My Daughter Is So Spoiled And Acts Like A Brat

"My daughter is a spoiled brat! She's bossy and has an attitude! I give her everything and she doesn't appreciate it! She's an ungrateful, spoiled little b----!"

Does this sound familiar? Do you know someone who's frustrated because their daughter just refuses to behave right? Refuses to act nice and sweet, like other kids, or like she used to be?

When we make this kind of complaint about our daughters we are usually simply making a couple of easily fixable parenting mistakes, such as complaining to only people who will agree with us about their daughter being a brat. (When we limit our complaints to only those who will go along with us, it's usually because we don't really want to fix anything, we just want to socialize and complain, and feel like our friends care about us and sympathize with us. We're trying to get support, but we're not doing anything to repair our problem.)
So that's the first and most common mistake: complaining, but without seeking any way to change the problem.

We want our daughters to be polite, socially kind and nice, happy, easy-going and sweet, and also neat, and willing to do their chores. Of course we do! We're parents, that's what parents expect! And we want exactly the same things from our sons, as well, and we discipline them for the same things, in the same way! Don't we? Well, not so much. While we're annoyed that our daughter did not clear the table after supper and help with the dishes, we didn't seem to notice that our son went out to play as soon as his own plate was cleared. That means we placed an expectation on one child but not the other, just because of what sex they are.

If we had twin sons, we would separate our expectations of them in that way? (Some people would, based on the way each son looks, and whether they like one better than the other.)

 When we treat our sons and daughters so differently from one another, it's not about who THEY are, it's about who WE are.

We tend to treat sons and daughters very differently from one another, and right in front of each other, but expect the same results from both of them.

We make mistakes of expectations with daughters, mostly because we want them to be more socially highly developed than our sons. We like to tell ourselves, and each other, that boys are a certain way and it can't be helped, so we let them run with a lot more behavior, and even encourage them to do a lot more activities and behaviors. But we tend to forget that daughters are real people, real kids, just like our sons. and they have the same full array of emotions that sons have.  They need to be recognized for the good and right things they do, just like we do for sons, and they don't need to be managed, trained, and judged so closely, so much more closely than sons.
Does it get on your nerves when she acts silly, laughs loudly, expresses frustration or anger? Does it hurt your feelings or make you angry when she doesn't do what you tell her to do, or when she doesn't behave toward you like she's made of sugar and honey? Does it make you mad when she protests the way you're treating her? Does it aggravate you or anger you when she doesn't jump when you say jump, when she doesn't behave perfectly, or when she won't bend to your command and expectations?

Does it make you mad when she says she's being treated unfairly?

Does it annoy you or EMBARRASS you when she wants to do things that you don't want her to do, or be good at, or be interested in, because "she's a girl", and "not a boy"?
Does it embarrass you when other people might see her wearing clothes that aren't girly enough, or when her hair isn't perfect, or doing things that you only want sons to do?

None of those emotions, anger, aggravation, annoyance or embarrassment are coming FROM HER.
ALL of those emotions are coming FROM US, and are ABOUT US.
We are not separating our emotional reactions about not getting what we WANT for OURSELVES from being a PARENT to a real human child.

The real bottom line is, we are in the habit of raising our sons to be more of who THEY are, the most confident "THEM" they can be (hopefully, in a healthy family), and we help them prepare for the real tough world out there. BUT at the same time, we are in the habit of raising our DAUGHTERS to be what WE want them to be! Not who or what THEY ARE!

We are giving our sons tools and lessons in being strong... but if they're so much naturally stronger than girls, then why aren't we giving a double dose of those same lessons and tools to our daughters? Instead of what we usually do: refuse to give them any of these same lessons or tools?

We don't wait and see what toys our daughters choose, we encourage them to choose certain toys, we give them certain toys. We do this to our sons as well. We don't care about WHO THEY ALREADY ARE, and guide them and nurture them AS the people they already are, or are becoming. We try to MAKE THEM INTO the person WE want them to be.

We have a pre-made mold in our heads of "Who She Should Be", "How She Should Act", "What She Likes", and "What She Is Capable Of." 

We don't wait and see anything about her as a person, like we do with our sons, and even when we DO watch and see her as a person, we put her down and criticize her instead of praise her for her unique character and personality. 
We encourage sons to INFLATE their personalities, and be proud of who and what they are, and we press down on daughters to DIMINISH their personalities, and feel like they need to hide who and what they are. 

A boy who is always making jokes and funny noise is "so cute", "so funny", and "so endearing", but a girl with is always making jokes and funny noise is "annoying" and "tries to get attention".  

A son who is constantly talking about science, animals, and dinosaurs is called "so smart" and "gregarious", and is encouraged with trips to the museum and zoo, outings, toys and books, science experiments and animals inside the house. But a girl who talks in exactly the same way, who's interests are exactly the same, is called a "know it all", "annoying", "boring", and MIGHT be taken on an outing or allowed to have maybe one pet, and probably only small toys that won't be IN THE WAY or MESSY.

Why don't we assess each child for the same behaviors in the same way? Because of US, our OWN personal issues. Not because of the CHILDREN.

