As parents, we tend to neglect our children’s bratty behavior because they can be so adorable, therefore, we might find it very hard to discipline them. And yes, even the most angelic kids can sometimes act like a brat.
For us, parents, it can be very challenging to handle this type of behavior, since raising a child doesn’t come with instructions. But sometimes things can easily get out of control, and your sweet child can turn into a discipline nightmare. But how do you get back from that and put an end to their bratty behavior once and for all? Well, the answer is simple, you have to change your discipline habits, set rules, and be firm about them.
According to developmental psychiatrist Denis Donovan, M.D., author of “What Did I Just Say!?!” every time your child can make you change your mind about certain rules. those rules will quickly become something they can ignore. Read on to discover the 10 signs your child is a brat and find out how to deal with it!
1. Your child whines
Besides being a very annoying habit, it’s also sanity-threatening. Also, your child might use this persuasive behavior in order to get what they want, and you’ll likely give it to them just because you want them to stop whining.
In fact, this is probably the most used technique among children and they already know that they can get whatever they want from the parents if they just whine a little bit. Even though it’s impossible at times to make your child stop whining, what you can do is let them know that they won’t get what they want if they continue with this behavior. And try your best not to give in, because the minute you do, they will continue to whine in order to get what they want, and you’ll be left exactly where you started.
2. Your child is your boss
No matter how strong, or powerful you might be around other people, including at your workplace, your children will always be your soft spot. While you might not like when other people boss you around, you instantly obey when your kid asks you to do something, and that’s because you love them more than you love yourself.
At the same time, if you do not do something they ask you to do, they might get upset or burst into tears. Or, they might get angry, because they’re not used to not getting something they want.
Therefore, you might feel like agreeing with them or giving them what they want is the easier option in this situation. However, it’s not very wise to do so. As parents, it’s important that we are authority figures for our children, especially when they’re younger. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to what your children have to say every time they make a demand, and learn how to respond properly. Even though they might not be very content with the change in your tactics, they will thank you in the long run, which is all that matters.
3. Your child throws a tantrum in the checkout line
As a parent, you’ll have to deal with a lot of uncomfortable situations, especially when your child throws a tantrum while waiting at the checkout line. Tantrums are every parent’s nightmare, and it’s probably the last thing you would want to deal with in a public place, where there are other people.
Also, tantrums often lead to full-blown meltdowns, so it’s fair to say that parents are heroes for dealing with this type of behavior when it comes to their kids. But learning how to stop this behavior takes a lot of work, and it won’t be easy. The first thing you need to do is make sure your child is fed and well-rested before going to the supermarket, in order to avoid a tantrum from happening. Also, try to prepare them that they will have to wait in line, just like the other customers, even if they don’t like it.
Also, keep reminding them how good they’re doing before heading to the checkout line, and even though they might request candy in exchange for their good behavior, it’s important not to give in, even if it means them not liking it.
It will be hard the first trips to the store, but they will get the idea that stores aren’t Candyland, and they won’t get what they want every time
4. Your child is resisting bedtimes
It’s quite normal for kids to not want to go to bed because they still want to play some more. According to Parents adviser Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., author of Sleeping Through the Night, it’s natural for kids to want to assert their independence, so they likely won’t want to go to bed when they are asked.
“Bedtime battles tend to happen when parents don’t set consistent limits,” says Dr. Mindell. That’s why it’s important not to have your child have their way, and don’t let them stay later than they should, even if they might not like it.
After a while, they will understand that you won’t give in, and bedtime will likely go smoothly. But in order to achieve that, you need to create a bedtime routine for them to follow every night.
Ask them to put on their pj’s at 7 p.m. every night, and then spend half an hour with them reading books or telling bedtime stories. And even though they are a little fussy at first, they will get used to it. Plus, tired kids tend to be more cranky, so sleep is also very important in order to avoid a tantrum.
5. Your child is very picky with food
All kids go through a phase where they feel like only eating pizza and mac and cheese each day every day. However, as a parent, you need to make sure your kid is eating nutritious meals, with protein sources, carbs, and vegetables.
It’s important that you help them understand why healthy food is so important for us all, and try to prevent any bad eating habits from developing. Even though it won’t be easy, since we all know how delicious unhealthy foods are, you mustn’t give in every time your child feels like having ice cream.
Focus on offering your children balanced meals, and allow them to have a treat once in a while, but do not make a habit out of it. Yes, there will be times when your kid will refuse to eat what you offer them, but there’s no need to freak out.
After all, there will be another meal in a few hours, and they will definitely eat if they’re hungry. Also, the hunger will make the food look more appetizing, so chances are they won’t refuse to eat it. Additionally, it’s important not to let your kids eat a lot of snacks before dinner and get full. So resist the temptation of giving them something to snack, and let them eat what you cooked for dinner, instead.
