How does a child become spoiled?

Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs you can have. When a child is spoiled, they may be very dependent, irresponsible, defiant, and disrespectful.
Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs you can have. When a child is spoiled, they may be very dependent, irresponsible, defiant, and disrespectful.

Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs you can have. Every parent wants to show their kids love and provide the best life has to offer, but over-indulgent parenting may spoil your children, which has long-lasting negative effects.

Parenting with the best intentions for your child may not always turn out as you hope. If you find yourself frequently falling back on these approaches to parenting, you might notice your children becoming more spoiled.

Pampering

It’s natural to want your children to be happy, but giving them everything they ask for can cause long-term problems. Pampering your child leaves an impression of entitlement. If they come to expect that you will give in to their every request, they may never learn to be grateful for what you and other people do for them.

Being overprotective

Overprotective parents often spoil their children. Children who grow up under a lot of restrictions may develop an unhealthy attitude towards people in authority and rules, and can end up acting out more than their peers.

Constantly bailing out your child

By solving all of a child's problems, parents can keep them from learning how to deal with the consequences of their actions. Without this skill, your children may not learn how to take responsibility and plan their actions appropriately.

Failing to follow up on punishments

Conversely, when you set expectations for consequences and punishments, it’s essential to stick to them. Empty threats of punishment can prevent kids from fully feeling remorse and taking responsibility for their actions.

Are your children spoiled?

Every child is bound to act up once in a while, but how does it differ from being spoiled? There are a few warning signs that will help you in determining if you have a spoiled child. 

Refusing to accept a “no”

Spoiled children can’t handle being told “no.” If your child throws a tantrum or has a meltdown when you tell them they can’t do something, this could mean that your child is spoiled.

Keep in mind that there are plenty of other reasons for children to have temper tantrums as well, including mental illness or difficulty communicating their feelings. If you’re concerned that your child’s tantrums are due to being spoiled, be on the lookout for other warning signs. 

Dissatisfaction with what they have

Spoiled children are rarely satisfied with what they have and what they’ve been given. Despite already having plenty of clothes and toys, spoiled children will often continue asking for more. If that dissatisfaction gets coupled with a lack of gratitude, there is a strong chance that the child is becoming spoiled.

Desire for special treatment

Spoiled children often think more of themselves than of other people. They may expect people to offer them favors or special treatment. You may notice a spoiled child blaming others for their failures while expecting praise for everything they do.

What are the long-term effects of spoiling your children?

Spoiling your child may have long-term harmful effects. Since spoiled children may fail to learn to solve their problems growing up, they often lack the life skills needed to handle adulthood.

Increased dependency

Spoiled children may become excessively needy, and this dependency may present differently in their adulthood. Adults spoiled as children may find they are unhappy when alone and derive their happiness from others instead of themselves. This can make it difficult for them to build healthy relationships.

Increased irresponsibility

Spoiled children sometimes fail to learn responsible behavior. These children may end up developing social problems like overspending, gambling, overeating, and drug abuse in their adulthood. Such adults may lack emotional maturity and struggle to manage essential responsibilities like work, finances, and family.

Increased defiance and disrespect

Spoiled children who like to whine, beg, ignore, or manipulate others to get their way may display defiance and disrespect in adulthood. When rebellion is part of a child’s natural response, more negative behaviors are likely to develop in adulthood.

How do you handle spoiled children?

If you notice your child is spoiled, you need to resolve the issue early enough to avoid long-term consequences. As a parent, you can start by being kind and respectful, but responsible and firm when the situation calls for it. Set and enforce house rules, but don’t make so many restrictions that your child sees no option but to act out.

Remember that spending quality time together will always be more effective in building bonds and rewarding good behavior than materialistic items. Remain calm whenever your child throws tantrums, and don’t easily give in to your child’s demands. Learning to say “no” is part of effective parenting.

If you’re worried that your child is spoiled, there’s still time to help them develop healthier attitudes. Try addressing some of the above behaviors and seek support from professionals to start building better habits at home.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/26/2021
References
SOURCES:

Annual Review of Psychology: "Effects of Parenting on Children."

Child Mind Institute: "Parents Guide to Problem Behavior."

Family and Children's Center: “Spoiling Children."

Greater Good Magazine: "How Independent Should Your Teenager Be?"

Kids Health: "Disciplining Your Toddler," "Steps to Effective Parenting," "Temper Tantrums."

Michigan State University: "Overprotective Parenting Style."

The Center for Parenting Education: "Instilling an Attitude of Gratitude in Kids."