How to Spoil a Child

Rules for spoiling your children, the neighbor kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews

Rule #1:  Listen when the child speaks.  Some of us are surprised to learn that talking to a child is different than listening to him.  Don't interrupt him; let him finish.  Respond to what he says.

Rule #2:  Say "please" and "thank you" to the child.  Make polite requests before you make demands.  Yes, yes, of course the child is to learn these behaviors.  But is she treated the way adults want her to treat them?

Rule #3:  Treat him as respectfully as you would an adult.  Listen to adult-child interactions around you.  Do you hear adults talking to children in a way they would tolerate being spoken to?

Rule #4:  Play a game with the child.  Card game, ball game, board game, whatever.  Don't get frustrated when she takes too long for her turn or loses patience and doesn't finish the game.

Rule #5:  I know it's easier to pick up his toys for him, put his dirty clothes in the hamper yourself, clear his plate from the table...just don't.  Remind him to do these things himself and be appreciative when he does and politely insistent when he forgets.

Rule #6:  Follow through on your promises.  Don't say you'll do it if you might not.

Rule #7:  Be more patient.

Rule #8:  Enjoy this child and laugh with her.  Smile at her from across the room.  Don't ignore children in the room while you're talking with other adults.

Rule #9:  Have clear boundaries and be consistent.  No, he can't have every toy he sees advertised.  No, we don't eat sugary cereals and drink soda pop every day.  Yes, teeth must be brushed before bedtime stories.  Whatever the rules, be consistent.  Model humility.  Apologize when you blow it.

Rule #10:  Keep reminding yourself that childhood passes much too quickly and that memories and feelings from our childhood stay with us our whole lives.  What memories and feelings will your special child carry with her?