Ha, I love that title. I thought it might grab some attention. ;) This article is brought to you today mainly because of my retail-working experience and watching the interaction and behavior of certain children out with their parents.
First and foremost, let me define "abnormally." By abnormally, I mean counter-culturally, counter-societal expectations, and counter-my own parental (future) tendencies. I witnessed kids in line in tears over not getting a trinket they wanted, whining that their sibling got this and they didn't, wanting silly things and then watching their mother cave and buy it for them. There is nothing more unappealing than a bratty child, and I hope to goodness my children end up far from that.
I realize it will be a battle: I will be fighting against the culture, society, worldviews, my own tendencies and desires, and my children's own desires. But, there are certain things I don't want them to have/do, and certain things they will do, if I have any say in it (note: some of these things are a higher priority than others).
What TO DO:
-Pray with your kids over meals, at bedtime, while your're out, when you see someone in need, and throughout the day. Let them see prayer as a lifestyle, not a chore.
-Read the Bible to my kids daily.
-Encourage their imaginations
-Get them excited about reading early: Read to them when they're little, and take them on library "field trips" when they're still young. Get them to start loving books :)
-Think of others through sharing without an attitude
-Get them involved in the arts as a form of self-expression (drama, music, writing, etc)
-Make them play outside (the outdoor world is an endless playground :) )
-Get them involved with activities that THEY want to do. Don't force them to do something they dislike (generally) but expose them to a variety of hobbies and activities.
-Teach them wise money-skills early (money doesn't grow on trees and will not be given out freely)
-Teach them that newer does not equal better, and re-making, re-doing, and re-constructing can lead to a whole new perspective
-Tell them consistently that they are always loved, both by you the parent and by their Heavenly Father
-Love them, excessively
What NOT to do:
-Yell or discipline out of anger
-Stifle their individual talents or desires
-Buy them lots of stuff
-Let them play lots of video games (actually, I think my kids just don't need video games :) )
-Let them watch much TV, at all
-Cater to their whims (mom is not a goody dispenser)
-Not follow through on your word (be there for them when you say you will, discipline them when you say you will)
-Be swayed by tearful faces into getting things they don't need
-Let them be hermits
-Force your beliefs on them (some should be taught along the way so they can make their own decisions, and some of what you believe is not absolute truth for them)
-Expect them to act like adults
-Force them to grow up before they have to (aka, preserve their innocence and imagination as long as possible)
-See them as a burden, and not a blessing.
Ok, that it for now. Obviously these are not taken from personal experience, except that I was once raised as a child. Many of them I extracted from my experience and experiences I've witnessed. I know raising children is harder when you're doing it, and I'll probably want to spoil my kids, but I hope with God's help that my future children will turn out alright despite my inevitable failed attempts at "raising them correctly" ;)
Venting about bratty kids and how to prevent it,