The 6 Best Time Tested Ways to Raise a Spoiled Rotten Kid

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After living in Papua New Guinea, one of my fears is that my kids are going to grow up to be spoiled rotten.  I have three kids ages 3, 5, and 7.

I love my kids deeply, but I don’t want them to have everything they want.  I want them to know what it’s like to earn something.  I want them to know what it’s like to go without something they want.  I want them to be bored.  I want them to realize how blessed they are.

The other day, my oldest daughter was asking why she doesn’t get her own room.  I reminded her that the room she shares with her sister is the same size as her former nanny’s whole house where she lived with her two daughters.  She realized that made sense, but I was reminded that my kids will soon forget that life.

So, I decided that rather than trying to fight materialism or battle against our natural tendency towards greed, instead I should simply encourage it.  As a result, I put together this unorthodox and sarcastic list of things I think all parents should be doing to raise a spoiled rotten kid.

How to Raise a Spoiled Rotten Kid

1.  Keep telling yourself that saying “yes” is the only loving parental response.

What kind of a monster of a parent would say ‘no’ to her beloved offspring?  We live in an age of wealth and comfort, so why shouldn’t our kids bask in it with all their being?

“Ok, honey.  We can buy that.”

If you want it, desire it, ask for it, or wish for it, then my job is to get it for you.

This is important because I want you to know that, as my child, you are the center of the universe.  I want you to know that everything you want in life you’ll get.  I want you to grow up to understand that God is your personal butler who will give you whatever you want.

2.  Allow your kids to say “I want … I want …” and reward that behavior.

Remember Pavlov’s dogs?  We must reward our kids’ behaviors.  The best way to do this is to reinforce the fact that when they say, “I want”, then as a parent we say, “I will”.  To help reinforce this precious parenting truth, sometimes it’s best to make your kids work for it.  At first say no, but then after a few minutes of whining, fussing, begging, and cajoling, give it to them.  This way they’ll know that an initial “no” is simply a barrier to overcome with a little persistence.

3.  Buy every toy that his or her friends have.

The key to a happy life is always feel dissatisfied when others have more.  We must teach our kids that they are not good enough unless they have an equal amount or more than their friends.  If a friend gets something, we should race out to buy that item as well.  If we don’t, our kids will be psychologically damaged for life because they aren’t rich enough to make friends with all the most popular kids in school.

4.  Make birthdays a showcase of pure greed.

Why settle for a single present when you can give your kids an entire showcase of gifts?  The only point of celebrating a birthday is gifts.  Remember, it is not a celebration of the life God has given.  It is not a celebration of friendship and family.  It is a gift giving landslide.  Nothing more.

5.  Refuse to allow your kids any down time.

During the five minute drive to the grocery store, the DVD player must be on.  While your kids are sitting in the basement, they should always have immediate access to a TV, tablet, iPod, iPad, iPhone, or some other device to entertain themselves.

When they say, “I’m bored”, you must act immediately.  Creativity leads to some of the greatest tragedies of life.

6.  Avoid the following phrase at all costs: “That’s just not something we’re going to spend money on.”

Please don’t allow your children to get the impression that some things are more important than others.  This is especially true in light of eternity.  I’d hate for your kids to start to believe some things on this earth are not worth the investment in light of the future glory.  Faith and finances should never mix.

With this guide, you ought to be properly equipped to raise a spoiled rotten child.  May you go forth with haste.

What items did I miss?  How do you suggest we raise spoiled rotten kids?


  1. JD says

    Whether it is your own children that are spoiled or someone else’s it is not pleasant being around them. We finally had to stop trying to watch our grandchildren because their expectations for going, doing and being bought something at every store became unbearable. The children were unhappy that we wouldn’t indulge every whim and we didn’t enjoy it. Sad. No matter what extra treats and activities we had for them it was never enough.

    • says

      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. It must be painful. This is clearly and example of how damaging it is when parents constantly spoil their children.

  2. says

    These are the articles that really make a parent (I suppose a close friend, or aunt/uncle too) stop and think.
    As parents we need to be responsible and avoid the inclination to keep up with the Joneses.
    My 13 year old has a $1000 Macbook. A $1000 birthday present for a (then) 11 year old? No. We drew the line at half this figure. She already had been babysitting and mothers’ helping, and accumulated some good money. She paid half. It’s okay if folk think the $500 we chipped in was still too much, but I am in a town where sweet 16 parties go fo tens of thousands of dollars, and the kids are spoiled rotten. So, in a sense, being slightly stricter than other parents or just a bit less easy on the purchases, and she’s at least less spoiled than most of her peers.

    • says

      Great comment. I don’t think the sign of a spoiled kid is necessarily what they own, but how they got what they have. I love the idea of paying half as a way to ‘earn’ something.

    • says

      Joe: Last year we did almost the same thing with our 12-year-old daughter. She wanted a Macbook Air, which was about $900. We said yes, but we would only pay for $300 of it — she was responsible for earning the other $600 on her own.

      Guess what. She spent the entire summer working her tail off washing cars, babysitting, selling homemade charms and necklaces and doing other odd jobs and by Christmas time she had enough money to cover her portion of the Macbook! As a bonus, she takes great care of it because she has so much skin in the game. I doubt she’d be so careful if we had paid for the whole thing.

  3. says

    On my youngest daughter’s first birthday, I found myself WANTING to purchase everything for her. I was so joyful that she was in our lives, and so worried I wasn’t doing enough for her, that there wasn’t anything I didn’t want her to have. The purchasing instinct was so strong that it scared me. I discussed my worry with my husband and we decided our children would get three gifts at any given holiday – one to learn, one to play and one to wear. Four years later it keeps the gift giving reasonable and purposeful while allowing me to reflect back on my girls’ past year and what they actually need added to their lives. The categories may change, but I love the way the thought process has brought joy and reflection to the act of giving gifts.

    My point in sharing – a parent giving their child everything may have more to do with the parent than the child. The spoiled child is the sad symptom of an out of control adult.

  4. AniVee says

    Since you asked for suggestions …
    7. Teach your child that “Luck” has a lot to do with achieving goals and getting what you want. Set the example buy buying lottery tickets, spending weekends and vacations going to Casinos, “Vegas” and other gambling meccas. Play on-line Poker and other games of chance. Race around town searching for PowerBall tickets. Never pay for stuff at any cashier without getting a few “scratch-off” tickets. Talk a lot about what numbers are “lucky”, be fanatical about “lucky” shirts, charms, amulets, etc.

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