While opening Acacia Mall on June 30, President Yoweri Museveni said rich Ugandans’ children are stupid.
This sparked a debate on whether parents who are financially well off overindulge their children and in the end spoil them.
During these debates, spoiled children were described as those children who take on habits like taking drugs and alcohol, children who have no respect for anyone in a position of authority or otherwise and children who don’t want to work yet expect to live comfortably, simpy because they can.
Samuel Agaba, a father of two boys and one girl and Winnie Namusoke, a counselling psychologist with Hope in Life counselling services agree that whether a rich parent spoils their child depends on the parents.
A parent’s level of involvement in their child’s life and yearning to pass on a set of values to their children depends on their character and is greatly influenced by their childhood background. “Some parents are very rich but very disciplined,” says Agaba.
He continues, “For example, my sister-in law is very rich but she ensures her children are involved in house chores and cooking. Therefore, a parent might be very rich but have a great level of discipline.”
On the other hand, Namusoke points out that, “Most parents with a humble or highly authoritative background take the opportunity to parent their children as “payback” time.
The parent ensures their child never lacks and does not discipline them as much as they should to save them the pain or discomfort of going through what they (parents) did when they were younger,” shares Namusoke.
Presence and authority
Thirdly, a parent’s presence at home greatly determines his or her involvement in their child’s life.
Agaba and Namusoke concur that parents who barely spend time with their children usually use entertainment and luxurious accessories to cover up for their absence.
Namusoke adds, “Once the child is responsible for him or herself, there is no set of values passed on to them from their parents and they grow into adults that do what they feel like whenever they want.”
However, Namusoke cautions that there is no lesser evil between a parent being extremely permissive and a parent being too authoritative, which might have nothing to do with their bank account.
“A permissive parent who never says ‘no’ to his child and an authoritarian parent who causes their child to resent them are both spoiling their children. A resentful child will take on habits like doing drugs to intentionally fight their parents,” she explains.
They note, as most people who talked about this topic online do, that even children from humble families can get spoiled. It therefore comes down to how the parents raise their children.
I think I spoiled my son
I am Florence. I am 54 years old and a mother of three. I lost my husband when our oldest child was 12 years old and our youngest, two. He left us his business and buildings therefore we were relatively well off.
I think I spoiled my oldest son to a certain extent because I used to give him everything he asked for.
He however used to ask for cheap things. When he asked for chips and chicken, I gave him that. I never said no to his demands because the money was available and I did not find any reason to hold back.
My son was a well behaved boy and performed well at school. When he asked for pocket money, I would give him double the amount because he never asked for extravagant amounts.
I wanted him to get accustomed to handling money since he would be running the family business when he was older.
However, when he joined university two years ago, his demands were bigger and even the pocket money he asked for was outrageous.
This was when I realised he had grown accustomed to having whatever he asked for. He could not understand it when I could not give him the things he was asking for and thought I did not love him anymore.
I began to parent his siblings differently by occasionally giving them something different from what they ask for.
Teddy Nakisozi, accountant
“I do not think they spoil their children except when they give them what they do not deserve at a particular age. For example, a parent gives their child a phone at the age of 10 or a car at age 13. That spoils the child.”
Gloria Namuddu, businesswoman
“It depends on the kind of parents they are. The children have almost everything at their disposal and do not accept advice.
There is a parent who puts Dstv in the child’s room because they do not have time to spend with the child.”
Gladys Walabyeki businesswoman
“Most rich parents spoil their children by giving them anything irrespective of age or gender.
For example, they let them do certain things like letting them go to the movies without an adult accompanying them and excessively giving them money before they come of age.”