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5 Must-Know Tricks to Avoid Turning Kids Into Spoiled Brats

Posted by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM
  • 27 Replies
2 moms liked this

5 Must-Know Tricks to Avoid Turning Kids Into Spoiled Brats

by Lisa Fogarty

Confession: before the Christmas madness set in, I wrote a post in which I argued that $224 is not nearly enough money to spend on a child during the holidays. My non-scientific hypothesis came from the realization that many of the toys I really wanted my daughter to have -- Magna Tiles, anyone? -- are stupidly expensive. Lots of readers chewed me out on my opinion, but I thought -- oh, what's the harm? It's my child's first real Christmas (she's 2) and I want to give her everything her heart desires. 

I am publicly prepared to eat my words. Christmas morning was gorgeous and memorable, but also proved to me that if my child turns into a spoiled brat, my husband and I will be solely to blame. But we also have the power to stop this bad behavior before it sets in. 

I'd always been told children are naturally greedy little creatures. False statement. Sure, they may be pre-programmed to think of their needs before all else, but I could see on Christmas morning just how much influence we were having on her desire to acquire more, more, more. After opening just one present and setting her eyes on a little plastic wand that couldn't have cost more than $10, she was totally content to leave all of the other gifts wrapped and focus on that one.

But, instead of leaving her alone, what did we do? We pushed her to open the others. She became fatigued after awhile and we could tell she cared very little about many of her gifts because she couldn't help but feel sensory overload. Various objects beeped, lights were going off in one corner of the room, and a universe of Little People had exploded on the living room rug. There was just too much. She couldn't focus. She ended the morning with a wild tantrum.

A situation like this one could occur any day of the year -- holiday or not. We want to give our children everything, but is it worth it if he or she has too much to appreciate any one thing? Or if our children are banging up their toys and treating them like old rags they can trash? 

Here are some quick tips on how to prevent our children from becoming spoiled brats, despite our desires to give them the world:

1. If your children are really young, consider storing many of the gifts you give around holiday time so that you can slowly introduce them throughout the year. Doing so will ensure they are appreciative of each gift they receive. 

2. If your children are a little older, tip number 1 probably won't work well since they aren't likely to forget what they opened on the holidays. Evaluate what you have before you wrap everything and consider storing some of the gifts for later on in the year.

3. Use the following words often: "No, and that's the end of the story." If your child insists on having something that you know he doesn't need, it's up to you to be his parent and not his friend. 

4. Teach your child how to take care of her toys and make it a priority to ensure she cleans up after herself each day. As annoying as it may be, you are teaching her to respect and value what she has instead of taking it for granted.

5. Show your child how much fun it is to give, as well as receive. Include them when you purchase a gift or card for grandma and make a big deal out of their contribution. 

What do you do to ensure your children aren't spoiled -- especially around holiday or birthday time?

by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Queen25Princes on Dec. 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM
My boys are spoiled, but not spoiled brats.
by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 11:26 AM
My kids get everything they want for Christmas, but they also buy gifts for their siblings and cousins so they learn Christmas is about giving not just receiving. I give them each some money to pick out the gifts. My ds decided to add all of his allowance to get dd a furby boom. It was really sweet.
by Emerald Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM
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 Notice that the writer's child is 2.  TWO!  I take a lot of flack for saying that my children have been cleaning up after themselves, caring for their own toys, choosing gifts, etc since they were toddlers.  I'm not kidding when I say this and I whole heartedly believe that this is why my children aren't little (ok big) brats!  You need to begin teaching your children when they are very young, by the time that they are 5 or 6, it is getting too late and will be much harder to accomplish.

by Barbara on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I agree with 4 and 5, but not so much the rest. My son is spoiled, but not a spoiled brat. He knows that if we think he's acting ungrateful that we will take things away from them. We've taught him the value of a dollar and how work goes into getting each dollar. It's funny because he'll even tell us sometimes that he thinks some toys or clothes are overpriced and so he doesn't want them...LOL

by Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM
If I put up toys for later, I'll forget about them and they'll never get used lol. We go through they toys and give what we can to the local shelter and throw some away. My kids love to give others gifts just as much if not more than they like getting. They are also really good at taking care of their toys. I think some good points and some not.
by Ruby Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

 Mine are brats at times, and a little spoiled, but not total spoiled brats. They know they are not getting everything they want. They know we do not replace toys if they do not take care of them; I had let dd have some of my old toys, and took them away when she and her friends were not treating all her toys nicely. They have at least helped pick out gifts for each other and dh since they were old enough to have an opinion on things.

Kids only become complete spoiled brats if you let them.




by on Dec. 27, 2013 at 1:12 PM
Focus on one great gift rather than a multitude of smaller ones.

Consider giving experiences rather than things

Openly show appreciation and compassion in a regular basis
by Max on Dec. 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM
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I agree with this for the most part. 

I do think you can put away gifts for later even when kids are older. They might not be thrilled with that, but if you see tip #3 you can handle it. LOL

by Bronze Member on Dec. 27, 2013 at 2:28 PM

My kids do not get everything they want for Christmas... never have.  They know they will get at least one or two things that they ask for, but not everything.  

We try to keep Christmas focused on Christ rather than focused on gifts.  

We make sure that children get to experience the joy of giving too.  

*My boys really wanted a new video game.  I told them if they really wanted it they could do chores to earn money, and they needed to save it up.  It took them several months, but finally between the two of them they had enough money, and they purchased the game themselves.  (They appreciate it much more than if it would have been just given to them).

by Maria on Dec. 27, 2013 at 3:07 PM
I teach my girls early on to say thank you for everything they receive. During the holidays I have them help pick out presents that are going to family, friends etc. They never ask for more than they get and are always so kind and say thank you for everything. Not saying my kids are perfect and they sure have had their bratty moments, but just because they get things they want that might be more expensive doesn't mean they are bratty we had a pretty modest Christmas this year.
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