And we seem to be completely okay with our delusion...  it doesn't seem to phase us in the least about the effects of the way we treat our children ON our children... we just keep making excuses and justifications, and blaming the children.

So when our little boy runs around the room making fire engine noises, waving a wooden block in the air, and wearing a cape, we go "OH isn't he CUTE? He's ALL BOY!" Is this good or bad? Probably good, unless we're ignoring the fact that he's disrupting other people, or stomping on things. That would be "spoiling" him, and that's about OUR issues, not about HIM. Calling him a "brat" means we don't know how to guide and discipline children. But if he's not stomping on things, then it's adorable, right?

But when our little girl runs around the room making fire engine noises, waving a wooden block in the air, and wearing a cape, (exactly the same thing as our little boy), we shrill "Calm down! Be quiet! Put that block down! Come over here and play nice!"

Know why?
Wait, were you going to say "because little boys and little girls are just different"?
Are they? If they're so different, than why did that little girl and little boy do the same exact thing?

If it was good for our little boy to be free to follow his imagination and make those noises and run around pretending to be a super-hero, building his confidence, building his imagination, having fun, being himself, then it was good for our little girl to do the same as well, for the same reasons.

The answer is because WE have sexism and bias issues. Not because the little girl somehow just naturally deserves to be treated with so much more micro-judging and micro-management than the little boy. 

Remember, they aren't a different "animal", as if boys are big strong dogs who are always happy go lucky and can't help but lumber around on the furniture and roll around in the grass because they're so strong, and as if girls are cats who are always dainty and fearful with agendas and attitudes, with brittle bones and frail, weak bodies, that's just a cartoonish, false image painted by silly stories, and certain eras of "high society".  They're all human kids, and they all need the same things from parents and other adults: They need the same kind of guidance and instruction, the same kind of nurturing, the same kind of protection, the same kind of love and care, and the same kind of encouragement. 

Let's say we do have twin sons. They are both going to the same school, playing in the same neighborhood with the same kids, some of whom will be bullies. They are both dealing with the personalities of the different teachers in their school, and dealing with the social climate of the school. Both of them have to make the same effort to keep good marks. We give them support, means, and guidance in dealing with all of this stuff in their lives, to build their confidence, and we give them help in making their lives fulfilling and fun. We know that we are helping to prepare both of them for adulthood, for becoming adults in the real world, for growing up and being able to deal with the harsh world, being able to support themselves and "make a name" for themselves. We encourage them to test their strength, build their friendship networks, show their abilities both physical and mental to the world and to themselves. We know that the more confidence they build in themselves for their physical abilities and mental abilities, the better they'll do in life. We want each of them to believe in themselves, and their own capability, and we tend to spread around to others how proud we are of their strengths and abilities.

We give them opportunities to show and build their strength, agility, and mental prowess, and we give them everything they need to do this. 

Both twin sons are preparing for the same world, would we prepare one of them for that world, but not the other, because one of them is bigger and one is smaller? 
Or would we prepare only the one we like, but drop the ball with the other because their personality isn't pleasing to us? 

Unless we have some kind of personal issues, (and many do), we don't only prepare one of our twin sons for their life in this world that we live in, but not the other.
Because the world is a certain way, all of our sons need our help, guidance, and preparation so they can become proud, capable, and effective adults. It's a harsh world, and independence does not come easy, it takes a lot of work and guts.

We know this, so we prepare our sons as best we can, and make a soft place for them to fall when they make mistakes or run into trouble.

We don't want to step on their self-confidence or their ego, and we want them to be independent and have initiative. So we don't micro-manage them or make them wear certain clothes. We let them make decisions, and we don't come down on them too hard for their manners, the way they treat others, especially the way they treat girls and women, or the way they pick on other boys.

We often kind of encourage them to be a little cocky and arrogant, because we think this will help them stay confident, and believe in their own leadership qualities.

We often don't come down on them very hard even for obvious criminal activities like stealing or the misuse of motor vehicles; we say that they've "learned their lesson" just from getting in trouble with the law. We help them with getting a job, we make sure everyone thinks highly of them by talking about the things they do, and we praise their good behavior and their contributions and their work every chance we get, trying to build their self-confidence so they can deal with this difficult world we live in, and be successful. 

So, why do we like it when our sons show independence, strength, confidence and PRIDE, but when our daughters show it, we judge them for being unruly? Why do we purposely give our sons toys, lessons, and equipment that will prepare them for the "real world" and help them learn, but we give our daughters frills, clothing, and play toys, and whether they want them or not? 
Why don't we teach our daughters what they need to know for "real life" like we teach our sons? If either one of them need to know how to maintain their own car, for example, it's our daughter even more than our son, and the reasons are obvious to anyone with awareness about how "the real world" is.

We will even purposely teach our sons to work on a car and fix things in spite of their complaining and whining that they want to do something else, but NOT teach our daughters, and we'll often say "it's because she's not interested". Except we seem to forget that we didn't care about our SON'S LACK of interest, his whining, sulking, and complaining that he'd rather be hanging out with his friends or playing video games.

