This Holiday Season, Ask Yourself – Am I Raising a Spoiled Child?

“Spoiled! Not my kid!” Right??? Or would you admit that your child is just a tad bit spoiled?

All the polls say that most Americans feel kids today are more spoiled than ever. A TIME/CNN poll found that two out of three parents feel their kids are spoiled. A poll by the New American Dream showed 70 percent of parents believe kids are too focused on buying things. I have to say I agree with the polls. The truth is there is no gene for spoiled. We have ourselves to blame for this one. Spoiled is clearly a learned behavior and one that is none too pleasant. But the good news is that this trait can be turned around. The first step to a makeover is realizing why spoiling our kids doesn’t do them any favors. The second step is taking an honest reflection to see if your child is moving into the “spoiled category.” Here is how to get started:

The Dangers of Raising Spoiled Kids

Of course we love our kids and want the best for them. We don’t want to see them unhappy for a single second. But indulging our kids’ every little whim doesn’t do our kids any favors. In fact, there are a few dangers to overindulging kids. Here are my top four concerns:

  • Don’t win popularity contests. Forget the birthday party invitations. Spoiled kids are not pleasant to be around. Other children do not like them because spoiled kids are often bossy and selfish. Who wants to be around a kid who always wants thing to go his way, who rarely shares, and who considers his own needs first? Adults (especially teachers) are turned off to spoiled kids because they are often rude and make excessive demands.
  • Reduces perseverance. Because everything comes a bit easier, a spoiled child has a tougher time handling the downsides of life. Spoiled kids are used to getting their way ASAP so they not only may have reduced perseverance when it comes to schoolwork but also a tougher time handling advertisy and the harder parts of life.
  • Lowers self-esteem. New research shows that always getting what you want leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, more psychosomatic complaints, and worse relationships with parents.You’re also in danger of the raising an “always unsatisfied” kid who always wants more and is never appreciative.
  • Robs character. Watch out! Spoiled kids often measure their worth based on what they have instead of who they are. They have a tougher time in the “empathy” department of feeling for others (a benchmark of ethical behavior) because they are more concerned about themselves.

But how do you know if your kid is spoiled? Here is my four word review for spoiled.

A Four-Word Test For a Spoiled Kid

There are four words that typically describe spoiled children. How is your child doing? Here is my four-word test for a spoiled kid that I shared on the TODAY show:

  • “NO!” She can’t handle the word. He expects to get what she wants and usually does. Take my Toy store test. Your child is in walking down the toy aisle and wants a toy he doesn’t need. You say no. Can you kid handle no (or does he beg, nag or have a tantrum to get his way).
  • “ME!” She is self-centered and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks more of herself than about others. She feels “entitled” and expects special favors and generally succeeds in getting them. He watches TV. You do the housework. She doesn’t like the dinner. You cook another meal just for her. He wants an extension on his homework assignment that he never got around to doing and expects the teacher to give it to him.
  • “GIMME!” A spoiled kid is more into getting than receiving, because she has so much and she just wants more. She’s generally unappreciative and a bit greedy. You can’t think of what to give her for the holidays because she already has everything. He requests things only by brand name. She bases her character on what she owns and wears instead of who she is. Do you feel more like an ATM machine than a parent?
  • “NOW!” A spoiled kid just can’t wait and wants things A.S.A.P. It’s just plain easier to give in to this child than to postpone her request. She interrupts when you’re on the phone and expects you to stop. And you do. She whines to get the cookie-n.o.w.-and can’t wait for after dinner.

Be honest…Do any of those words fit your child’s typical behavior? Any one words could indicate that your child is moving into the “spoiled” category. Here is another quick test: Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled? If so, it’s time for a serious makeover.

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Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago. Why is a lack of empathy—along with the self-absorption epidemic Dr. Michele Borba calls the Selfie Syndrome—so dangerous? First, it hurts kids’ academic performance and leads to bullying behaviors. Also, it correlates with more cheating and less resilience. And once children grow up, it hampers their ability to collaborate, innovate and problem-solve—all must-have skills for the global economy. The good news? Empathy is a trait that can be taught and nurtured.  UnSelfie is a blueprint for parents and educators who want activate our children’s hearts and shift their focus from I, me, and mine… to we, us, and ours.  It’s time to include “empathy” in our parenting and teaching!  UnSelfie is AVAILABLE NOW at amazon.com.