Therefore, parenting
plays a vital role in a child’s character development as people of this generation
are getting more and more sensitive. According to Chris Queen, the author of
the article “Why Have Americans Become So
Sensitive,” “In 21st century America, we suffer a sort of tyranny of the
offended, having to walk on eggshells everywhere we go… Everyone must tiptoe
around in order to avoid setting off the alarms of the offended.” This contributes to parenting by suggesting
that we need to pay attention to people’s feelings or in this case, those of
Should our children be more likely to be sensitive in
this period of time, does this mean that
we should praise our children with both words and gifts? A clinical associate
professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University named
Kenneth Barish has given an educated view on the subject, “Yes, children need
praise… Praise is ubiquitous in our adult lives. No matter how
self-reliant we have become, the opinions of others (especially the opinions of
people we look up to and admire) matter… Why should children be
different?” Which means that praising a child is
needed in his/her childhood as it still is for us adults.
However, although such act of rewarding has proven to be
necessary, it can also be overdone. According to Julie Suratt: “We’re lavishing our kids
with unwarranted praise, trying to be their BFFs instead of their parents, and
giving them anything they ask for.” In other words, many parents are
getting too comfortable providing their kids with too much of the things they
want such as compliments, toys, etcetera in
order to obtain their “love.” This act is widely known as “spoiling the kids.” According
to the article “Spoiled children syndrome” by Bruce J. McIntosh, and it brings
about numerous catastrophic problems for both the kids and the parents such as
the children are unpleasant to be around people, even their loved ones, hurting
their character development.
In 2017, there are 73.8 million children in the United
States by estimate, which is only about 23% of our population, yet they are
100% our future. Therefore, the issue of children being spoiled is a major concern for the American society that
needs to be tackled seriously. The aim of this report is to propose some ways
to address and solve this issue efficiently
in order to help our children live a good
life while getting prepared for their upcoming adulthood.
Preventing parents from spoiling a young mind has always
been one of my major goal in life, whether is it on a big and widely considered scale or a small part in my days of life. A part of me wants to ensure
that the future of ours (as I have mentioned above) to be bright and filled
with honest and civilized citizens, those that will shape the world to become a
better place, for every one of us. In other words, I put my time into writing
this paper so that hopefully, it will contribute to improving our community.
On the other hand, the
other part of me considers this task to be something personal. I have
the luxury to have been born in a socially recognized, highly educated family
that has been financially comfortable to support everything I wanted to do. My
parents are considerate people who love me unconditionally. They listen to my
goals, comfort me, ease my pain and teach me valuable lessons, they have always been there for me. Yet, both of them, despite coming from money,
experienced a hard and poor life during
after the Vietnam War. They learned how to make
money in such hard way that they believe I deserve better. Needless to say, I was raised unknowing of the challenging part of life (that my mom
and dad blocked out of my life). Logically, I was shocked when I first entered
the real world outside. Back then I cannot cook myself, did not know how to fix
my stuff or even do chores, I was not prepared
for life despite my considered education background and my parents’ money.
Thus, I did what my parents were avoiding
me from doing, I learned life the hard
way as many did and as many will do. I
wanted to help stopping people creating
more…older version me.
YOU SHOULD CARE
I have seen people
using the word “spoiled” to describe kids all around English speaking countries
and in tons of article. At the moment, a quick google search “spoiling
children” would provide at least 13,600,000 results including websites
discussing stopping the spoiled children rate. Therefore, I believe it is fair
to assume that bad parenting has been a
wide-known and widely-debated issue making it influential and alarming.
That being said, do we have enough
evidence to prove that spoiling our children is a problem. And should it be,
where does it come from? Is it a severe
one? What we do know is that there can be two
types of inappropriate treatment leading to spoiled children.
1. Bad non-physical treatment
For one thing, Kelly Wallace, the author of the article
“Raising spoiled kids? How to set limits” suggests that the presence of spoiled
kids has got to do with helicopter parents, those can be defined by “their tendency to hover close to their child,
ready to come to the rescue at the first sign of difficulty or disappointment”
(Meno). Chris Meno, a psychologist at
Indiana University, concludes that this
overprotective type of parenting hurts a child’s growing process, making them
rely on their parents on making decisions and ultimately be “non-independent”. Young Joel, who teaches at Wayne State
University, added to these effects a proven connection between helicopter
parenting and mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. This can be
interpreted as spoiling children might affect their psychological
well-being. Additionally, both Wallace and McIntosh announced that spoiled
children are difficult to satisfy. In my
opinion, this is a major problem for not
being able to feel good with what oneself has is similar to forming
Furthermore, not only would spoiling a kid harm him/her
psychologically but also creates obstacles preventing them from getting
prepared for the difficulties in future. An article named “6 Things
Overprotective Parents Do Wrong” openly criticizes overprotective parents by
giving out consequences of their practicing this type of parenting. For
instance, parents limit their children from
taking risk (because they do not want
their kids to be harmed) would likely to
result in fearful and fragile young adults being afraid of any challenges.
can also be said for parents who spoil
their kids by overpraising them. Lisa Firestone, a clinical psychologist, has
reported that praising can be as harmful as it could be necessary. Overpraising
causes children to have a false impression of
themselves and their lives such as believing in an
easy future or that they have to do something great to obtain something
in life. I myself was a victim of
overpraising. Like many, my parents treat me as someone special, but perhaps
they have treated me as if my future is to consists wealth and greatness. As a
consequence, I was consumed by the idea
of “making an impact”, thus, everywhere I
go, I had to be a figure of influence and authority. Supposedly you can
imagine, I failed to do so many times and had myself disappointed in myself over and over again just because I
could not influence people when I was only there for one month.
