10 Signs That Your Child is Spoiled

I have MSN as my homepage and today they posted an article….10 Signs that your Child is Spoiled.  I read it.  It was pretty good.  Thought I’d share it and observations at the end if you see your child in this light.

10 Signs Your Child is Spoiled.

1. She throws tantrums, often. The surest sign of a spoiled child is one who frequently throws temper tantrums, both in public and at home.

2. He’s never satisfied.  Spoiled children often can’t express satisfaction with what they have.  If they see someone else with something, they will want that instead.

3. She isn’t helpful. No child likes to clean up but once the toddler years have passed, he should be willing to help with smaller tasks, such as cleaning up her toys or putting her shoes away.

4. She tries to control adults.  Spoiled children often don’t delineate between their peers and adults, expecting both to listen to them all the time.

5. She frequently embarrasses you in public. A slip-up here and there is normal but that is different from a tot purposely embarrasses her parents in public for the sake of attention.

6. He won’t share.  Sharing is a difficult concept for little ones to master, but once a child reaches the age of 4, he should be more willing to share toys, snacks, etc., with friends and sibs.

7. You have to beg her.  A parent or caretaker is an authority figure and should be obeyed when a request is made.  You should not need to beg your child to have a task completed.

8. She ignores you.  No child likes to hear the word, “No” but she shouldn’t ignore you when you speak to him.

9. He won’t play alone.  By the age of 4, a child should be willing (and able) to play on her own for a stretch of time.  Always needing a parent or playmate to play with demonstrates an unrealistic need for attention.

10. You have to bribe her. Parents should not have to bribe their little ones with money, toys, treats or the like to get them to do routine tasks.


Now….in case your child is spoiled, what do you do.  A few tips:

1. Recognize sometimes children become spoiled because parents are doing too much of a good thing, i.e., praising for doing things. Some parents praise children for EVERYTHING they are asked or expected to do and eventually, the child expects and demands this or refuses to do what is asked if praising is withheld. With children under 4, praise every time.  With children over 4, praise sporadically and begin asking the child how they feel when they have cleaned their room or picked up their toys/shoes.  Emphasize the good feeling they feel inside and explain this is what motivates most people as they get older….that good feeling inside for a job well done.  This teaches the child to start praising themselves for their own hard work.

2. In regards to temper tantrums, taking into account whether the child is tired, hungry, maxed out their ability to be patient in relation to the age they are, my first response is to IGNORE….ignore and carry on with what you are doing (i.e., the child in the shopping cart who is throwing a fit and mom is pushing the cart and ignoring the fit) or if you can’t continue doing what you were, wait but do not give in (i.e., the child is now on the floor of the store, kicking and screaming.  You calmly stand there and watch but do not give in or become emotional yourself.). Once the fit is over, focus on continuing your task and later, when calm, address the child and his/her fit.  The same for home.

3. Don’t expect your child or you to be perfect.  In today’s world, the unspoken rule is that if you are not a perfect parent, you are a bad parent.  With the thousands and thousands of books on parenting today, I have met parents that were afraid to say “no” to their child or let their child be a child (and lose it) for fear that they would be labeled a “bad parent”.  My mother never seemed to fear this!!!!! LOL.  Seriously, I recall many times she said “no” (and rightfully so), and I turned out fine.  When I encounter this, I encourage the parent to set the books aside and ask themselves what they think is reasonable to expect of the child or what they think is reasonable to do in the situation and most of the time, the parent comes up with fine responses for the child.

4. Bribing.  Ok, let’s face it, it is quick and easy and we have all used this in the past.  BUT, children quickly learn what you are doing and can/will  quickly turn it around on you.  I am working with a couple right now that have fallen into this trap.  What I am having them do is: 1, clarify with the child what they want him to do, 2, Explain there will be consequences if he doesn’t comply, 3, walk away if he throws a fit or refuses, 4, impose the consequences after a reasonable amount of time for the task to be accomplished, 5, follow-through with the consequences and use each other to support the other when following through with the consequences, 6, ignore his threats to retaliate, 7, again, re-present the request task, 8, clarify consequences, walk away,….you get the picture.  This is don’t without becoming emotional, without yelling, without threatening, etc.  They have come a long way…..they have a long way yet to go….and they will get there.


If you thing your child is spoiled, stop blaming yourself, consider what I have shared above and if you need further assistance, call me, Ed Esselman, Esselman Counseling, 217-224-5273.


More later…