entitled to the good life, preferably without any effort on their part.
The recipe that leads to this self-centered attitude in children usually contains a guilt-ridden parent or two and a child who watches an average of 40,000 slick commercials each year. The children want; the parents give; the parents feel less guilty.
Here is one common scenario: Many parents especially mothers feel guilty for working long hours away from home. Some try to make it up to their children by doing and buying more and expecting less from them. Before long, they become indulgent, permissive parents; they cannot say "no" to their children. The children become self-centered and demanding. The term "spoiled brat" comes to mind. Permissive parenting seldom has a positive outcome for children.
If this issue resonates with your family, refocus your efforts by promoting what is important in life: family and friends, the values of compassion and honesty, helping others (have your kids volunteer for the sick or needy), religious beliefs, working toward an important goal, etc. Assign household chores. Listen carefully when they talk. Remember, they need your love, boundaries and discipline more than the material things you can give them.
The first contributor below has an additional tip on this subject. Thanks to the readers who sent in a kid tip this week.
Focus on a vision for your children
Think of the qualities you hope your child will have when she enters adulthood. If you focus on this vision as you make decisions pertaining to your child, the vision probably will come true. I call it "tunnel vision," and I have found it to be a gift in raising my three children.
Clinton Township, Mich.
Traveling baby monitor
A baby monitor can be just as useful on the go as it is at home. It can be used for overnight visits to a relative's home or for naps at a hotel. On a recent trip to Hawaii, my husband and I placed the microphone next to our baby's crib in our two-room hotel so we could monitor her naps while we sat and talked on our hotel-room balcony. We took the monitor's receiver with us onto the balcony. Even with the sliding door shut to reduce the noise in the room, we could hear any noise she made.
I.B., Portland, Ore.
Join your child in a tantrum
The next time your child has a temper tantrum, join in on the fun. Mimic your child so he can see how silly his rants and raves look to others. Stamp your feet, act as if you're crying, pound the walls, etc. Your child will probably be so amazed by your antics that he will stop to watch you. After watching your act a few times, he might acquire other ways to deal with his temper.
Thomas C., Livermore
Note: I tried this with one of my daughters many years ago. My wife was quite entertained! (T.M.)
Invite another family along
When our children were teenagers, we used to go on vacation with another family who also had teenagers. Our teens had companions to hang out with, and my husband and I enjoyed the company of the other parents. Occasionally, one set of parents would stay with the teens while the other went out for the evening. Whether it was camping, renting a houseboat or going on a short cruise, we all had a great time.
I.L.T., Spokane, Wash.
No hands free for shopping spree
When you are going shopping and don't want your child touching anything in the store, make sure he takes a stuffed animal or favorite toy along. If he has something in both hands, he can't pick up anything in the store.
L. Williams, Highland Heights, Ky.
Every parent has a favorite parenting tip. Send yours to email@example.com, call (925)461-6080 (fax/voice message) or write to Kid Tips, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019. Tom McMahon is a syndicated columnist, college professor and author of the books "Kid Tips" and "Teen Tips." Visit his Web site at http://www.kidtips.com. Always keep safety, age appropriateness and your intimate knowledge of your own child in mind when considering use of any tip.
Many parents feel guilty for working long hours away from home. Some try to make it up to their children by doing and buying more and expecting less from them. The children become self-centered and demanding. Permissive parenting seldom has a
positive outcome for children.