Then, we'll actually attribute our son's knowledge of cars and handy work to "natural ability", even though we initially made them learn and help, and we'll attribute our daughter's lack of knowledge and handy work to her being a "girl", as if our lack of teaching her is HER fault. We made all kinds of effort to teach our sons how to change the oil, how to change a tire, how to fix a hole in the wall, and how to throw and hit a baseball and catch a football, in spite of complaints and sulking. But regarding teaching our daughters, we send them inside to sit in their room, and then we say that she doesn't care about those things or understand them.

Why do we give our sons all kinds of opportunities to prove their abilities and physical strength because we know how important they are for self-esteem and confidence building as a person, but we don't give our daughters these same opportunities? And when we do, we don't make it a "huge deal" like we do with our sons. (A good coach/instructor knows better, and knows that girls and boys need the SAME opportunities and the SAME guidance and encouragement, but most people seem not to understand this; most people will BUILD THE EGOS of boys all day, but try to DIMINISH THE EGOS of girls. ....And then wonder why the girls seem to be less happy and less confident, and less "sunny" and "happy go lucky" than the boys around them.)

What is it that seems to make us forget that our daughters are going to have to live in the same world as our sons will? Perhaps it's remnants of a television and movie world in our heads where we bought into this idea that girls will live under the umbrella of a brilliant, strong, perfect, wealthy man who treats her like a queen, and so we are already thinking that's "who she is". Perhaps in our imaginations, even if she's only 7 or 14, we see her as the protected wife of a wealthy, strong, doting husband who provides her with her every whim, and coddles her in every way. Perhaps because of the image we hold of our daughters in our imaginations, we feel certain feelings toward her such as jealousy or envy, and even though none of the image is real, we treat our daughters accordingly. 

The fact is, our daughters are actually growing up into an even more difficult world than our sons are. On the average, girls and woman are physically smaller than boys and men, which automatically gives them a disadvantage in life. As you can see with boys who bully other boys, smaller people are often bullied in various ways, on the playground of course, but in life as well. So there are a lot more adults in the world who are bigger than our daughters than our sons. We seem to be aware that our sons may get bullied, but we seem to pretend that our daughters are somehow exempt and outside the reach of bullies. When we look at it directly, we know that that's just silly, girls and women get bullied all the time, more than boys and men, and they get bullied by both females and males.

Women get sabotaged by other women in real life ways, both socially and in business, and everyone knows it, but no one teaches their daughters how to effectively DEAL WITH IT. Because that would be ADMITTING that DAUGHTERS HAVE A LOT OF EXTRA CRAP TO DEAL WITH just to work and live. And that would mean having compassion for them instead of just JUDGMENT and CRITICISM.

Men also sabotage and bully women, and everyone knows this, too. But again, no one teaches girls how to deal with it, because that would be admitting that it's REAL, and then one would have to admit that PEOPLE WE KNOW PERSONALLY ARE DOING IT. And that would just mess everything up, wouldn't it.....??? Yeah, let's just throw our daughters, our own kids, under the bus instead of dealing with the reality that there are men we are friends with and work with who are DOWNRIGHT DISRESPECTFUL to our OWN KIDS.  (And yes, some people will do this to their own sons too.)

The very bottom of this vat of murky water is that adults project their own biases onto children, and then raise them accordingly. They don't teach their sons and daughters the same values, or give them the same guidance, encouragement, and preparation for the world they're BOTH going to live in: they EDIT the way they raise each child in order to manipulate a projected outcome. Their not raising children as the people they actually ARE, they're trying to turn kids into what they WANT THEM TO BE. Regardless of the damage it causes to the child's self-image, self-esteem, emotional health, or future.

Very few adults raise kids, either boys or girls, to have consistent values, to treat ALL PEOPLE according to the CHILD'S VALUES, not according to whether they LIKE or feel SUPERIOR TO another person. Or to measure THEMSELVES by these same values. How one treats a person of one sex AND the other is a direct reflection on the person themselves.

And the reason it's so hard for most adults to raise kids with consistent values and integrity toward all people is because they aren't doing it themselves. Kids learn to be how they're treated, and they learn to treat others how they're SHOWN. And they learn from ALL OF THE ADULTS around them, not just from one, or even two.

Let's raise our children to be healthy, strong, and confident, with CONSISTENT integrity, values, and ethics that don't change with each person they talk to, and don't change toward THEMSELVES because of their sex or some other physical body trait.

There's a very old adage, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."
Literally, it means that the same things are good for both sexes, and stop falling into the trap of believing the fictional, made up stories about vast, ridiculous blanket differences between female and male geese, or humans. Individual male geese are different from other male geese, and individual male humans are different from other male humans. And so it is for individual female geese, and individual female humans. Each goose is not a CLONE of all the other geese who are the same sex, and they're not a DIFFERENT ANIMAL from the other goose-sex. And neither are humans.

There are differences, of course, so let the OTHER INDIVIDUAL PERSON show and tell us who and what they are. Instead of US INSISTING on telling THEM who and what they are based on our own cartoon images that we carry in our heads..

M.Black 2013