Avoid Spoiling or Entitlement

NOT Thinking About Others Leads to Entitlement

A child who does not eventually learn to think about others becomes an individual whose life has been marred—thus, spoiled. Spoiled children, who simply can’t think beyond their own wants, do not make fun of playmates. Later in life, these children do not make good teammates or life partners. The ability to consider others remains important. A spoiled teenager or adult who cannot recognize the value of others will never feel truly happy.



An adult who has been spoiled as a baby, child, or teen appears to lack satisfaction or enjoyment. At least two characteristics can be noted. First, children who grow up without thinking of others will have a hard time keeping close friends. In addition, a “me” world does not promote happiness as children grow older.

The transition from a “me” world to the concept of “us” is not easy for children. Initially, they will vacillate between showing patience and kindness to others and wanting to immediately get their own wants and needs met. Parents, grandparents, and teachers can make certain each child’s needs get met. Games that involve taking turns support a healthy transition. By age five or six, the social awareness of most children will be well enough developed to understand that we live in a world that involves all of us. Many times, when making this transition, children will resist as they alter their boundaries and learn to be part of a group. Although somewhat painful, this important life lesson makes a difference between a life with purpose and one of total self-absorption.

Story: Entitlement Is Not Love

Child: “Give it to me now! I want it now!”

Parent: “You have already had too many cookies. This is one of your brother’s cookies.”

During continued arguments with her parent, the child’s face is red, she is perspiring, her hands are clenched into fists and her feet are stomping as she screams, “I hate you. My brother is so lazy he doesn’t deserve any cookies. Give me one of his cookies right now or I’m going to hit you.”

Parent: “Well. . . maybe your brother won’t mind too much if you eat one of his cookies. But only one. Do you understand?”

Child: “I don’t care whether my stupid brother cares or not. I deserve the cookie because I want it. If you don’t give me that cookie right this minute, you will be sorry.”

Of course, you see where this is going. By the end of this argument, the parent gives every single one of the brother’s cookies to her.

The old term “spoiled” has been replaced by “entitled.” An entitled child expects everything in life to be handed to her without putting out effort. Convinced that she should get whatever she wants, she assumes others exist to serve her every desire. I would consider this a spoiled life—basically a ruined life.

NOT Thinking About Others Leads to Entitlement

A child who does not eventually learn to think about others becomes an individual whose life has been marred—thus, spoiled. Spoiled children, who simply can’t think beyond their own wants, do not make fun of playmates. Later in life, these children do not make good teammates or life partners. The ability to consider others remains important. A spoiled teenager or adult who cannot recognize the value of others will never feel truly happy. An adult who has been spoiled as a baby, child, or teen appears to lack satisfaction or enjoyment. At least two characteristics can be noted. First, children who grow up without thinking of others will have a hard time keeping close friends. In addition, a “me” world does not promote happiness as children grow older.

The transition from a “me” world to the concept of “us” is not easy for children. Initially, they will vacillate between showing patience and kindness to others and wanting to immediately get their own wants and needs met. Parents, grandparents, and teachers can make certain each child’s needs get met. Games that involve taking turns support a healthy transition. By age five or six, the social awareness of most children will be well enough developed to understand that we live in a world that involves all of us. When making this transition, children will often resist as they alter their boundaries and learn to be part of a group. Although somewhat painful, this important life lesson makes a difference between a life with purpose and one of total self-absorption.

Story: Entitlement Is Not Love

Child: “Give it to me now! I want it now!”

Parent: “You have already had too many cookies. This is one of your brother’s cookies.”

During continued arguments with her parent, the child’s face is red, she is perspiring, her hands are clenched into fists and her feet are stomping as she screams, “I hate you. My brother is so lazy he doesn’t deserve any cookies. Give me one of his cookies right now or I’m going to hit you.”

Parent: “Well. . . maybe your brother won’t mind too much if you eat one of his cookies. But only one. Do you understand?”

