How to tell when your child is becoming spoiled

Some parents who adore their children and want the very best for them might easily get caught up in being too permissive and overindulgent, all in the name of love.

Being kind and generous to one’s children is admirable, however, being a loving parent also means setting limits and boundaries, instilling positive traits and teaching responsibility. Otherwise, a child is apt to grow up self-centered, demanding, irresponsible and unpleasant to be around.

Signs of a spoiled child:


Children who are so self-centered that they believe their wants and needs supersede everyone else’s can safely be categorized as spoiled. Being self-centered is a natural phase in development that a child goes through at about two years of age. As the child matures and develops empathy for the feelings of others, that self-centered phase comes to an end, unless it is reinforced by overindulgent parents.

Hard to satisfy

When children have every whim, wish and want fulfilled it is difficult to keep them satisfied, for they keep wanting more and better. When things come too easily there is a tendency to undermine the value. Children who are raised knowing that responsibility translates to rewards tend to appreciate what they have and to be more satisfied than their spoiled counterparts.

No respect for rules

Children who do not respect rules or authority figures, refuse to compromise and argue constantly in order to have their way are displaying signs of being spoiled. When children are allowed to become excessively strong-willed to their own detriment, their permissive parents are setting them up for failure in school, and potentially in life.

Temper tantrums

Children who have temper tantrums long after the appropriate age of two are certainly acting out in a spoiled way. Temper tantrums are a misguided effort to control others.

If your child makes unreasonable demands and then flies into a rage when those demands are not met, you are dealing with the sad result of permissive parenting.

Always bored

Children are naturally inventive and creative. They will play for hours with the simplest items. Children who are surrounded by possessions and have access to indoor and outdoor areas for play, yet continually complain of being “bored” are displaying spoiled attitudes. Spoiled children have not learned to entertain themselves and become high maintenance for they are always seeking someone else to entertain them.


Spoiled children are often rude to their friends, family and anyone else they might encounter. This unacceptable behavior can be traced back to the self-centered attitude developed as a result of permissive parenting. Rude, spoiled children often have a shortage of friends and try the patience of adults, as others may find them unpleasant to be around.

The behaviors outlined as being signs of a spoiled child might also be attributed to ADHD, for children with that disorder often have difficulty focusing and are hyperactive.

If you have a child who displays any of the signs of a spoiled child and you have doubts, it is wise to consult with your pediatrician and have the child evaluated for a medical issue.

A spoiled child can be reformed. Dr. Phil McGraw has published an outstanding article on the subject on his website giving step by step instructions to parents on how to reverse the negative effects of permissive parenting.

In conclusion, loving your children does not mean spoiling them. You show true love through taking care to raise your children to become competent, self-reliant and productive adults that others enjoy being around.