Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

How to end spoilt brat syndrome

The Times, London, UK, By Alexandra Frean October 24, 2005

Far from being kind, overindulgent parents can be a danger to their children – but help is at hand to avoid the pitfalls, says the author of The Pampered Child Syndrome

SHE has had her first sexual encounter and made her first suicide attempt; she takes drugs and stays away from home for days at a time. She is 13 years old.

You might think this teenager is the product of an abusive family background and a turbulent upbringing, but she is in fact a much-loved child of well-educated and considerate parents who have always given her everything. And that is her problem. She is suffering from pampered child syndrome.

But help is at hand. In The Pampered Child Syndrome published on Thursday, Maggie Mamen, a clinical psychologist from Canada, argues that well-intentioned, permissive philosophies have produced a generation of children who believe they are entitled to the same rights as adults but who are not ready to accept grown-up responsibilities.

Rather than blame the parents, however, Dr Mamen has devised a ten-point plan aimed at helping them to regain control. Her starting point and inspiration is not the psychiatrist' s couch but the boardroom table. “Parents need to think of themselves as the management team. They are the managers and the children are not.

“The children are not the ones sitting around the boardroom table and that needs to be made clear. Children will learn to be managers one day, but for now they are the trainees,” Dr Mamen told The Times. Once this has been established, parents need to set out their policies. “You might start out with something like, ‘In this family, education is important and we have to respect each other' . Children like to know where they stand and setting out your policy makes it clear,” she said.

Dr Mamen uses the language of the management consultant not because she want to strip all emotion out of family life, but because the business analogy helps to inject some logic and neutrality into what are usually highly charged situations. “When you are working in an emotional situation it helps to use pragmatic words. I find that parents really like the use of the words ‘control' and ‘manage' , especially the dads.”

Dr Mamen also draws inspiration from the world of politics, encouraging parents to adopt the “Trudeau approach”. When asked in 1970 just how far he would be willing to go in eroding civil liberties with his anti-terror policies, the Canadian Prime Minister replied, “Just watch me!”

“Even though we know that we cannot make anybody do anything they really don' t want to do, we should never under-estimate our own abilities, or at least our children' s belief in our own abilities,” Dr Mamen said. The trick is not to blink first.

A major theme underlying Dr Mamen' s book is that parents need to believe that they have the right to act without their children' s consent. “Children need parents to be willing to act unilaterally so that they feel safe and secure under their protection,” she said.

If parents do not do this, she said, the consequence could be far Read More ..rious than the odd spoilt-brat temper tantrum but could lead to the kind of behaviour described at the opening of this piece. Or worse.

“If we fail to recognise the behaviours of overly pampered children and to identify the contributing factors, this may sometimes lead to over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and the prescription of inappropriate and potentially dangerous treatments,” she said.

As to whether children suffering from really serious pampering can ever fully “recover”, Dr Mamet, was cautious. “You can get rid of spoilt brat behaviour most of the time. But sometimes the effects still show in adulthood. You see these people in the workplace; they feel put out to have to show up and do things that they might not really want to do,” she said.


We want our children to be happy and comfortable

I should always be happy and comfortable. When I experience loss or failure, or feel sad, upset, frustrated or disappointed, someone should make me feel better

We want our children to be stimulated and enriched

I should only be asked to do things that are stimulating and enriching, not things that are tedious and boring. In fact, if it' s not interesting, I won' t do it

We want our children to make their own choices

No one should tell me what to do. I should be allowed to make up my own mind

We want our children to be treated equally and fairly

I should be treated the same as adults. If they can do it, I should be able to do it too

We want our children to be included in family decisions

Adults should not make any decisions without consulting me first. I should be part of the management team


Say what you mean, state the obvious
 “Bedtime is nine o' clock,” or “I will not stand here and be spoken to like that”

Non-verbal behaviour management
 Silently removing a child' s plate at the end of a reasonable time for a meal speaks Read More ..lumes than nagging her to hurry up

Clarify the difference between advice and command
 “I' m telling you, not asking you,” may sound harsh, but it shoots straight

Decide what you want to teach
 Rather than teach children not to do things, teach them what to do. Concentrate on a few behaviours, such as doing homework without having to be reminded

The “Trudeau” approach
 When challenged with the phrase “You can' t make me,” quote the former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, “Just watch me!” Don' t blink first

The Godfather approach
 Make an offer they can' t refuse. “Switch the TV off when I tell you and you may be allowed to switch it on the next time — or I will switch it off, in which case it will stay off for a week”

Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Infidelity Causes Paternity Fraud

Time magazine - Infidelity - It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Infidelity--It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Devotion and betrayal, marriage and divorce: how evolution shaped human love.

South Korean Husband Win Paternity Fraud Lawsuit - Associated Press

South Korean Husband Wins Paternity Fraud Lawsuit

Associated Press, USA
June 1, 2004

South Korean husband successfully sues wife for Paternity Fraud and gets marriage annulled.  Wins $42,380 in compensation   Read More ..

