The Signs of a Spoiled Rotten Child

Spoiled rotten children aren't only a challenge for adults, but also grow up without having acquired basic personal skills. Continue reading to find out how to keep this from happening.
The Signs of a Spoiled Rotten Child
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Surely you’ve come across a spoiled rotten child screaming and kicking in the middle of a supermarket, hitting other children, or disrespecting their parents. In general, bratty children are easy to detect from the outside as their behavior is striking and disruptive.

However, it isn’t so easy to accept when your own child commits these transgressions. Spoiled children aren’t only a challenge for parents and teachers. In fact, they’re the ones who are most harmed by these types of attitudes.

This is because they end up experiencing rejection by others and becoming involved in constant conflict. Also, they reach adulthood without having acquired many essential interpersonal tools. For this reason, it’s important to detect and correct these types of behaviors.

Things that can make your child spoiled rotten

Spoiled children aren’t born that way. Their behavior is the result of an inadequate parenting style implemented at home. Continue reading to find out what are some of the mistakes you may have made if your child is misbehaving.

Inadequate boundaries

Children need limits to grow emotionally and psychologically healthy. Thus, simple requests such as “don’t eat sweets before dinner” or “pick up your toys after using them” help guide them and actually make them feel safe.

Keep in mind that, these limits must be clear, coherent, and consistent. So don’t give in to stop your child from crying or to avoid a conflict. Doing so will undermine your authority and send confusing signals.

A little boy throwing a tantrum.
Setting clear limits during tantrums can be the difference between disruptive behavior and a reasonably upset child.


Understandably, some parents want to make life easier for their children. However, this often means depriving them of opportunities to learn to tolerate and handle frustration. Children have to acquire responsibilities according to their age and assume the consequences of their actions.

Thus, it’s alright to help your child, just don’t do everything for them. That’ll make them believe that they only have rights and not responsibilities.

Find out more about Oppositional Defiant Disorder in Children


In contrast, the opposite isn’t appropriate either. This is because you cannot relate to your children by only barking orders and commands, by yelling and threatening.

Children need to feel loved, respected, listened to, and taken into account. Otherwise, the bond deteriorates, and rebelliousness and behavioral problems will increase.

Bad examples

Have you ever stopped to think about how you address your child? Do you tend to raise your voice and get into power struggles and say “no” to everything?

Well, it isn’t surprising for them to repeat and imitate your behavior and that of other adults around them. Remember: you’re their main role model.

Signs that a child is spoiled rotten

As we mentioned above, it isn’t easy to admit that your child is spoiled. So look for the following signs if you’re wondering.

1. Frequent tantrums

Tantrums are common between the ages of two and four. However, their presence beyond that age may indicate the child is spoiled.

This is because tantrums at an older age are no longer due to the lack of resources to express emotions, but used to manipulate adults and get what they want.

Find out how Childhood Boundaries Are an Act of Love

2. Excessive whims

Spoiled children don’t value what they have and are never satisfied. Does your child tire of their toys right away and want new ones? They requested their favorite dinner and now they want to eat something else?

It’s important to check what is going on when a child wants it all, wants it now, and won’t take a “no” for an answer.

3. Lack of politeness is the main sign of a spoiled rotten child

Everyone must address each other with respect and consideration to thrive in any society. This includes asking for permission and saying “please” or “thank you” but also not being rude to others.

A child who addresses others disrespectfully or disparagingly and makes hurtful comments, hits, or raises their voice is definitely spoiled rotten.

4. Disobedience

It’s normal for children to not always do as you say at the first request and so is them resisting to do something they don’t want to do. However, spoiled children deliberately ignore their parents’ orders and requests and disregard their responsibilities.

A girl misbehaving at the grocery store.
Scenes of tantrums, screaming, and kicking in public places make everyone uncomfortable, both parents and anyone else who’s there.

How do you correct and deal with a spoiled rotten child?

Fortunately, it’s possible to correct a problematic attitude in children. To do so, you must analyze those things you’re not doing right and make some adjustments in your parenting style:

  • Set clear rules and try to stick to them and don’t give in to tiredness or pressure.
  • Allow your child to take responsibility and don’t do anything for them they can do themselves.
  • Trade orders and threats for respect and dialogue and also explain the reasons behind your requests or your refusals to their wishes (“because I said so” won’t work).
  • Start being a positive role model and address your child as you would like them to address others. Also, try not to rise to their level when they yell, cry or defy you.
  • Reinforce appropriate behaviors, begin to value their good attitudes, and spend more time with them doing mutually rewarding activities.

Family changes take time

Parenting is a complex and demanding task so all parents make mistakes. Don’t blame or punish yourself. Instead, congratulate yourself when you recognize and properly handle this kind of situation.

Changing family dynamics isn’t easy and your child will probably resist. However, you’ll be ensuring a better psychological development and, therefore, a happier life for them when you do.

Don’t lose sight of this valuable goal.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Céspedes, A. (2007). Niños con pataleta, adolescentes desafiantes. Como manejar los trastornos de conducta en los hijos. Ed Vergara, Chile.
  • Aguayo Alcívar, A. A. (2013). Sobreprotección infantil en las relaciones interpersonales en los niños del primer año de educación básica (Bachelor’s thesis, Universidad de Guayaquil Facultad de Filosofía, Letras y Ciencias de la Educación).
  • Solórzano González, T. X., & Cobar Chávez, M. L. (2005). Padres autoritarios y su influencia en la conducta violenta en la niñez (Doctoral dissertation, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.