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Behaviors At Home

The Spoiled Darling

Action: Why is my child behaving this way, what unmet needs does he or she have, and what specific things can I do to help him or her behave better?

Primary Causes of Misbehavior

This child may have used this behavior since a very young age to gain attention.

This child realizes that he or she gains a great deal of power with such behavior.

Primary Needs Being Revealed

This behavior may have worked for this child as a way of establishing relationships in the past. Therefore, he or she still uses it in an attempt to establish relationships with peers and adults.

Escape from Pain
This behavior may be used to hide various fears in or out of school.

Secondary Needs Being Revealed

This child has a need to be involved with others, but doesn't understand how to assert himself or herself in a positive way.

Sometimes people need to know they count. Spoiled darling behavior allows this child to "count," but in a negative way.

This behavior lets the child feel he or she is somebody because of his or her ability to control others.

This child is attempting to get his or her own way.

Actions to Take
  • Arrange for a private discussion when this behavior begins to affect others, or if you feel the behavior affects your parenting.

  • Children need to learn certain lessons if they want to be successful in relating to others. So it is with the spoiled darling. Teach this child that self-indulgence is simply a way people try to make themselves seem superior by making others feel inferior. In truth, the reason people adopt this protective shield is often that they feel they don't quite measure up.

  • Remind your child that others see what he or she is doing, and that this behavior causes others to dislike him or her. Point out that a person who is self-indulgent is intolerant and is not respected. The self-indulgent child appears bored with everything that doesn't involve him or her, is usually sarcastic and difficult to befriend, and approaches others graciously only when he or she needs something.

  • Explain that maturity has been defined as moving from being a taker to being a giver. Until your child makes such a move, it's unlikely that he or she will be a happy, fulfilled, and productive human being.

  • Make sure your child understands that, although others may yield to his or her demands, you are not intimidated in the least.

  • Define the specific behavior that you find disturbing and precisely what your child can do to change the behavior.

  • Contact your child's teacher early to discuss this behavior.

  • Recognize that others may see you as the cause of this behavior, correctly or incorrectly. Try not to be overly defensive, but instead keep in mind that you want to do anything you can to help your child.

  • Look for attempts to improve behavior. Recognize that it has taken a long while for your child to arrive at this behavior. Any significant change of behavior will be a slow process.

  • Once you have developed a plan to work with your child, stay with the plan. This is very important.

List of Behaviors

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Please Note
We are labeling behaviors, not children! For the sake of convenience, we will describe behaviors with terms such as The Whiner or The Interrupter.

Never use such labels when talking to—or about—children! Doing so could cause many new problems and seriously damage the teacher-student or parent-child relationship.