Paternity Fraud Philippines

DNA paternity test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge | Visayan Daily Star Newspaper | Phillipines

DNA test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge

The Visayan Daily Star, Bacolod City, Philippines, BY CARLA GOMEZ, February 28, 2009

Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Ray Alan Drilon has annulled the marriage of a Negrense couple after a DNA test showed that the child borne by the wife was not the biological offspring of the husband who works abroad.

The family court judge ruled that the marriage of the couple, whose names are being withheld by the DAILY STAR on the request of the court, was null and void.

Due to fraud committed by the wife in getting her overseas worker husband to marry her, properties acquired during their marriage are awarded in favor of the husband, the judge said in his decision, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday.

The judge also declared that since the overseas worker is not the biological, much less the legitimate father of the child of the woman, the Civil Registrar is ordered to change the surname of the child to the mother's maiden name and remove the name of the plaintiff as father of the child.

The complainant said he was working as an electronics engineer in the United Arab Emirates and on his return to the Philippines in 2001, his girlfriend of 10 years with whom he had sex, showed him a pregnancy test result showing that she was pregnant.

On receiving the news he was overjoyed and offered to marry her. Shortly after he went to Saudi Arabia to work, and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in the same year.

The birth of the child only five months after their marriage puzzled him but his wife told him that the baby was born prematurely, so he believed her, the husband said. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud - Spain Supreme Court - Civil Damages

Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK
18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001.

BBC logo

Infidelity 'is natural'

BBC, U.K., September 25, 1998

Females 'stray to gather the best possible genes for their offspring'

Infidelity may be natural according to studies that show nine out of 10 mammals and birds that mate for life are unfaithful.

Experts found animals that fool around are only following the urges of biology.

New studies using genetic testing techniques show that even the most apparently devoted of partners often go in search of the sexual company of strangers.

Females stray to gather the best possible genes for their offspring, while males are driven to father as many and as often as possible.

"True monogamy actually is rare," said Stephen T Emlen, an expert on evolutionary behaviour at Cornell University.

BBC News logo

Who's the Daddy?

Up to three million Britons may be wrong about who their real father is , experts claim. But using DNA paternity tests to discover the truth can cause its own problems.

BBC, U.K., May 16, 2003

Dad's got blue eyes, Baby brown...

When Tessa found out she was pregnant after fertility treatment, she felt a mix of delight and doubt.

This wasn't simply pre-baby nerves - she suspected that her husband might not be the father. For Tessa had started sleeping with a colleague when the stress of the ongoing treatment became too much.

Keen to build a family with her husband, she let him believe the baby was his. But her lover threatened to reveal all if she ended the affair, and Tessa soon fell pregnant again. This time, her lover started to make nuisance calls to her home.

Tessa had no choice but to tell her husband. "I said to him, 'I've had an affair and you may not be the father of my children.' So with that, he went up the stairs, got dressed and left. And that was it," Tessa says in Women Who Live a Lie, a programme for the BBC's Five Live Report.

paternity fraud in Jamaica

Would you wear the jacket?

THERE IS A story I used to find hilarious in my high school years about a not too bright man. He was light skinned, his wife was of similar hue, but their first child was born with very dark complexion (darker dan Bello, blacker dan Blakka).

When the man wondered aloud about the baby's complexion his wife assured him that the child was born dark because the child was conceived in darkness (they had sex with the lights off). The man accepted the explanation. Because he loved his wife dearly, he also ignored the fact that the child had other obvious signs of resemblance to the young dark skinned man who did their gardening. To fix the problem, the husband put flood lights, strobe lights, spotlights and forty other lights in the bed room so there would be no more darkness to create dark babies.

Children's Identity Fraud
Paternity Fraud

Duped Dads, Men Fight Centuries-Old Paternity Laws

United States

"Duped Dads, Men Fight Centuries-Old Paternity Laws"

"Supporters of paternity identification bills point to a 1999 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found that in 30 percent of 280,000 blood tests performed to determine paternity, the man tested was not the biological father." Read More ..

AABB logo

Download / view pdf file
American Association of Blood Banks
Parentage Testing Program Unit
Annual Report Summary Testing in 2001

Volume of testing 310,490 for the 2001 study

The Supreme Court of Canada -
Cour suprême du Canada

Big win for child identity rights.

Father wins right to be named on birth registration forms. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Tricked 'fathers' may get bill's help

Michael Lautar was devastated when he learned his first wife was cheating on him, and then crushed to discover the then 5-year-old girl who called him "Daddy" wasn't really his daughter.

Next came the sucker punch.

Lautar is under court order to pay nearly $800 a month in child support and other expenses, despite the fact his ex-wife has admitted in Allegheny County court papers that Lautar is not the girl's father. The child was born during their marriage. After the couple divorced, the mother married the girl's biological father. The mother, the father and the daughter live together in Moon, according to papers filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

"I'm stuck in this rip-off, this fraud," said Lautar, 40, of North Strabane. "It's paternity fraud, is what it is. ... And the state is enforcing this fraud." Read More ..