Quiz: Does your Kid Act Spoiled?

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This is the first in a two-part series.

Nobody wants a spoiled child. The image of  “Veruca Salt” (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl) comes to mind — the girl who wants and expects to have everything given to her. But, are there any unintentional ways in which parents indulge their children to the point where they start exhibiting spoiled behavior? Dr. Michele Borba, names a few behaviors to beware. If you think you and your child might benefit from a little tune-up, this Thursday Dr. Borba will share ways in which parents can help their Verucas turn virtuous. — Laurel Moglen, Managing Web Editor, TMC

by Dr. Michele Borba

There are four words that typically describe spoiled children. How is your child doing?  Here’s my four-word test for a spoiled kid that I shared on the TODAY show:


He can’t handle the word. He expects to get what she wants and usually does. Take my toy store test. Your child is walking down the toy aisle and wants a toy he doesn’t need. You say “no.” Can your kid handle “no” (or does he beg, nag or have a tantrum to get his way?)


She is self-centered and thinks the world revolves around her. She thinks more of herself than about others. She feels “entitled” and expects special favors and generally succeeds in getting them. He watches TV, instead of picking up his toys. She doesn’t like the dinner. You cook another meal just for her.


A spoiled kid is more into getting than receiving, because he has so much and he just wants more. He’s generally unappreciative and a bit greedy. You can’t think of what to give him for the holidays because he already has everything. He wants a new toy immediately after receiving one because he’s already tired of his gift. Do you feel more like an ATM machine than a parent?


A spoiled kid just can’t wait and wants things — stat. It’s just plain easier to give in to this child than to postpone her request. She interrupts when you’re on the phone and expects you to stop. And you do. She whines to get the cookie-n.o.w.-and can’t wait for after dinner.

Be honest…Do any of those words fit your child’s typical behavior? Any one word could indicate your child is moving into the “spoiled” category. Here is another quick test:  Do you think an outsider would consider your child spoiled? If so, it’s time for a serious makeover.

More from Dr. Borba on Thursday, with answers on how to curb and fix your child’s spoiled behavior!

Please share your thoughts/anecdotes/musings about this topic below in the comments section.  We love hearing from you!

The Mother Company aims to support parents and their children, providing thought-provoking web content and products based in social and emotional learning for children ages 3-6. Check out episodes of our “Ruby’s Studio” children’s video series,  along with our beautiful children’s booksappsmusichandmade dolls, and more.

Posted in: Behavioral Issues, Expert Advice, Discipline