Parents Who Do This Every Day Are (Unintentionally) Spoiling Their Kids

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Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

Not spoiling your kids is easier said than done. Many parents find themselves torn between wanting to discipline their children and caving into their every whim in order to avoid a public temper tantrum. But according to marriage and family therapist Hal Runkel, author of Scream Free Parenting, giving them a false perception of the way the world works is one of the worst mistakes parents can make.

"What spoils kids is not letting them taste the natural consequences of their mistakes," he told Business Insider. "When we give them the impression that their choices don't have natural, logical consequences and we rescue them from those—when we say, 'Hey, you do that one more time, I'm going to take that thing away,' and then we don't take that thing away—that's actually what spoils kids."

Runkel cites the example of giving your child a toy that they promptly use to hit their sibling, and then not taking the toy away afterward. This sends the message that they can essentially do whatever they want without consequence—something they'll grow to accept as fact.

He also argues that waking your kids up for school when they're old enough to set an alarm for themselves is another way of spoiling them. "The world is not going to allow them to continue to depend on us forever," Runkel said. "Our job is to prepare them for life without us."

Do you agree or disagree with Runkel's parenting advice? Share your opinion in the comments below!