In short, accurate to what was written in McIntosh’s, children being spoiled would suffer the results from
“narcissism, self-centered and the lack of consideration for others.” One trait
that caught my eyes was their continually
asking for gratification. At the beginning,
I was skeptical because I thought that it is the crave and the wait for the
rewards that actually stimulate interest.
Yet I indeed was wrong, according to
CassandarReport, about 56% of kids want instant-gratification.
bar graph indicates that the majority of children have grown impatient and
thus, being tired of having to wait for a reward. This is what I imagine a spoiled kid would be like, unable to sit
still if he/she does not have in desire.
However, never before in my wildest dream would I believe that it is the
majority of our children that are having characteristics of a spoiled
addition to inappropriate non-physical treatments, a more well-known way to spoil a kid is to buy them everything they want,
according to the article “Spoiled Rotten” published by Boston magazine. Julie
Suratt, the Arthur of this article, concerns that we have lost control of our
minds and start to “bribe” our children. Parents believe that by giving
children what they want either toys or even money (a dad paid his son 5 dollars
for having goals), they will help motivate
their children to be competitive (Surratt).
Another example would be unnecessarily making the kids food until they are
teenagers enables their helplessness and kill off independence (Alter).
current time, spoiling kids with gifts could go unhealthy. This is due to
the fact that most kids (from 6 to 12 years old) are likely to want an
electronic device for gaming purposes as a present (reported by Nielson).
creates various problems. If it is not one way to hurt the parents financially,
it can possibly pose threads for children
using electronic devices including weak eye-sight, self-isolation, radioactive,
etcetera making this one way to spoil children both physically and mentally. That aside, I think
that it is quite a sad thing that parents nowadays need to have an Ipad to
“provide happiness” to their children. If technology replaces parents in actual
parenting, then what would be the role of the grown-ups?
DIFFERENT VIEW ON THE PROBLEM AND THE CAUSE
On the other hand, while these
acts of parents are believed to spoil their children, they are justified by
many studies, arguments making the problem a widely debated issue. For example,
praising, either by giving gifts, money or compliments, can be harmful to
children as we have discussed so far. Yet,
many believe that it also brings about positive results. Doctor Kenneth Barish
argues that praise is not only helpful but also necessary in constructing a child’s character
development. He believes that “praise is more like an essential nutrient…We
need it especially in moments of discouragement and self-doubt.” In other
words, praise plays a role in preventing disappointments rather than just
purely creates more them. In fact, this is the reason why parents practiced
verbal praising in the first place according to Lauren Lowry, Hanen SLP and clinical writer, “after the publication of
“The Psychology of Self-Esteem” in 1969, which suggested that many of the problems of American
society resulted from lack of self-esteem. As a result, praise became a way to
boost children’s self-esteem”. Indeed, we all know how important
recognition is to us, that is why we value trophies, certificates, degrees and compliments. Being recognized for what we
have done is an essential part of our
lives, in my opinion.
regards of praising through gift, an article posted by Bert Gambini Buffalo
points out that giving rewards to kids actually
stimulates their motivation in tasks, especially to those who experience ADHD
(Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Additionally, providing kids money, in particular, helps forming financial managing skills like saving
(Miller). Overall, rewarding is a way to develop
both confidence and independence. Thus,
it contributes in arming children with
necessary mindset and skills for the
perspectives on a single issue seemed to
be reasonably radical and backed up by factual evidence
or credible sources. Therefore, it is hard to estimate where does the line
separating the good and the bad effects
of these parenting types lies. Most would believe that “too much” can be placed at
the border between these two worlds. “Praise can be good, but overpraising or
too much praising is spoiling” can be used to describe the idea. Yet, “too much” is such a vague term and people
interpret it differently. How is “too much”?
need a more defining way to issue the problem properly.
