My 9-year-old stepson has terrible tantrums. I was abused as a child and used to act out as a result. Teachers and other adults were very hostile to me and failed to recognize my cries for help. So when I was first getting to know this boy, I was under the assumption that children act out because they are misunderstood and in pain and need help. So whenever he had a tantrum, I would bring him a blanket and some warm milk and stroke his hair and do anything I could to comfort him.
His father says he is just spoiled and I thought he was being insensitive, but the more I get to know my stepson, the more I realize my husband is right. My stepson spends a lot of time with his grandparents, partly because that's my husband's culture and partly due to our jobs. It is comical how much they spoil him. He gets a new toy, worth $30-80 every single weekend. They go to extreme levels to meet his every command. The other day, his grandmother brought him juice and he remarked that the glass was cold, so she held it for him while he drank from it.
This is hurting him! He has terrible self-esteem, is convinced he can't do anything himself, and throws a tantrum if I very gently try to encourage him. He is helpless to the extreme. He screams out when he wants something. The other day, he wanted something he couldn't reach, so he screamed for me to come and get it for him. When I suggested that he get a chair to stand on (which was a foot away from him), he burst into tears and insisted it was "impossible" for him to get it himself. Gentle encouragement like "I know you can do it, just give it a shot!" just seems to make him more upset.
My husband and I are trying our best to not spoil him in order to "undo" all the spoiling, but it's clearly not enough. My husband has tried everything he could for the past nine years to get his parents to stop spoiling him - he has explained the problem to them, begged them and fought with them. They are extremely stubborn and insist they are doing nothing wrong.
Since we can't seem to stop my stepson from getting spoiled, is it at all possible to stop him from being spoiled?