No parent wants to believe their child is spoiled or a brat. The first instinct is to protect and defend your offspring against any signs of ganging up by society or your perception that people are unkind to them. Society being society, unfortunately the parents of the brat are always the last ones to know how the world labels their child.
Signs your child is a brat
- Noone ever wants to baby sit or invite them over for social events.
This is because brats are socially awkward, and cannot relate well with other children. Furthermore, they blatantly defy authority with impunity because they are used to indulgent parents, or detached parents who have never set boundaries for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour . For instance, 7year old Tariro will be invited to a party and scream and fuss until she is allowed to open the presents belonging to the hostess. Or 8 year old Tendai will hit his cousin to confiscate a toy, or simply throw a tantrums until he gets it. Inevitably word will spread about such children, and in the interests of politeness the child will be quietly excluded.
- Your child is impertinent and rude to others
All too often brats get to defy social niceties and basic courtesy with the parents doing nothing about it. Children who talk back to others, bully other children and generally deliberarely misbehave socially are brats. Incidents of children ruining occasions for others are rife. An example is 6 year old Ruvimbo jumping on the sofas at her mother’s friend’s house. The hostess looks pained and rebukes her. And Ruvimbo yells at her. The mother sighs dramatically and claims Ruvimbo is such a high energy child, she is exhausting.
- Your child is famous for his temper tantrums
There is an age and a stage for tantrums. By age five most children can contain their feelings and behave rationally. There is no reason for a 9 year old for instance to cry until she gets her own way, or destroy property or hurt others. You are raising a brat if your first instinct is to sigh indulgently for instance, when you hear that Junior smashed his plate in temper when requested to pick it up and take it to the kitchen.
- She controls your life through manipulation
She is a queen at sulking, whining and even crying when she is put in a situation she doesn’t want to be in. For example, you want to go grocery shopping, she complains of a stomach pain the whole time and is only appeased with a bribe. She is difficult, petulant and even rude when visiting homes of elder people because she feels bored. In the end the parents give in to her because she is seen as an independent strong willed child. No. She is a brat.
The best way to guard against bratty behaviour is to stop permissive parenting and remain firm. Brats grow into jerks who cannot function in society. Set limits and boundaries for a child and follow through.
By Hazel Ngorima