From the first day you bring home your bundle of joy, you want to give them the world. But at some point, you may notice your sweet angel has turned into a little monster. So, how can you tell if your wee one is suffering from an extended case of the Terrible Twos, or if they’re (gasp)… spoiled? Here are eight warning signs that you may just have a spoiled child on your hands.
- They avoid any work
It isn’t unusual for younger children to hate cleaning up. It’s almost as if they’re allergic to household chores. But once they’ve passed that toddler stage, they should be able to complete small tasks like putting their toys away and making their bed. Responsibilities like this can instill values like discipline and organization in a little one. But a spoiled child often avoids this kind of purposeful physical activity. If a task isn’t “fun,” they simply aren’t interested.
- They don’t like to share
Sharing isn’t caring in the mind of a spoiled child. They want everything but aren’t willing to give up anything in return. While the art of giving and sharing is tough for many toddlers to master, they should be more willing to exchange their food or toys with family and friends as they get older. If encouraging them to share their toys sparks a meltdown, you may have the beginnings of a spoiled youngster.
- They often embarrass you in public
Spoiled kiddos often excel at acting out to embarrass their parents in public. Doing what they can to irritate or frustrate you is a ploy to grab the attention of other adults. And a flustered mom or dad will sometimes bribe their little one to quash their tantrum and escape further embarrassment. What’s the cure? Stay cool and collected. Take your child to an isolated place (e.g., a bathroom, a lobby, etc.) and calm them down away from the public gaze.
- They express themselves by throwing tantrums
One sure sign that you have a spoiled munchkin under your roof is temper tantrums. Is your little one prone to regular meltdowns at home and in public? If they’re not shy about making their demands known and don’t care whether there are people watching them, throwing tantrums could be yet another tool to getting what they want (just like the embarrassment ploy). But stay strong: Giving them what they want after they’ve made a big fuss simply rewards their behavior.
- They’re ungrateful
Children who are used to getting what they want all the time often have a sense of entitlement. In their mind, they deserve everything they get. They don’t say “thank you” or accept responsibility for their actions, particularly when they do something wrong. As such, this kind of “me-first” attitude is usually a major indicator that your child is spoiled.
- They expect bribes for any effort
Spoiled tykes are often clever when it comes to getting what they want. They sometimes feel that if they perform any task or act appropriately, they deserve a reward in return. While positive reinforcement isn’t a bad practice in itself, when a little one requires a new toy or candy to get anything done, they may have crossed into spoiled territory.
- They give you the cold shoulder
This isn’t much of a shocker, but a spoiled little one simply doesn’t like the word “no.” And when they hear this dreaded word from a parent, they’ll simply use the avoidance technique in order to get their way. Unfortunately, that usually translates into a serious case of the cold shoulder. To test their boundaries, they may ignore you when you try to communicate with them. But the key here is to deal with their behavior without losing your cool.
- They aren’t independent
Every child’s personality is different, of course, and a refusal to play on their own or complete basic tasks isn’t necessarily a bad sign in itself. But ask yourself: Does your little one require support for everything they do? While having some sense of independence may not come naturally as a young toddler, older tykes should be able to do certain things on their own. For example, they should be able to play successfully with other children without tattling on their friends or constantly seeking the attention of their parents.
Whether or not you feel your kid meets any of these criteria, the cure for these behaviors is fairly simple: boundaries and consistency. You don’t have to give in to every demand your child makes. Every little one is different, and you’re the best judge for setting appropriate limits. Just make sure to set some and stick with them… before it’s too late!