How do you un-spoil a child??? - FamilyEducation
How do you un-spoil a child???
07/19/2007 at 10:45 AM

My daughter is 6 and an only child.  She was a dificult baby which caused us to get in the habbit of tip toing around her.  She's a great kid, very funny and smart but she is obsessed with getting toys, can't handle losing a game, gets little joy out of things most kids would (even our very first trip to Disney world last month!) because she's taken to Chucky Cheese or the local theme parks so much (by her dad, myself, grandparents), etc.  Yesterday when playing games with friends I noticed her bending the rules when ever things weren't going her way.  She actually started to cry when she was trying to make up an excuse for why she wasn't really tagged or had dropped the ball.  I can see her growing up hated by other kids because of her attitude, she has little concern for other people which is completely the opposite of my husband and I.  I take full responsibility for myself and husband and know we have brought this on ourselves.  But how to we fix it before it is too late?

Boy have you got some work to do!!!! Start by letting the grandparents know that there is to be no more Chuck E Cheese/etc's for the time being. Start with the basics. Explain to her that she has one job in life: to be the best person she can be. Explain that as her parents you have one job: to HELP her be the best person she can be. So for example, playing games. I would have pulled her from the activity, taken her aside and gone over the two jobs listed above. Then I would have asked her how her behavior demonstrated that she was doing her job? I would let her know that because I am here to help, I will wait for her to work it out and give me an answer. If she starts out by saying that it is other people's fault, I would point out that what they did was their choice. I am asking her about the choice she made to __(make excuses, be rude, not play fairly, have a bad time, etc)___.  When she can appreciate time with you where ever you are, then it will be OK to expand (to playdates, Chuck E Cheese, etc).  It's really the best place to start. Be strong, be patient, always keep the focus on the choices SHE is making and how you are helping her to make better choices. I'm willing to bet that when you help her to see what choices she is making (including in her attitude), that she will be a happier child (and that will roll over into her relationship skills with other children as well!). Hope this helped!



Excellent observation. My problem is the same, yet I am divorced, the father spoils them, no discipline, etc. I do believe it's all an attempt to manipulate them to want to live with him, and it is a competition with me. I have no solution as it's a constant battle to unspoil him every weekend he comes home. Be glad for one you are married and can work on this together.

I hate to admit this, but I'm in the same boat as you.  My 6 y/o (my third of three boys) is turning out to be a serious spoiled brat.  Some of this is my doing... compensating for his food allergies and for having to drag him around to his brothers' activities. My husband is TERRIBLE about bribing him with candy and taking him to Target to buy toys for good behavior that I feel should be expected without reward. We never would have treated our older children this way, and it is starting to create some resentment among the siblings. He doesn't try bending rules like your daughter, but he has equally annoying and manipulative behavior (babytalk, whining, tantrums) that will certainly wreak havoc on his social life later on if we don't nip this in the bud fast.


For the next few weeks, the older brothers will be at camp, so I hope to take advantage of the relative peace in our home to implement some changes.  I'll be interested in reading the other replies. 


Thanks for letting me VENT!!!


Well, here's another piece of good news for all of you: As long as you stay true to your word, carry through with your expectations, motivate them to be the best they can be when they are with you, they will turn out pretty well. I am one of those moms who is always watching kids, picking up kids, teaching kids, whatever. When kids are with me, I enforce my rules. They all know how to behave when they are with me. I can't do anything about what happens anywhere else and let go of that. I have even reminded kids of that same thing! I tell them that it is my job to help them be the best person they can be and while they are with me, I am going to do my job. I expect them to do their job: BE the best person they can be. Your lessons will guide them where ever they are and at some point they will appreciate you for it!


What excellent advice!  I truly appreciate it. 


Hi I have appreciate all the wonderful advice, but does anger,rage tag on to a spoiled child? My 8yr old is totally raging out when she does not get her way or does not want to do somethings. She does not let go of it until she wears herself out! Have any one out there have this issur? Thanks

I have an eleven year old drama queen. I have tried hard not to spoil her but she's turned into this kind of child of entitlement. If an adult has something or behaves in a certain way (not a bad way, like staying up later at night) she's entitled to also! She's very clothes (label and store) conscious and does not see why she needs to pick up her things, help with her dishes after dinner or set the table. She has her own money - from birthdays, etc. but refuses to spend it. She can be an absolutely delightful child to get what she wants but as soon as she gets it, or the focus is on someone else. She is incredibly self-centered, rude and obnoxious. Help!

Raging can be indicative of a serious issue. You should have your child evaluated by a competent psychologist as soon as you possibly can. I work with children with emotional issues and anger and raging as you describe it is not being simply spoiled. Your daughter and family need to get help now or you will have some really serious issues to deal with when she gets older. Early intervention is the key!! Let me know if I can help in any way.

Hi everyone, I used to work as a nanny for two spoiled little "angels". Cute as can be, but spoiled like you wldn't believe! The parents knew this too, but continued to give into their every want. B/c the parents both worked, I believe they felt guilty not being w/ their children all the time, so they wld come home w/ gifts almost every wk! They also wld take the boys to Disney and other similar vacations every yr. Can you believe it? The family was very nice and loving, but they seriously needed some help. These kids ran their lives! If you told them no, they wld throw tamtrums, break toys, slam doors.... This was all b/c mommy and daddy always gave in. From my experience, I've learned that you have to stick to your word and never give in. It'll probably get worse before it gets better, but you have to be strong. Use discipline appropriate to the action (time-out/taking things away), and be CONSISTENT! When things calm down a bit, discuss the option of an allowance. This will help teach your child the value of working for things and appreciating them. It also teaches responsibility. You don't need to buy material things or go to expensive theme parks to show your child you love her. Just spend time w/ her playing simple games, going to the playground, doing crafts, etc. Your daughter will thank you later on. Good luck!