6. Your child doesn’t want to share
It’s normal for kids to go through a phase where they feel like everything is entitled to them, and they don’t want to share. This stage is very common during early developmental stages, and most kids go through it.
However, as a parent, it’s your job to teach them that they should share, as it is an important part of living in a society. Therefore, the next time they cry when someone takes their toy, you can say something like this: “You can play with the truck for a few minutes, then it’s Noah’s turn.”
If your kid still doesn’t want to share their toy even after the 5 minutes are up, take it yourself and give it to the other kid to play with. Also, try to teach your kid that sharing is fun, and they could also share other children’s toys in return.
7. Your child is hitting you or other kids
Hitting is also a normal part of children’s development, and it usually starts after the age of two. However, you should pay very close attention to their aggressive behavior, and they need to understand that hitting other people is wrong and not acceptable.
They need to be taught how to control their impulses, as it is a normal part of growth. According to Edward R. Christophersen, Ph.D., co-author of Parenting That Works: Building Skills That
Last a Lifetime, “When you say to a child, ‘If you hit him again, we’re leaving,’ you’re giving him permission to do it one more time before he gets in trouble.”
So you can understand why this is not the message you want to send to your kid. Instead, never let them get away with hitting other people, not even you. Tell him that hitting hurts, and explain the fact that it is wrong as much as you need to because they will understand at some point. Also, if they hit another child at the playground, it’s important to remove them from the situation immediately and go home. Or, if they hit someone to get their toy, and they end up getting it, make sure to take away their toy, in order to understand that actions have consequences.
8. Your child screams in public all the time
According to Denis Donovan, “An indoor voice is a requirement of civil society—and something every child needs to learn at an early age.” When a child doesn’t get what they want, they often get angry and scream, because that’s the only thing that they can do, since they have no authority.
However, Donavan recommends playing a game called Loud and Quiet. How does it work? When you say ‘loud voice,’ your child has the right to turn the volume up and scream, but when you say ‘quiet voice,’ they have to be quiet because those are the rules.
Try to play this game as often as possible, but not for too long, though.
9. Your child will only do it one way
Maybe your child wants to wear only superhero costumes every day, instead of normal clothes, or they don’t want to eat anything green, and many other such demands. And you might feel like giving in, because it seems like the easiest approach, even though it’s not.
Allowing them to do as they please all the time will hinder their growth. Also, it can discourage flexibility, which is a very important quality for your child in the long run. Therefore, the next time your child wants to do something one way, make sure to present her other alternatives and let them choose what they want.
This will help your child transition faster from a little child to a bigger child, and they will feel like they really have a choice.
10. Your child is acting defiant
Around the age of three, your adorable angel can turn into a stubborn little demon that just doesn’t want to listen to you. The answer to all of your questions and requests will likely be ‘no’ all the time, because children at this age begin to understand that they have control over what’s going on in their lives, and they’re trying to become independent, as says Parents adviser Sal Severe, Ph.D., author of How to Behave So Your Preschooler Will, Too! explained.
The worst thing you can do in this situation is to argue with them. According to Dr. Phelan, “Parents sometimes make the mistake of treating kids like little adults.”
“If your child isn’t listening, you may bombard him with more and more reasons for why he should cooperate. But that’s not discipline; that’s begging,” he added. Even though arguing with your child is not acceptable, let them know how they’re expected to behave, and even though they might not want to do something you ask them to, they still have to do it, because this is how things work.
Encourage them to do it, and reassure them that they’re going to do a great job.
How to deal with their bratty behavior
As previously mentioned raising children is a very difficult task, and there’s definitely not a perfect way of doing it. But even though you love them unconditionally, it’s still your job to make sure they get the best education and manners.
While dealing with a spoiled child is definitely not easy and it will take a lot of time, it’s beneficial for you both in the long run. Firstly, and very important, they need to understand that no one likes a spoiled child, so their attitude is not good. Focus on positive reinforcements instead of negatives, and always be gentle with them.
It’s important to set rules that your child has to follow with no exception, even if they don’t like it. If they don’t follow the rules, there will be consequences, and try not to give in. But just as it is recommended to punish their bad behavior, do not forget to acknowledge the good behavior as well, and reward them when they do something good. But do not give them materialistic goods, and focus on love and spending quality time with them.
Moreover, try not to let your emotions control your actions. Your child needs to know that you have the authority, and they have to listen to you. Learn to say no when needed, even if it’s not that easy. And try not to be overly restrictive and overprotective with your child, allow them to make their own mistakes, because this is how they’ll learn. I know that spoiled children are not easy to deal with, but with a little effort and patience, you can teach them to behave nicely.