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Are Your Children Spoiled?

For all ages and a myriad of behavior problems, WebMD helps parents regain control.

Why Do We Spoil Our Children? continued...

For example, “Look at what ‘Please hand me that stick’ can morph into at the playground,” he says: "'Can you pretty please give Mommy the stick, and then we’ll go to the candy store?'"

But a child who controls parents is actually out of control, Bromfield says.

He recalls one couple who “walked on eggshells” around their preschooler to avoid triggering the boy’s rages. Why was he so angry? In part, Bromfield says, “he felt frightened of his own aggression because even his parents, rather than stand up to him, would give in to him.”

“Kids want their parents to be parents,” Bromfield adds. As he writes in his book, “A child needs boundaries and structure to grow and will seek them when they are absent. A child who perpetually pesters her parent may be searching for the limits she needs to grow straight. Her demanding and destructive behavior is meant, to a great degree, to test you, her parent, to find out what outrageous reaction will finally get you to react -- constructively.”

Unchecked, a child’s sense of entitlement and spoiled behavior can spill over into the classroom, sports team, and play dates, causing rejection from other children. “Even brats hate being brats,” Bromfield says. “They will be the first ones to know that their selfishness is getting in the way. They will show you, even as they’re defending themselves, that they’re envious of kids who aren’t selfish.”

Reviewed on May 05, 2009

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