In my opinion, Bruce J. McIntosh did a beautiful job in clarifying the causes
behind parents spoiling children. McIntosh said: “The common misconception is that children are spoiled by overindulgence,
by being given too much, too much time, too much attention, too many
things…Indulging children is one of the joys of being a parent, and when
combined with a positive parental presence in the form of clear expectations
and limits it does not produce unpleasant, demanding children. Indulgence
can result in spoiling when the parent, lacking confidence, time, on energy,
attempts to meet the child’s complex
developmental needs with material gifts and uncritical acceptance while failing
to provide essential guidelines for acceptable behavior.” To put it
differently, spoiling kids is NOT a result of praising and overprotecting but
of doing so without consideration and appropriate manners relative to each
stage of a child’s development. This
opens possibilities to tackle this problem since we know that praising and
overprotecting is not negative as long as
they go with correct teachings and
A problem I had while finding solutions for the problem
is that when it comes to parenting, things are not usually general. In fact, I
think things should not be general at all
for we need guides to be as specific and comprehensible as they could be so
that parents would not make avoidable mistakes. Besides, although children
share multiple similarities, each of them
is a unique individual that needs unique handlings. Therefore, there should not be ONE definite way to treat
children. But again, this raises a problem for me as there are just too much information, too many tips and advice
on the vast internet to be fully included in my papers. Thus, not every
solution tackling the issue would be mentioned
but only those that I have found exclusively practical and meaningful.
a. “Nurturing Independence” by Joel Young
Joel Young from Wayne State University suggests
parents practicing a method called “Nurturing Independence in Children” to
combat this problem. He believes that the first step for parents to stop
spoiling their children is to stop “imposing” their goal into the kids’ lives and start listening to
their dreams, goals. I think that this is a vital
part in both his method and
parenting in general. Sometimes, parents are too rooted in building an ideal
world (in their imagination) for the children that they forget a simple yet important fact that they would not be there for
their children forever.
a mom/dad should never speak for their
child, deal with their relationships for them or decide on behalf of their them
(Young). It is reasonable to say that experienced grown-ups are better at
having conversations and decisions than kids. However, isn’t it the
“experienced” part that makes parents good at talking and If so, it would not
be fair to take away the kids’ opportunities to have experiences in socializing
on their own. These experiences, no matter if they are good or bad, are life
lessons that might not be able to be taught on papers properly but the children
need to obtain them through engaging. This
leads us to the last major point in Young’s solutions, which is not letting
your children escape the consequences of their actions.
In Young’s post, he agrees that it is acceptable to “hire
your child a lawyer if he or she is in legal trouble” but do not help her from
having detention. Which indicates that whether
or not can you help your children is situational, but you should never fully
get them out of the consequences not learning anything. Not every consequence is pleasing or easy to accept and tackle but all of them teaches a deeper lesson about life.
to praise by Susan Newman and Gretchen Rubin
Susan Newman, a social
psychologist, understands that praising is both negative and positive to a child’s development. She supports the
argument that praising can be really effective if done right, therefore, she
conducted a 2-part work filled with instructions to help parents avoid bad
praising and know how praise meaningfully. Her work is not entirely based on
her own experience but rather carries
both feature of a compilation of other
professors’ work and her own knowledge on
the field. That being said, it is
undeniable that her article is helpful and informative.
She mentioned avoiding “hallow compliments” or
compliments that have no meaning to themselves such as “You have done a good
job.” She argues that this is “person
praise” in contrast to the “process praise,”
which is much more useful. A process praise would be something like a
constructive and positive feedback considering both the accomplished side and
the drawbacks of a child’s performance.
Gretchen Rubin gave specific details about ways to praise effectively in general in her “7 Tips
for Giving Effective Praise” article. She believes that a good praise is a
specific and realistic compliment, something non-vague and constructive. Which
beautifully addresses the issue of praising,
which is creating false impression for
praised children. She also mentioned in her paper that obvious praise or praise in person are things that we should avoid.
Instead, we might want to consider “praise people behind their backs” because
it will seem to be more sincere and honest (Rubin).
Imagine a world where
we all stand up against the issue of spoiling kids and contribute in building a better community. May us
acknowledge the importance of our kids and the value of their future, which is
also that of ours. It would be a wonderful
sight, would it not? But this world will never come to be if we decide to do
nothing and let our incapability to control time and ourselves get the best of
us and shatter our tomorrow. I know that I am exaggerating the situation, but
am I? Our world has been so constantly
changing that we have to keep up with its rhythms. Such world of change has
also brought many of us away from our children,
or made us pay too much time influencing their own
life experiences. Therefore, the only way
to save our future is to change ourselves. Learning the tips and advice mentioned in this paper and searching
for those lie far beyond my moderate research will definitely help.
However, I do understand that although many of us are
willing to change our entire way of life for the sake of our children, changing itself is not an easy task. Yet, changing has been a part of human nature.
Take a look at this smart-phone subscriber info-graphic.
This time-series graph indicates that only 7 years ago, only
500 million of us used smartphone but by 2017, this number has risen to 4.5
billion. This marks a remarkable idea
that us human crave changes. Thus, it is realistic for us to change the look of
spoiling children, but we have to start doing it now to hopefully see the
outcome of our action in the near future.
If suddenly follow the methods of Young, Newman and
Rubin is too difficult, then I urge you
to start by doing something simple as having a
talk to your kid this evening or dinner, ask for their dream and goal,
and start helping them and start helping…ourselves.
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Child population: Number of children (In millions) ages 0–17 in the United
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