How NOT to Raise a Spoiled Brat

I am often so saddened about the youth of today’s world. In many cases they seem so misguided as to the way the world really works. So many kids seem to think they are owed the world on a silver platter. And then, when they become adults, they are left wondering what happened. Much of this is due to the instant gratification of today’s world and the overall messaging our kids are hearing in the world around them. But with all these things rolled together, you might be left wondering how not to end up with a spoiled brat.


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There are things we can do as parents to help offset the messages and examples that our kids are seeing in the world around them. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. Never has this been more true than it is today.

Here’s how to not raise a spoiled brat in today’s world.

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1. Teach your kids to work hard

Kids who do not have a entitlement attitude are fueled by hard work. Of course working hard in school, in their extracurricular activities, and around the house are certainly important aspects. But I am specifically referring to working hard at a paying job.

My older kids are old enough to have regular “wants.” Of course as parents we want to meet, at least partially, the wants of our children at times. But, it is so important that our children also take a role in meeting their own wants in order to deflate that attitude of entitlement. My kids babysit, shovel snow in the neighborhood, do various yard work for neighbors, and take on other odds and ends to earn some spending money of their own.

A paying job doesn’t mean a job that necessarily takes them too far from home. Brainstorm some ideas of what kids as young as 10 can do to earn a little money.

I got a flyer in my mailbox not too long ago of a 10 year old in my neighborhood who was advertising weeding, yard work, dog walking, car washing and more. I bet he has done well this summer since it’s all that annoying stuff that busy people just don’t have time for.

It is amazing what kids can find to do if they are motivated by their “wants.”

2. Don’t rescue 

Natural consequences can be a great method to use when correcting and disciplining children, but it can also be an effective technique in curbing an entitlement attitude. 

It’s hard to watch our kids fail, but there is no way to avoid failing at certain things in life. There are universal lessons about life that simply must be learned. Allowing your kids to learn the basics of the way the world around them works when they are still living in your home allows these to become teachable moments beyond the failure. 

If your kids are left discovering these things as adults, they will truly be learning these things the hard way. Often with much larger consequences as well.

3. Say no 

Of course it is important to say yes, but your kids also have to know what it is like to be told no. In a world where anything goes these days, no can be a foreign concept. 

Learn to say no. Say no to what really matters. Don’t be pressured into saying yes when you really want to say no. 

Hearing no from you makes it much easier for your kids to hear no from others. And let’s face it, they will certainly hear no in the outside world. 

4. Be the parent, not the friend

This is a delicate dance in being a parent today. But, being a parent should always trump being a friend. I have great friendships with my older kids, but at times they tell me they hate me, too. This is when I’m not giving in, I’m not giving up, and I’m doing what I feel is best for them.

In a nutshell, this is when I’m being the parent rather than the friend.

This is tough. But, no one ever said parenting would be easy. It’s important to stand up to your kids for what you feel is right. 

5. Don’t give them the world

This goes with working hard, but you simply cannot give your kids everything. If you do, how will this work for them as adults? Giving your kids everything they want certainly is a recipe for a spoiled brat. 

6. Teach them to be grateful for what they have

Contentment is something we all struggle with at times. We all wish we could have things we don’t, be spared of difficult circumstances, and to be treated fairly all the time.

But, does this happen in the world you know?

It most certainly doesn’t happen in mine all the time. In fact, it can feel like these things hardly ever happen at times!

Contentment is the opposite of entitlement. One or the other will be fed, and since humans are selfish by nature, an attitude of contentment is a learned skill. Foster contentment in your own life, model it for your children, and encourage your child to find contentment in their life whenever you see an entitlement attitude arise. 

So many kids these days are being raised with the attitude of entitlement. If you want to put a stop to that in your own house, then put these six tips into practice and transform your kids’ lives.

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