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Having kids of your own complicates the situation somewhat. You hate to see them upset, but you also hate being glared at. Here is how a family therapist explains why spoiling your children can really hurt you in the long run.

According to Hal Runkel, a marriage and family therapist who has published multiple books on parenting and relationships, including, most recently, “Choose Your Own Adulthood.”

When he visited Business Insider’s office, Runkel explained what he meant by “lying”:

“What spoils kids is not letting them taste the natural consequences of their mistakes.”

Runkel shared two concrete examples. Let’s say you give your kid a toy and they use it to hit their sister. If you don’t take the toy away, that’s spoiling your kid. Or when you wake your kid up for school when they’re well past the age to start setting an alarm themselves, that’s spoiling them.

Runkel says as a parent it is your job to prepare them for life, not keep them shelter from their mistakes.

He recommends consulting parents of older kids and ask  how did they handled a similar situations when their kids were younger?

If you’re really torn, Runkel recommends checking in with your intuition.

“Your gut gives you a good indication of when you’re being too harsh or depriving them,” he said.

Ultimately, it’s worth keeping in mind that Runkel says he sees parents being too lenient muchmore often than he sees them being too harsh.


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