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Are Your Kids Spoiled?


On my Smockity Facebook page [2], I recently posted about the article, "Why Are American Kids So Spoiled? [3]" and it garnered a lot of interesting comments [4].

First of all, readers noticed that the author of the article referenced how humans and apes evolved 1.8 million years ago and she has also authored some articles which express other viewpoints with which I do not agree.

For all I know she may very well be an atheist who is having an extra marital affair with her plumber, too. I don't know anything about her politics or what she thinks about global warming.

What I do know is that in this one article, with the exception of the bit about evolution, I believe she hit the elephant in the room squarely on the head.

She writes of an anthropological study done with families of different countries and cultures. In American families, it was noticed that children commonly whined to get their parents to do simple tasks they could do themselves, like untying shoes. In other countries the children were generally more self sufficient and better behaved.

"With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world."

It was noted that non-American cultures expect their children to contribute to the family by doing work while American children expect to be served by the adults.

One of the Facebook commenters divulged the following:

"My mom did everything for me, gave me whatever I wanted, gave in to my demands, and demanded absolutely no respect from me. I struggle daily to overcome feelings of entitlement, selfishness and laziness."

Could this be the root of the problem?

Now, we in the Smockity Family make plenty of mistakes, and I'm sure we have plenty in store, but one thing we make sure our children know how to do is work [5].

From about age 2 on, they each have daily chores [6] that we do not ask pretty please or pay them for. They do not get stickers or snow cones for doing their chores. They get a good feeling inside from being a productive member of a family.

Occasionally we hear objections like, "I didn't make this mess," or "I cleaned this last time," to which the most common response from me is "I don't care."

I am even cold-hearted enough to delineate to my children that I don't care if:

We also make our children wait until the elderly have gone through the line during potlucks at church. And we don't even care if they whine that they are hungry, either.

As a result of these heartless and cruel practices, our children know we mean business if we tell them to get busy on a task. They are even excellent (usually) about doing things that need to be done without waiting to be told. And they realize that they are not more important than other people.

They will often change a diaper, load the dishwasher, vacuum, and do laundry without the promise of a reward or an assignment on a chore chart. [8]

I don't believe our kids have succumbed to the condition that is taking this country by storm, being spoiled. But this was hard won and is an ongoing battle, as children, like all humans, have a sinful nature and tend toward being self-centered.

Our duty as parents is to make sure this self-centered tendency is not allowed to flourish, but instead replaced with a work ethic that will serve them well throughout life.

Do you think your children are spoiled? What actions do you take to make sure your children are not spoiled?