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Let’s face it, many of us love to spoil our children rotten, but rotten children we do not want. It’s a fine line between being spoiled and behaving spoiled. It’s easy for it to happen, but not impossible to work on.

I realized a long time ago that my children really do thrive when given responsibility. They are proud to have accomplished and completed something thus earning an allowance. When they slack and do not get all of their chores done, they do not earn allowance. Plain and simple. I’m no expert on parenting, but over the years I’ve implemented a few things that help in our home.

1) Set rules/boundaries

If bedtime is 8:30 then they know each school night that the iPod, computer, tv, whatever gets shut off at 8:30. They know they have to read each night for 20 minutes. Just as important is keeping good grades up or not participating in sports. If you are doing poorly in any subject, it makes no sense to still get to participate in gymnastics or softball when you could otherwise be studying with that additional time.

2) Praise them when they are good

All of us operate on some level with praise. It feels good and is great for your confidence to receive praise when you accomplish soothing you set out for or do something well. Young and old alike, we all thrive on it.

3) Punish them when they are not

For me, if my child hurts another’s feelings, is rude to their sibling, doesn’t do something I ask or talk back to me, I take the most important thing they have away. They need to earn it back. Sometimes it takes a day and sometime a week. It’s not uncommon for me to remove an iPod from their hand and keep it for myself until I decide if they appreciate why they are being punished.

4) All you need is love

If you respect your children for the young independent people they are or are becoming, they will feel that. Respect their differences and cater to each as needed. I have one very sensitive child and another who is the most bullheaded, stubborn person I have ever met. Besides myself of course. Hone in on what makes them tick and then do more of that. If you cater to the unique needs of each child, the entire household can function a little better.