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Financial problems causing frustration

John Gray offers readers advice about their relationships.
BY John Gray Published: February 12, 2013

Dear John: I know you've written extensively about children, so I'm wondering, how do you define “spoiled?” My husband and I debate this issue regularly.

— Another Voice Needed, in Dearborn, Mich.

Dear Another Voice: What society sees as a spoiled child is in fact a situation in which a parent has failed to define boundaries for the child — and failed to follow through on consequences should those boundaries be crossed.

To make thing more difficult, adults don't always agree on issues that need boundaries. For example, one parent may feel that it is OK for an 8-year-old to stay up until 10 p.m., while another may feel this is wrong. One parent may allow a 12-year-old child to see an R-rated movie, and another may forbid it until their child is 16 or older.

In any regard, children, like adults, will test boundaries. Parents who firmly but lovingly stick to their boundaries on issues they deem important will rarely have their children called “spoiled” by those of us on the outside looking in.

Distributed by Creators Syndicate.