9 Signs You Might Be Raising a Spoiled Child (and How to Fix It!)

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Written By Olivia Miller

Author at Montessori Expert.

Have you ever noticed your child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store because you wouldn’t buy them that candy bar?

Or maybe they constantly expect the newest gadgets and designer clothes, never seeming grateful for what they already have. These could be signs your child is developing Entitled behavior. While it’s natural to want to give our kids everything they desire, spoiling them can backfire. It can lead to frustration, a lack of resilience, and difficulty forming healthy relationships later in life.

Is It Too Late to Change Course?

So, when is it too late to address spoiled behavior? The truth is, it’s never too late. Even teenagers can learn valuable lessons about responsibility and gratitude.

The key is to be consistent and patient. The younger you start, of course, the easier it will be.

Characteristics of a Spoiled Child

an angry girl child sitting on a couch with her mom standing behind them

Here are some of characteristics of spoiled child to watch out for in your kid:

  • Frequent Tantrums and meltdowns
  • Difficulty accepting “no”
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of appreciation and gratitude
  • Materialistic focus
  • Unwillingness to help around the house
  • Blaming other– They’re never at fault
  • Poor sportsmanship
  • Disrespectful behavior

Signs Your Child Might Be Spoiled (and How to Tackle Them!)

1. Meltdowns at “No”

a little girl is looking at the hand of her mom

At the toy store, your child begs for an expensive toy you can’t afford. When you say no, they lie down on the floor, kicking and screaming. 

How to Handle It:

Stay calm and firm. Explain your decision clearly and simply. Offer choices when possible (“Would you like apple slices or carrots with your lunch?”).

Follow through with consistent consequences (e.g., leaving the store calmly if the tantrum continues). 

2. Ungrateful Attitude

a young child and their parent are having fun in the living room

Your child receives a thoughtful gift from a relative. They rip open the package, barely acknowledging it, and immediately ask, “What else did I get?”

Or You make them their favorite dinner. They push it around their plate complaining there’s “nothing good to eat.” 

How to Handle It:

Teach gratitude. Encourage them to write thank-you notes and express appreciation verbally. Help them understand the effort that goes into gifts and preparing meals.   

3. The “Gimme Now” Attitude 

You see a new movie advertised that your child desperately wants to watch. They insist you take them immediately, regardless of your schedule or prior plans.

Or Their friend gets a new phone, and they badger you for the latest model, too, even if theirs is perfectly functional. 

How to Handle It:

Teach patience and delayed gratification. Explain that sometimes you have to wait for things.

Set up an allowance system or chore chart so they can earn money towards desired items. Help them understand the value of money and responsible spending. 

4. Sees Chores as Punishment

They see cleaning their room or helping with dishes as a chore to be avoided at all costs. They might try to bargain or negotiate their way out of responsibilities. 

Or When asked to help, they do the bare minimum with a bad attitude, making more work for everyone. 

How to Handle It:

Frame chores as a contribution to the family. Make chores age-appropriate and assign them to everyone in the household.  

Offer positive reinforcement for completing tasks without complaint. Consider a family reward system for consistently completing chores. 

5. Masters of Manipulation

a mom and her girl child

They know exactly how to push your buttons.  They might use puppy-dog eyes, guilt trips, or even threats to get what they want. 

How to Handle It:

Communicate with your partner and present a united front. Discuss expectations and consequences beforehand.

Don’t give in to emotional manipulation.  Focus on rewarding good behavior and offering positive reinforcement.   

6. Blaming Others (It’s Never Their Fault!)

They get a bad grade on a test and blame the teacher for not explaining things clearly. 

Or They lose a game and accuse their teammate of letting them down. 

How to Handle It:

Teach accountability. Help them understand that mistakes happen, but it’s important to learn from them.

Encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and find solutions to problems. 

7. Poor Sportsmanship

two people sitting in a car

During a game, they get frustrated if they’re not winning and might throw a tantrum or argue with the referee. 

Or They refuse to play if they think they might lose.   

How to Handle It:

Focus on the importance of having fun and learning new skills, not just winning. 

Teach them good sportsmanship: congratulate the winner, shake hands, and learn from losses.

Let them experience the natural consequences of bad sportsmanship (e.g., not getting invited to play again).  

8. They Cling Like Velcro

They struggle to separate from you, even for short periods. Drop-offs at daycare or school can be tearful battles.

Or They need constant reassurance and attention. They might follow you around the house or get anxious when you’re not in the same room. 

How to Handle It:

Encourage independence and age-appropriate self-sufficiency. Give them small tasks to complete on their own.

Praise them for their bravery and growing confidence. Start small with short separations and gradually increase the time. Reassure them of your love and that you’ll always be there for them. 

9. Disrespectful Behaviour

a mom is talking to a little girl

They talk back to you or other adults in a rude tone.  

Or They don’t say “please” or “thank you,” and expect things to be done for them without even asking.  

How to Handle It:

Set clear expectations for respectful behavior. Model good manners yourself and explain why they’re important.

Offer positive reinforcement for polite behavior. Use natural consequences, like having them redo a task they didn’t ask for nicely. 

There you have it! Those are 9 common signs of a spoiled child, along with practical tips to address them.

Remember, consistency is key! With patience and positive reinforcement, you can help your child develop into a responsible, grateful, and well-adjusted young person.

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