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Worried Your Child is Spoiled? (You Can't Always Get What You Want.)

Posted by Melissa A

Recently, my parents sent my sons E and M a gift, and then cards came a few days later. When E saw the cards, he said “There’s no gift!” I explained to him that he got the gift a few days prior, and he dropped the subject. However, this is just one example of a series of mannerisms and expectations of a spoiled child.  This is the child whom I take to Target and he begs me to buy him everything he sees.

My husband and I have been giving our kids an allowance for helping around the house. Each pretend dollar we give them is equivalent of a quarter, so four of these would amount to a dollar. Whenever E asks us for things, we tell him how many of his pretend dollars would help pay for that item, so he understands the value of money. We like to get things for the kids and now that Hanukkah is around the corner, we’re stocking up on little items for each night. However, it is difficult to take E shopping when he is all about his own needs. If I look at items for his sister or brother, he gets mad and tells me we’re taking too long. Then he asks to buy things that he doesn’t need or will probably never use once it arrives home. (He’s been asking us for a cell phone lately. He’s 6 — who is he going to call?) Usually trips to the store result in tantrums where I’m informed that I NEVER get him ANYTHING! He also asks me to ask my parents to buy him expensive items if I refuse to buy them for him myself.

There’s also the matter of places to go. E really wants to go to Disney World and reminds us of this fact every day. He even wrote a note to my husband for his upcoming birthday. He wished him a happy birthday and then asked if we could go to Disney World. Another time, E and M were arguing over which restaurant to go to for dinner. My husband flipped a coin and went over the rules of the coin flip, explaining that the other had to accept where we were going, even if it wasn’t their top choice. M won the coin toss and E burst into tears, begging us to go to his choice the next day. There have been other times when E doesn’t get his way when it comes to going out and he has a similar reaction. Lately, he’s been pouting and saying “That’s SUPER not fair” when he doesn’t get his way. I usually tell him that life is not always fair and it’s going to be even more difficult as he gets older.

We love our children and will do anything for them — within reason. Therefore, we are not sure how to curb E’s sense of entitlement and also keep M and our baby from becoming spoiled as they get older. I have tried talking to E about how there are kids who don’t have any toys at all and I ask him to look through his toys to see what he can donate. He has a hard time parting with items, even if he doesn’t look at them anymore. As soon as I want to pack them up and ship them off, he gets upset that a toy he completely forgot about is in the box.

We are open to suggestions for how to teach the fine art of “not getting everything you want” to E before he becomes even more demanding. Any good advice?


About Melissa A

Melissa A. and her husband have 2 young sons, E and M, and a new baby daughter. Melissa's son E has hearing loss and wears a cochlear implant. Melissa works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit and also runs a bullying prevention group and a book-related fan group, in addition to blogging for Empowering Parents. You can check out Melissa’s personal blog here.

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