Child: “I don’t care whether my stupid brother cares or not. I deserve the cookie because I want it. If you don’t give me that cookie right this minute, you will be sorry.”

This name appears nowhere else in the manuscript. Suggest full identification/introduction here on the first reference.

Of course, you see where this is going. By the end of this argument, the parent gives every single one of the brother’s cookies to her.

The old term “spoiled” has been replaced by “entitled.” An entitled child expects everything in life to be handed to her without putting out effort. Convinced that she should get whatever she wants, she assumes others exist to serve her every desire. I would consider this a spoiled life—basically a ruined life.

An entitled or spoiled child demonstrates the following unpleasant behaviors:

  • Cannot handle the word “no”

  • Does not hide disgust for unwanted gifts

  • Refuses to follow rules

  • Has frequent temper tantrums at age three and older

  • Does not offer to help others

  • Cannot play well with peers

  • Will not do chores

  • Usually does not say “please” or “thank you”

  • Begins talking by saying, “I need. . .”

  • Cannot share well

  • Talks to adults as she does with peers

  • Fails to show empathy

  • Does not compromise

  • Fails to be a good sport

  • Says the wrong things at the wrong times

  • Does not care if others feel inconvenienced

  • Lashes out if she does not get what she wants

  • Has poor self-esteem

  • Demands to be treated in special ways

  • Bullies others

  • Manipulates others

  • Always wants more

When your child insists on getting what she wants, experts advise you to avoid falling for the following examples of an entitled child’s reasoning.

  • I should get it because I want it.

  • Everyone else has one.

  • I broke my old one and want a new, better one.

There is a great difference between meeting your child’s basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and fun (yes, fun is a basic need) and giving her everything she wants, a psychologist, suggests using the guidelines below when age-appropriate.

  • Avoid excess, even for toddlers. Excess might look like a great-grandmother buying four dolls when one would be enough.

  • When your child gets old enough for a more sophisticated toy such as a cell phone, stick with one that works but does not have all the bells and whistles.

  • Avoid rescuing your child or preventing natural or logical consequences. Expect your child to learn lessons from the consequences of her behaviors.

  • Provide chores.

  • Arrange opportunities for her to help others.

  • The model being a good citizen by following rules and helping others.


child demonstrates the following unpleasant behaviors:

  • Cannot handle the word “no”

  • Does not hide disgust for unwanted gifts

  • Refuses to follow rules

  • Has frequent temper tantrums at age three and older

  • Does not offer to help others

  • Cannot play well with peers

  • Will not do chores

  • Usually does not say “please” or “thank you”

  • Begins talking by saying, “I need. . .”

  • Cannot share well

  • Talks to adults as she does with peers

  • Fails to show empathy

  • Does not compromise

  • Fails to be a good sport

  • Says the wrong things at the wrong times

  • Does not care if others feel inconvenienced

  • Lashes out if she does not get what she wants

  • Has poor self-esteem

  • Demands to be treated in special ways

  • Bullies others

  • Manipulates others

  • Always wants more

When your child insists on getting what she wants, experts advise you to avoid falling for the following examples of an entitled child’s reasoning.

  • I should get it because I want it.

  • Everyone else has one.

  • I broke my old one and want a new, better one.

There is a great difference between meeting your child’s basic needs for food, shelter, clothing, and fun (yes, fun is a basic need) and giving her everything she wants. Hickman[BT1], a psychologist, suggests using the guidelines below when age-appropriate.

  • Avoid excess, even for toddlers. Excess might look like a great-grandmother buying four dolls when one would be enough.

  • When your child gets old enough for a more sophisticated toy such as a cell phone, stick with one that works but does not have all the bells and whistles.

  • Avoid rescuing your child or preventing natural or logical consequences. Expect your child to learn lessons from the consequences of her behaviors.

  • Provide chores.

  • Arrange opportunities for her to help others.

  • Model being a good citizen by following rules and helping others.


[BT1]This name appears nowhere else in the manuscript. Suggest full identification/introduction here on the first reference.

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